Preview: Hamlet, Touring, Wales

To be or not to be... Welsh
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The Independent Culture

"I think there's an energy coming out of Wales now that is quite extraordinary," says Michael Bogdanov, the artistic director and recipient of two Olivier awards. Of Welsh and Russian parentage, the idea of dual-language holds some fascination for him. Gareth Miles' translation, commissioned for the production, has been adopted by the Welsh Joint Education Authority as the official school text. "The appetite for the Welsh language is expanding rapidly - there are Welsh schools opening up everywhere," says Bogdanov.

The two languages make for two different productions: "The rhythm is totally different. Once you're working in translation, you can be much freer with the language and make it much more accessible to a modern audience," says Bogdanov. Two actors - Wayne Cater and Gareth John Bale - will perform as the English and Welsh Hamlets. Gareth is "tall and lean, fitting the profile of the Victorian, Romantic Hamlet", while Wayne is closer to the original Hamlet, Richard Burbage, in appearance - "short and stout".

As the only large-scale producing theatre company in South Wales, The Welsh Theatre Company is blazing a trail. Hamlet has been chosen as the official play to celebrate Cardiff's centenary, with Cardiff Council providing free tickets for the entire run in the city.

To 24 November (www.walestheatrecompany.com)

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