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Fly Half

by Williams World


A Father. A Son. A Club. A Town. A Game. Fly Half. The story of a rugby playing steel worker from South Wales.

about the production

A new, storytelling piece of theatre by RADA alumni Gary Lagden, with original songs by Gareth Moulton (Cutting Crew, Wang Chung, Snake Davis Band). A working class story of love, loss, community and sport, that rages against the beige of modern life. A Fly Half is seen as the creative heart of a team, this production explores the connection between theatre and sport, reaching audiences in theatre's, arts centre's and rugby clubs. 'Welsh pride and passion, the mythology of rugby and the reality of working class life' - 5 stars & Critic's Choice from

about the artist

Williams World is collective of arts professionals with a combined experience of 150 years. A small company, established for the creation of Fly Half, of working class theatre makers from England and Wales. Fly Half opened The RADA Festival in June 2018 and has toured rugby clubs and theatre's since, including a sell out night at Wales Week London and Hull Truck Theatre. The play is made by RADA alumni Gary Lagden - writer/actor, and Geoff Bullen - director, along with Gareth Moulton - composer/musician/singer. The play is produced by Jayne Williams with marketing design by Keith Turner.

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stage dimensions

width: 4 metres

height: 4 metres

depth: 4 metres

Fly is self contained and simple in terms of tech. Songs are played on two guitars and a microphone via an on stage sound system provided by the company, operated by the musician. The only requirements are two plug sockets, an extension cable and two chairs. A tech team staff member from the venue is required to support initial set up and operate a simple general lighting state (slow fade up to start, slow fade down to end).
For rural venues, the company can provide portable lighting and staging as required.

Everyone is welcome. Audiences so far have been intergenerational across an age spread of 14 to 88 and everything in between. It attracts the interest of current players of rugby and those long retired from the game. People tell us they come because they connect with the working class themes, their love of rugby union and/or to reconnect with their Welsh heritage. Research shows that theatre audiences are traditionally 60%+ female yet Fly Half has attracted audiences that are 70%+ male. Approximately 50% of our audiences so far describe themselves to be ordinarily non theatre go-ers.

'A piece created from the heart, and Port Talbot born Lagden knows all about Welsh pride and passion, the mythology of rugby and the reality of working class life.There are laugh out loud stories, particularly involving his arch enemy. He is a skilful storyteller, inhabiting other characters in the play, his beautiful voice bringing to mind the great Burton. Simple it may be but Lagden’s script is collieries Deep.'

'Don’t let the simplicity and minimalism of the staging detract from the power and colour of Gary Lagden’s Fly Half, his paean to rugby's beauty and brutality. An absorbing almost-hour-long performance, with a capacity audience held captive by Lagden’s South Wales lilt. It is beautifully written—an extended poem, a free verse epic utilising the alliterative tricks and phrasing of Dylan Thomas to provide a rich, aural experience: “him, battered and bruised and beaming”. Fly Half deftly charts rugby’s metamorphosis from the old-style punch of the '60s, '70s and '80s to the professionalism and perfect physiques of the modern game.'

'So engaging and intense, it gets you, the rapport between musician and actor. It is really important. With great storytelling people stay and talk afterwards. Just as the man himself has it in his veins, his blood, then anyone who has played the game or any game can feel part of it.'

Audience comment

Visually impaired audiences have enjoyed the poetry and the music of the play and have not felt excluded from the drama. Hearing impaired audiences have been able to lip read successfully. We have worked with the Head of England Deaf Rugby who has advised on this and we provide scripts upon request. The play can be BSL signed at an extra cost of £400. The company is happy to provide a relaxed performance where required.

We are exploring a model whereby a theatre venue programmes in house performance(s) with one additional performance within their local rugby union club house, where appropriate. Both theatre and rugby club venues have so far reached audiences who might not ordinarily attend the theatre. The company visit the rugby club and its members several weeks before the performance, and audio record their club stories after, on the night. This is at the additional cost of £1,000 which can be partly covered by the company's funding from Arts Council England, as audience development.

Open to discuss bespoke deals with each venue.