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National Theatre Wales
27 May - 11 June 2016
Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

Before I Leave

National Theatre Wales with Wales Millennium Centre

Written by Patrick Jones

Directed by Matthew Dunster

Before I leave I'll give you some happiness
The laughter and pain, the good that remains
Hold me tighter still, keep me safe until
Hold me close, before I leave

In Merthyr, people who are losing themselves find each other in a choir for individuals living with dementia and Alzheimer's.

Joe is too young, this shouldn't be happening to him; Dyanne battles to hold on to the man she married.

Evan and Rocky fight a 30-year-old fight - the miners’ strike may be long gone, but the scars remain as the memories jumble and fade.

Ex-librarian and mezzo-soprano Marge has lost her voice. Perhaps only the choir can help her get it back.

And Isabelle won’t let her spirit be locked away and forgotten in a care home that she thinks doesn't care at all.

A funny, moving and ultimately uplifting production featuring covers of well-known songs by artists ranging from Tom Jones to the Sex Pistols, plus a new song by Nicky Wire and James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers.

27 May – 11 June, 7.30pm
31 May 7.00pm

27 – 30 May

Saturday 11 June, 2.30pm - Captioned and Audio Described Performance - with BSL pre show talk
Thursday 9 June, 2.30pm - Relaxed Performance

Captioned Relaxed Peformance
Thursday 9 June, 2.30pm

Captioned and Audio Described Performance - with BSL pre show talk
Saturday 11 June, 2.30pm 

Post show talk
2 & 8 June

£15 - £25
Previews: £12 - £20

Concessions: £2 off
Under 25s: Half price

Contains strong language

Part of Festival of Voice, a new international festival in Cardiff, 3 - 12 June 2016

Disabled Access
Audio Description
Hearing Loop
Q&A Session


Latitude and Longitude: 
51.488376, -3.176822


“I'm sat in on a choir rehearsal on a cold, wet, winter Thursday in Merthyr Rugby Club. A hubbub of talk. Noise. Teacups. The news is full of suicide bombings, child abduction, the extreme religious right, David Cameron and George Osborne. I am losing the will to live. The choir leader, guitarist and singer strike up ‘You'll Never Walk Alone'. The choir inhales and start to sing. Members know every word.

I am overwhelmed. Uncontrollably, I feel tears well in my eyes. I gulp. As I look around I see feet tapping, shoulders swaying, hands holding, eyes shining.

This is Cwm Taf Choir, made up of people diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia and their carers. No, it can't be. People with Alzheimer's fade away in nursing homes, are incapable of moving, cannot speak let alone sing, don't they?

I look around. See the stories flicker before my eyes. Feel the spirits lift. Hear the words live.

This is a story that desperately needs to be told. So I’m telling it…”

Patrick Jones

Creative Team

Patrick Jones

Matthew Dunster

Anna Fleischle

Dick Straker
Video Designer         

Dyfan Jones
Musical Director        

Joe Fletcher
Lighting Designer

Ian Dickinson for Autograph
Sound Designer         

Angharad Matthews
Costume Designer    

Greg Palmer
Associate Musical Director 

Gavin Porter
Emerging Director



James Ashton

Desmond Barrit

Llinos Daniel

Vern Griffiths

Celia Hewitt

Dafydd Hywel

Martin Marquez

Sara McGaughey

Gaynor Morgan Rees

Melanie Walters

Oliver Wood

Lisa Zahra

Gwawr Loader


Download Before I Leave free

Click here


© 2016 Nicky Wire and James Dean Bradfield


Listen to our Spotify playlist of songs which have inspired this production...

Before I Leave



I laughed. And I cried, a lot.

I cannot recommend buying a ticket enough


has a huge heart

irresistibly moving - and it might just send you out into the night singing


strikes directly at the heart

You will laugh, you will cry and you will definitely be touched by Before I Leave

Empathic, humorous and touching