Award winning Welsh new writing theatre company Dirty Protest is returning to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019 with its critically acclaimed new production How To be Brave.

Based on writer Siân Owen’s own experiences as a mother in a fast-changing and confusing world, this touching and hilarious one-woman play is told through the eyes of Katie, a mother in her late 30s living in Newport determined that her young daughter will never lose the powerful, fierce magic she arrived into the world with.

Join Katie on the worst day of her life as she cycles round Newport going nowhere on a stolen BMX while her daughter’s life hangs in the balance.

How To Be Brave explores what we are made of, what we leave behind, and learning to be brave when your world is falling apart.

The production is directed by Catherine Paskell, Artistic Director of Dirty Protest - whose production of Sugar Baby by writer Alan Harris for the company was a critical and public hit at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017 and 2018.

Laura Dalgleish, who’s recent screen credits include the BBC multi-platform comedy, Halfway, performs the role of Katie.

Born and brought up in Newport, South Wales, How to be Brave is also a love letter to writer Siân Owen’s hometown, exploring how our relationship with the place we grew up changes over time and feelings of how you can never leave.

The play will be presented by the UK’s national theatre of new plays, Paines Plough in their acclaimed Roundabout venue in Summerhall throughout Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019.

Katie has gone from a little girl who used to climb trees, ride bikes and go on adventures to an adult who worries about everything.

But now Katie is a mum, she must be brave in a whole new way.

Join Katie as she sets off on a mission, with the help of a stolen BMX, a policewoman with bad hair and a pigeon in a bag as she rides around Newport to find what she’s really made of.

By listening to the unheard voices of the city, she begins to ask what the women who have gone before can teach her about how to be brave.

The play premiered in Wales in March 2019.

Catherine Paskell, Artistic Director of Dirty Protest and Director of How To Be Brave, said:
“Siân has been involved with Dirty Protest for many years. We all love her incredibly funny, engaging and honest writing that is full of heart. Katie’s story will resonate with anyone who has ever wondered what happened to their childhood resilience and sense of adventure. This production explores the experiences of a woman, a parent, in her late 30s and we don’t see these stories, these women, on stage very often.

“The audience went wild for How To Be Brave on tour in Wales earlier this year and we are really excited to be back collaborating with Paines Plough to present this beautiful, funny show in the prestigious ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall venue and can’t wait to make a whole new audience laugh and cry – and you will cry.”

Dirty Protest is Wales’ new writing theatre company and has a strong reputation for creating lean, original, state-of-the-nation contemporary new writing productions from Wales. They have worked with more than 250 Welsh writers since their launch in 2007, staging new plays in theatres and alternative venues, and collaborated with world-class co-producers, including the Royal Court Theatre, the Almeida Theatre and Soho Theatre in London, National Theatre Wales, and the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh.

Tickets are now on sale for How To Be Brave.

Listings Information

How To Be Brave
Dirty Protest
Written by Siân Owen
Performed by Laura Dalgleish
Directed by Catherine Paskell
Age guidance 14+ (guidance only)

31 July – 25 August 2019 (not 1, 6, 13, 20 Aug)
ROUNDABOUT @ Summerhall (Venue 26)
Running time: 60 minutes
Box Office:
Tel: 0131 560 1581


Writer Siân Owen was born and brought up in Newport. She is a graduate of the MA Writing for Performance programme at Goldsmiths College. Siân has written for Pentabus (THIS LAND) and for BBC Radio 4 (PIECES). Her play RESTORATION won the Oxford Playhouse New Writing Competition. Siân is currently under commission with Box of Tricks Theatre Company, and has been part of the Sherman Cymru Advanced Writers Group, and the Royal Court Studio Group.

