Wikileaks: Bradley Manning drama for Wales theatre

Pte Bradley Manning, in a handout photo Bradley Manning has been in custody for more than a year

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National Theatre Wales is to highlight the issue of a US soldier brought up in Wales who is accused of revealing US government secrets via Wikileaks.

It is to stage a drama about Bradley Manning, who was arrested last year, in the Pembrokeshire town of Haverfordwest, where he grew up.

The play, called the The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, will tour in March and April 2012.

Pte Manning, 23, is being held in a military prison awaiting trial.

The intelligence analyst who joined the US Army in 2007 is accused of leaking 720,000 secret military and diplomatic US government documents which were later published by the website Wikileaks.

National Theatre artistic director John McGrath said: "It (the drama) will look at why the politics of revolution - like the Egyptian revolution - is made by people of Bradley Manning's age.

"If it had not been him, it would be someone like him."

He said the play will not be a docu-drama but an exploration of the issues and technology involved and young people's attitudes towards accountability and justice.

Start Quote

If it had not been him, it would be someone like him”

End Quote John McGrath, National Theatre Wales On Bradley Manning

He added: "It's not an issue that's going to go away, whatever the result of [Manning's] court martial."

McGrath said the drama would be played in schools to remind the audience of the youth of the characters.

It is one of 10 projects planned next year for the theatre's second-year programme.

It follows its recent success with The Passion, starring Michael Sheen, in a 72-hour performance took place around his home town of Port Talbot at Easter.

London-based Sheen returned to south Wales for months to rehearse the production, in which he played a Christ-like character, that took place in locations around the town.

Other notable dramas in the first year included The Persians, Europe's oldest surviving recorded play, which was staged on the Sennybridge military range in Powys, where troops are trained for urban warfare.

Productions in the company's 2012 calendar include working with the Royal Shakespeare Company on a re-imaging of Coriolanus set at Dragon Film Studios in Bridgend, for August next year.

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