Enjoy a musical odyssey through the wild and bizarre life of Dr William Price, as Hail Cremation! opens in Newbridge, Wales.
This Spring, National Theatre Wales (NTW) will present Jon Tregenna’s brand new musical Hail Cremation! A psychedelic fusion of live music, dance and video, celebrating the extraordinary life of Welsh radical Dr William Price; regarded as the pioneer of modern cremation and a passionate Welshman.
Hail Cremation! is a musical odyssey through the wild and bizarre life of Dr William Price. This psychedelic fusion of live music, dance and video will take audiences on a riotous, strange and wonderful journey into the life of a complex and extraordinary Welshman.
Passionate Welshman, brutish anarchist, legendary surgeon, father of modern cremation, Welsh radical Victorian, sartorial genius, visionary, charlatan… And almost totally forgotten.
Price lived from 1800 to 1893 in South Wales and is regarded as the ‘Father of Modern Cremation’. He was one of the youngest ever surgeons to qualify from the Royal College of Surgeons.
As well as his professional achievements, he was well known for his eccentricities; from his unusual attire to his mode of travel of a cart pulled by goats. As one of the earliest feminists, he is widely known for his expression of Welsh identity and his advocacy of a vegetarian diet. Most famously, he fathered a child when he was 82 with his 22 year old partner, Gwen.
Price’s most famous act occurred when his five-month old son died of natural causes. Price burnt the baby’s body on a hill outside Llantrisant on a Sunday when the chapels were emptying, which caused an outrage. He was arrested and a famous trial followed. He successfully argued that the law did not prohibit the burning of corpses, and paved the way for the 1902 Cremation Act.
Price was ostracised from society in later years due to his increasingly erratic behaviour and it is now believed that he struggled with mental health towards the end of his life. His statue stands in Llantrisant, where he lived from 1866 until his death, aged 93.
Dr Williams Price has been in the press recently thanks to Hollywood actor Robert Downey Jr. Appearing on The Graham Norton Show recently, Robert Downey Jr revealed how he chose to attempt a Welsh accent in his new movie Dolittle. He said “I read about this guy named William Price who was this nutty, neodruid doctor in the 19th century. I based my character on him.”
Hail Cremation! will star Matthew Bulgo, Gruffudd Glyn, Lee Mengo and Seren Vickers, with dancers Iestyn Arwel, Ella Biddlecombe, Elan Elidyr and Kyle Flaherty. The musicians are Stephen Black (aka the lovely musical genius Sweet Baboo), Tom Cottle, Aidan Thorne and Paul Jones.
When: 23rd March – 4th April 2020
Where: Newbridge Memo, High Street, Newbridge, Newport, Wales NP11 4FH
£: Tickets cost from £14 (Suitable for ages 14+ years)
More info: www.nationaltheatrewales.org