On the eve of one of the most important games of his career, Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas received a warning: The Sun newspaper was going to “out” him as gay.
Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage is the story of two Welsh names bruised, but not beaten, by media speculation – Gareth “Alfie” Thomas, 100 caps for Wales, once its captain, now the world’s most prominent gay sportsman; and his hometown, Bridgend.
National Theatre Wales’ first production in 2015, and the last of its fourth season, will be a new, touring, verbatim play made with Out of Joint and directed by Max Stafford-Clark.
“I was doing something nobody had done before, and if you’re the first to do something, you have to be prepared to take the sh*t for it,” said Stafford-Clark.
Working with Alfie himself, and young people in Bridgend, two of the UK’s most exciting theatre companies – Out of Joint and National Theatre Wales – have teamed up to tell a great story about sport, politics, secrets, life and learning to be yourself.
Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage will open at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff, in February, before touring Wales and England (including London).
Full details about the show’s tour, and its cast, are to be announced in the new year.
Writer Robin Soans is celebrated for his documentary verbatim plays based on interviews with real people.
They include Out of Joint’s acclaimed shows Mixed Up North, A State Affair and Talking to Terrorists, which was nominated Best Play at the TMA awards and has had subsequent productions overseas including in Tehran.
Others include Life After Scandal about Christine and Neil Hamilton, and The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, which also spawned a book of recipes.
His most recent play was the fictional drama Perseverance Drive, which played to critical acclaim at the Bush Theatre in 2014.
Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage runs at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff from February 19-March 7.