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Daniel Lloyd (Constellations at Theatr Clwyd)

Constellations, a play written by Nick Payne, follows the relationship of Marianne the Physicist and Roland the Beekeeper, and the theory of a multitude of universes in which their decisions made (or not made) lead to every possible future ahead of them. Theatr Clwyd brings their production of Constellations to North Wales this month, with a Welsh-language adaptation. We speak to Theatr Clwyd's Associate Director Daniel Lloyd to tell us more.

Q) Before we begin, please could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background in theatre?

I’m Daniel Lloyd, Associate Director at Theatr Clwyd and have worked as a Welsh actor, musician and director for over 20 years.

Q) For those not familiar, could you tell us a little bit about Constellations which will be running at Theatr Clwyd this May?

It is a play about a theoretical quantum physicist called Marianne who believes in the existence of multiple universes…endless variations on our lives which could theoretically move in any direction as a result of the infinite choices we might (or might not!) make. She meets a beekeeper at a BBQ, they fall in love and spend the rest of their lives together… It’s a boy meets girl story with tons of heart and fun told in a dazzling way as we re-visit beats in their story with sometimes slight and often seismic consequences and outcomes.

Q) What was it about Constellations that stood out and made you want to work on this piece of theatre?

It’s a rollercoaster ride of a play that twists and turns and changes gears all the time. It has depth and is a real test for an actor and a director – observing all the different emotional beats and mood. It never sits still and has a rollicking pace. It does not let up - I love it! It can be approached in so many ways and I’ve wanted to be bold and playful with it. Dyfan Jones has provided the music and sound design, and Fran Jaynes has brought the movement work. It’s very layered and exciting.

Q) Whilst Theatr Clwyd undergoes an incredible renovation development project,

productions are currently taking place in temporary tent theatre ‘The Mix’ - how have you found this with regards to bringing Constellations to life?

Constellations is made for The Mix. It’s a really intimate space with a lovely relationship between audience and actor – perfect for a two-hander piece of this kind. It has lots of exposed steel truss and its circular shape is very space age in its feel. We wanted to embrace the natural look and feel of the mix and Hayley Grindle’s brilliant design and light installation does this beautifully. The whole auditorium feels like it’s part of our world. ‘The universe’ is the third character in our piece and we’ve tried to make its presence felt in our design. Jonathan Chan our lighting designer takes it to another level again. It’s worth saying that having the mix as a new space for us during our period of redevelopment has been invaluable in keeping audiences engaged with our programme of work as well as challenging us to create work that is so at home with The Mix’s structure and form.

Q) We’ve seen you grace Theatr Clwyd stage for many years as a performer - what inspired you to get involved with directing?

I’ve always loved observing the work of directors and fellow actors whilst I worked on shows as an actor. Exploring the opportunities and choices they make has always fascinated me. The scope of being able to play with a vision for a full production and tell the whole story is what drew me to directing. It’s like a massive jigsaw puzzle, and when the pieces are

brought together it really is the creatively fulfilling job.

Q) How did you find the transition from actor to director - has being an actor previously impacted on the way in which you work as a director?

It definitely has. I understand the process that the actors go through, and I try and use a language that allows them to make their own discoveries and choices in a safe and creative environment. They have to find it for themselves. It’s collaborative, inclusive, and often lots of fun. Everyone in the team holds the story in some way and it’s important to me that a voice is given to everyone involved in expressing and exploring that.

Q) Constellations will have some performances presented with the English language, and some presented with the Welsh language - what inspired this decision and what impact do you think this will have on the audiences?

Being able to bring a popular title to a Welsh language audience is a privilege and relocating the play to Wales allows us to reimagine it anew and explore layers which are exclusive to us. The play floats the possibility of an infinite number of universes and as a bilingual Welsh human I’ve always felt that I’ve straddled several identities, cultures and worlds. Exploring the play through this lens will be fun at the very least and we’ll find out what makes it tick in Welsh. It’s a real pleasure to be making work in my first language with a hugely successful title. I hope our Welsh language audience will dig it.

Q) What can audiences expect from Constellations?

It’s a treat for the senses. I hope our audience is moved by an original, thought-provoking play set within a stunning design. I want to provide an experience of joy, laughter, tears and real heart.

Q) Why should audiences come along to see Constellations?

To see two of our finest Welsh actors (Gwenllian Higginson and Aled Pugh) deliver charming, breathtaking performances – in Welsh and English (and some other languages too) in this brilliant play. I mean, why wouldn’t you?

Constellations runs at Theatr Clwyd until 25th May, with the Welsh-language adaptation on the 7th and 8th June. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

Photography by Andrew AB Photography


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