Why The Wales Came 2022 | British Youth Music Theatre

Why The Wales Came 2022

Why The Wales Came is a new fascinating and poignant show set on the Isles of Scilly.
The show brings to life Michael Morpurgo’s well-known and much-loved mysterious tale. A small ocean-embracing community is faced with the backdrop of the First World War and can no longer escape the realities of life beyond the islands.

Two young heroes, plucky young Gracie Jenkins and Daniel Pender have always been warned to stay away from the Birdman, but slowly they start to discover he might not be what everyone on the island says. After learning more about his life, the children build a lovely friendship with him, but one day they become strand and on Samson Island and hear the birdman’s story of how the island is cursed.
Together they must try to blow apart the fear and hatred that threatens to destroy their community, and life a powerful curse in the process.

This enchanting story full of fun and mystery is filled with music from the sea and features an exceptional young company of emerging talent. The show also features a fantastic cast of upcoming actor-musicians. They are heavily involved in the show and their wonderful music becomes part of the island and the enchanting atmosphere created.

We spoke to a member of our cast, Rosanagh, about her experience of taking part in Why The Wales Came:

‘Being a part of the show this year was thrilling to say the least. Every day introduced a rush of excitement and allowed me to step out of my comfort zone, and with the help of the directors and cast, grow as a performer. Although the days were hard work, it was definitely worth the work to create the show we did and you still woke up each morning ready to work on the show. The days hardly ever felt like work, and more like fun with your cast mates as we grew close very quickly, and we spend the day doing what we love.

I think my favourite part was probably the performance when Micheal Morpurgo came to watch the show. It was so exciting and such an honour to show him what we had created from his book and it made us all so happy to hear that he enjoyed the show that we held so close to our hearts and love so much.’

The show was an incredible experience and I cannot wait to see where the show is taken to next.’
The show received a 4 star review from Susan Elkin at Musical Theatre Review. To read the whole article, click on the link below.

‘It is very moving to see a company of more than 30 talented, well directed young people in a story as powerful as this one. The ensemble, skilfully choreographed by Phyllida Crowley-Smith, represent the sea, the wind, a storm, the shoreline, a beached whale and much more. It’s both effective and touching.

Bella Barlow’s music (she is also MD) is exquisite. She builds up layers from simple ideas and draws a striking sound from her singers. It’s also a real pleasure to see no many budding actor-musos. Yes there’s a band on the balcony level at either side of the stage but there are also violinists, a cellist, clarinettists and more bringing their talents to the ensemble. This is a fine show and the simple truth of the song ‘Glory feels hollow now you’re gone’ will stay with me for a long time.’

Why The Wales Came ran in August 2022, first at Taunton Brewhouse before moving to The Mack at Mountview. Head to our social media channels to see clips from this exceptional production.

Creative Team: Original Book Michael Morpurgo | Book and Lyrics Nikki Racklin | Musical Director & Composer Bella Barlow | Director Simon Kane | Choreographer Phyllida Crowley-Smith | Designer Lu Herbert