Plays: Clytemnestra

Gwynewth Lewis - Clytemnestra

"When we've killed all the animals
Men will be next."

Oil has run out and the world fights for food. To save his people, Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter to his barbaric new allies. With the fury of a mother betrayed, Clytemnestra waits for his return.

Adultery, power and revenge drive this new telling of a Greek legend.

A major new production from Sherman Cymru, Clytemnestra combines the dramatic story-telling of the former National Poet of Wales, Gwyneth Lewis, with the bold direction of Amy Hodge (Measure for Measure).

"When we've killed all the animals
Men will be next."

Mae'r olew wedi darfod, ac mae'r byd yn ymladd am fwyd. I achub ei bobl, mae Agamemnon yn aberthu ei ferch i'w gynghreiriaid barbaraidd. Mae Clytemnestra, y fam a gafodd ei bradychu, yn llawn cynddaredd ac yn aros iddo ddychwelyd.

Godineb, phwer a dialedd sy'n gyrru'r addasiad newydd hwn o'r chwedl Roegaidd.

Mae Clytemnestra'n gynhyrchiad newydd o bwys gan Sherman Cymru, ac yn cyfuno dawn storïo dramatig cyn Bardd Cenedlaethol Cymru, Gwyneth Lewis, gyda chyfarwyddo celfydd Amy Hodge (Measure for Measure).

Website / Gwefan:

Interview with Gwyneth Lewis about Clytemnestra

  • Jaye Griffiths - Clytemnestra
  • Jonah Russell - Clytemnestra
  • Nia Gwynne a Jaye Griffiths - Clytemnestra

Resources for students and teachers:

Gwyneth Lewis explains why she reimagined Clytemnestra's fate

Lecture on writing Clytemnestra, delivered at Oxford's Archive of Performance of Greek and Roman Drama

Praise for Clytemnestra

"The first play by one of Wales's most distinguished and versatile poets... Lewis's vivid poetic ability is much in evidence... The images in Lewis's poetry are often threaded upon a composed and assured conversational register, and she therefore shows herself equally convincing in the more workaday dialogue of the Chorus who provide an earthy, and occasionally darkly comic, commentary on the main events... Her first, and surely not las, venture into the world of the stage.
Poetry Review

"A story from Aeschylus's Oresteia is the inspiration for Gwyneth Lewis's first stage play, one which subverts its original source material with great assurance and fluency... In spite of its title, this feels like an ensemble production with an array of pitch perfect performances. Jaye Griffiths's Clytemnestra is stunning... Electrifying images... lend additional colour and weight to Lewis's poetic, but spare, text. In a recent interview, Lewis said she wanted to write a sequel. It's not a bad idea."

"A briskly told tale, richly visual, constantly engaging, and replete with rewardingly startling moments; a robustly and imaginatively physical take on text-based theatre."
British Theatre Guide

"Ambitious, visually bold production refocuses ancient Greek tragedy"

Lewis's lovely lyrical script brings this Greek tragedy back to life in an inventive way for a new generation.
Western Mail

"The acting from the entire cast and the classy staging proves this a welcome addition to the classic Greek tragedy repertoire."
David Cox

Clytemnestra - Press Release

Rhian Blythe - Clytemnestra

The legend of Clytemnestra told by former National Poet of Wales, Gwyneth Lewis in Sherman Cymru's major new production

Sherman Cymru's major new production, the gripping legend of Clytemnestra, will be performed at the Cardiff theatre from 18 April until 5 May.

Clytemnestra is Sherman Cymru's first commissioned English-language production since reopening in February following a two year 6.5 million refurbishment and will be a large-scale production featuring the dramatic story-telling of poet Gwyneth Lewis with bold direction from Amy Hodge (Measure for Measure).

This will be the first stage play written by Gwyneth Lewis who was National Poet of Wales 2005-06 and whose words feature in six-foot high letters on the front of the iconic Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay.

Clytemnestra's story is taken from Greek legend, which shows human nature in its most vivid and uncensored condition. Clytemnestra featured in the plays of Aeschylus, whose work from the fifth century BCE shows Western theatre at its origin. Greek tragedy features themes such as adultery, power and revenge which continue to influence contemporary drama, even soap opera.

The story of Clytemnestra shows human behaviour pushed to its extreme by war and hunger. The play is set in the not-too-distant future: oil has run out and wars are being waged for food. Agamemnon, head of his tribe, has been away securing new trade routes. As part of forming a new alliance, he gave his daughter, Iphigenia, in marriage to an eastern tribe. They raped and killed her, and he has sent her ashes back home to Clytemnestra, his wife and Electra, their other daughter. Agamemnon's campaign ends with the fall of Troy. The Furies, ancient gods of revenge, try to take over the action and answer blood with blood. How far will Clytemnestra go for justice?

Gwyneth Lewis looks forward to seeing her first play performed on stage. "It's been a huge artistic adventure to use Greek legend to think about modern issues such as scarcity, justice and revenge. I've known the Greek plays for decades and working with them is like a massive shot of poetic adrenalin. They don't date and they show the human mind stripped of inessentials - in technicolour and at its funniest and most terrifying. I'm very grateful to Sherman Cymru for allowing me to go on such a journey."

The story is perfect for creating a production with an explosive and imaginative setting with dramatic sound and movement. Greek Designer takis, Composer and Sound Designer Simon Thorne, Lighting Designer Lee Curran and Choreographer Johan Stjernholm are the production team and creative force with the task to take audiences to Clytemnestra's dangerous and hungry world.

Director Amy Hodge said "It's a fantastic piece of writing and we've got a fabulous cast and a talented creative team. I can't wait to be in the rehearsal room to build a theatrically dynamic, visually beautiful, and emotionally true production. Gwyneth has created a fierce, taut, gripping world where anything is possible. It's great to see such ambitious new plays on the main stage at Sherman Cymru"

The excellent cast includes actors from stage and television including Jaye Griffiths starring as Clytemnestra (Silent Witness, Doctors, The Bill), Nick Moss (Birdsong) Rhian Blythe (winner of The Stage Best actress award for her performance in Sherman Cymru's award winning production Deep Cut), Matthew Bulgo, (Dirty Protest Theatre) Kezrena James (Crash), Nia Gwynne (Casualty, Eastenders), Adam Redmore (The Bill), Jonah Russell (Stop The World) and Eiry Thomas (Belonging, Stella).

Ticket booking is now open for Clytemnestra. Tickets are 15-25 (previews 12-20 and Under 25s half price) and are available from Sherman Cymru's Ticket Office on 029 2064 6900 or online at

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