Theatr na nÓg’s latest sell-out production champions the importance of bio-diversity and conservation by presenting their story of Alfred Russel Wallace.

This autumn Theatr na nÓg will once again be teaming up with some of Swansea’s best cultural institutions – including Swansea Museum, The National Waterfront Museum and the Dylan Thomas Theatre - as over 3000 children visit for a day of theatre and workshops promising to bring history to life.

This year the company present The Butterfly Hunter and Heliwr Pili Pala – Welsh and English versions of a play celebrating the life of one of the science’s unsung heroes – the 19th Century natural historian Alfred Russel Wallace. Born in Llanbadog, Monmouthshire, and later resident of Neath, Wallace discovered the Theory of Evolution independently of Charles Darwin in the 1850s – in fact his paper on the subject was jointly published alongside Darwin’s own. This wonderful tale of persistence and resilience will inspire young minds as the play takes them on an amazing journey from Usk to Neath to the Amazon and finally to The Malay Archipelago.

An original play from Theatr na nÓg, The Butterfly Hunter is written by Artistic Director Geinor Styles, who was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for her work creating high quality theatre for children in Wales.

The company is delighted to welcome Richard Nicholls and Kate Ellis to perform the story with James Ifan portraying the Victorian scientist.

James Ifan has recently played the role of The Mad Hatter in The Sherman Theatre’s winter production Alice in Wonderland alongside a plethora of stage work for the likes of Theatr Clwyd and Lighthouse Theatre, as well as an appearance in the final of Britain’s Got Talent.

Actor Kate Elis is well known for her work with theatre companies such as Taking Flight, Butterfly Theatre and Dirty Protest, and her international work with Motherlode Theatre’s The Good Earth. Kate also plays various roles in the sketch show Cacamwnci for S4C.

James and Kate will be joined on stage by Royal Welsh College alumnus Richard Nichols whose previous work with Theatr na nÓg includes A Child’s Christmas in Wales, Cider With Rosie, and The Ghost of Morfa Colliery. He has appeared in numerous plays for Mappa Mundi for whom he also directed and is a founding member. Richard has appeared in family favourites like Danny The Champion of the World (Birmingham Stage) and Dr Who. He recently played the part of McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest for The Torch Theatre in Milford Haven.

The production is supported by a wealth of creative talent, with music originally composed by Barnaby Southgate, and the set and costume by Linbury Prize Stage Design nominee Frances Norburn. With lighting design by Hristo Takov and a rich representation of the natural world through animation and projection, this ambitious production aims to illustrate the huge impact we are having on our environment and how best we can preserve it for future generations.

The production will be running as part of the schools theatre project throughout September and October 2019, in English and in Welsh language as Heliwr Pili Pala.

Bookings are now at capacity for The Butterfly Hunter, however school bookings are still available for Theatr na nÓg’s sister project – on the Swansea leg of the UK tour of their award-winning play Eye of the Storm. Visit eyeofthestormmusical.co.uk for further details.