The Writers of Wales Database
Tel: 07854 145259
Playwright, librettist and new writing tutor. Born in Pontypridd, but now resident in Cardiff, Alan’s first play (Orange performed at the Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff) was staged by Sgript Cymru. He has worked extensively with companies including Pentabus, Hijinx Theatre (Miss Brown To You, tour of Wales and England), the Sherman Theatre (Burberry), Paines Plough (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Bus Driver performed at Later, Trafalgar Studios, London), The Operating Theatre Company (Brute at the Tristan Bates Theatre, London), Welsh National Opera’s MAX department (The Journey, an oratorio) and BBC Radio 3 (The Gold Farmer, nominated for the Imison Award).
Alan is currently writing a play, The Lighthouse, for BBC Radio 4’s Afternoon play slot and also a new opera, The Hidden Valley, for Welsh National Opera’s MAX department.
His play A Good Night Out in the Valleys launched the new National Theatre Wales in 2010 and he was also recently awarded a prestigious Creative Wales Award.
He has also worked with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain as a writing workshop leader and WNO MAX on various projects, including Songlines, Song Bus and Surf Tailz, an exploration of the connections between opera and sport that culminated in a surf DVD.
As well as tutoring the new writers’ course at the Sherman Theatre, Alan tutored prisoners at HMP Cardiff to produce a new radio play (I Forgot To Tell You, a platinum Koestler Award winner) and is developing a new contemporary opera following two successful workshop weeks at the Young Vic, London.
With respect to A Good Night Out in the Valleys (National Theatre Wales, March 2010):
'…Venue and production come together brilliantly because Alan Harris's play is about a miners' institute in a crumbling Valleys town ...This cracking show moves on to four further community venues in March - and after that, surely, it will be made into a hit film.'
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail (four out of five stars)
'...I caught the piece at the Blackwood Miners' Institute, where a band plays, the fictional character of the manager takes to the stage dressed as a chicken, and the first prize in the raffle is a meat hamper. There's a fine running gag, too, about how local businesses are forced to double up their trades in hard times – the butcher's is also a massage parlour, while the café doubles as the undertaker's.'
Charles Spencer, The Telegraph (four out of five stars)
'...Alan Harris’s A Good Night out in the Valleys is set partly in and around small-town Gwent, partly in a hall where people gather variously to drink, play bingo, laugh, listen to a four- person band and, occasionally, have a punch-up. John E. McGrath’s production successfully evokes a community that’s in decay, a bit lost, yet still lively and still resilient.'
Benedict Nightingale, The Times (four out of five stars)
With respect to Orange (Sgript Cymru, September 2006):
“…It’s a testament to Harris’s writing that he keeps everything about the personal; characterisation is the main concern. That’s nowhere more evident than a devastating ending, which sees innocence corrupted and delivers a final moment you hope will never come…”
David Baldwin, Metro (four out of five stars)
“...Sgript Cymru have struck gold with the new writing talent, Alan Harris. It is an adrenalin hit from the opening scene; an hour and forty-five minutes of unremitting, edge-of-your- seat tension. The strain on the audience is palpable. A guy in the front row sat on the very edge of his seat. A woman next to me covered her face. Someone behind me groaned as Chippie burst into the room, I realised I'd not taken a breath. You will it to turn out alright in the end, though you know it probably won't...”
Allison Vale, British Theatre Guide
With respect to Miss Brown To You (Hijinx Theatre, April 2009):
“…Alan Harris’ new play tackles this difficult theme with touching sensitivity, all the more effective because it is lightened by humour...”
John Holliday, The Stage
“…Harris' script and Lougher's direction combine to ensure that Miss Brown to You is a wholly captivating couple of hours. This is everything we've come to expect from Hijinx: great story-telling, an exemplary, inclusive cast and a production that stays with you...”
British Theatre Guide