Performer Laura Dalgleish’s screen credits include the BBC multi-platform comedy HALFWAY, as well as ORDINARY LIES (Series 2), CALL THE MIDWIFE and EASTENDERS. On stage, Laura’s credits include MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, THE TEMPEST & SWALLOWS & AMAZONS (Storyhouse Theatre, Chester - 2018 Rep Company), HORRIBLE CHRISTMAS (Lowry and Alexandra Palace), three No.1 tours of HORRIBLE HISTORIES, and HEART SHAPED HOLE (PLAYlist Festival for Theatre 503). Laura is also a skilled voiceover artist, voicing characters for TORCHWOOD audio dramas THE HOPE and ALIENS AMONG US, as well as the Big Finish Original Production BLIND TERROR:THE GODS OF FROST. Laura also stars in the BBC Radio Wales comedy series BRAVO TWO CHARLIES.

Director Catherine Paskell is Artistic Director of Dirty Protest and an independent performance director from Cardiff. Previous to this she was a founding Creative Associate of National Theatre Wales. She is a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme and the RSA.

Catherine’s recent directing credits for Dirty Protest include SUGAR BABY by Alan Harris, which returned to ROUNDABOUT at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2018 after an acclaimed run in 2017, when it was added to the British Council Showcase as one of the best new shows that year. By public demand Sugar Baby toured Wales, then to Germany and transferred to the Soho Theatre. Last year, Catherine directed a new family play celebrating the link between Wales’ shipbuilding industry and Star Wars, LIGHTSPEED TO PEMBROKE DOCK by Mark Williams which toured 14 venues in Wales. Her touring production of PARALLEL LINE by Katherine Chandler won Best Production in the English Language at the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards. Recent independent directing includes a new translation of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE written in Portuguese by playwright Marcos Barbosa and staged in Brazil, and new play TWISTED TALES for Institute of the Arts Barcelona.

She is a founding Creative Associate of National Theatre Wales. Between 2009-2011, she helped start the organisation from scratch, building it from four people working in coffee shops to a £2-million core-funded national arts institution. Catherine contributed to the commissioning and creation of the first two seasons, supporting the development of shows by a range of artists including THE PASSION OF PORT TALBOT with Michael Sheen. She directed the fifth production in the inaugural season, THE BEACH, an interactive play with digital storytelling performed on the Prestatyn seafront. She created the landmark New Critics programme, working with national arts journalists including Lyn Gardner and Michael Billington to develop cultural criticism in Wales, and she directed The Assembly “debate and respond” cultural democracy programme which she continues to deliver for NTW (now known as "Performance Parties") where local writers, artists and audiences debate and respond creatively to local issues.

As an independent director, Catherine has also directed productions and projects for companies including Sherman Theatre, Wales Millennium Centre, The Junket Club, Unity Theatre Liverpool, Theatre 503, Oldham Coliseum, Tara Arts, Soho Theatre, and Lyric Theatre Hammersmith.

Catherine was recently chosen as an Arts Associate for the Arts Council of Wales. She is an Arts Council of Wales Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme, where she was seconded to the Directorate of the British Museum to support the curation of the landmark Pompeii and Herculaneum Exhibition, leading advocacy projects for the Museum (including showing Boris Johnson and George Osborne the exhibition) and supporting delivery of the live broadcast of the exhibition to cinemas worldwide.

Catherine trained on the Theatre Directing MFA at Birkbeck, University of London and was resident director at Contact, Manchester and Octagon Theatre Bolton.

Dirty Protest is Wales’ award-winning new writing theatre company.

Launched in 2007, the company has produced over 300 new plays by over 300 established and emerging writers, including Welsh writers Katherine Chandler, Gary Owen, Brad Birch, Alan Harris, Daf James, Ed Thomas, Kelly Jones, Tim Price, and Meredydd Barker and British playwrights including Duncan Macmillan, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, James Graham, Joel Horwood, Chloe Moss, Lucy Kirkwood, and Jack Thorne.

Dirty Protest stage original contemporary plays in theatres and alternative venues, including pubs and clubs, music festivals, kebab shops, hairdressers and forests. Alongside full-length productions, Dirty Protest stage regular short play nights where established and emerging writers are presented on the same platform, providing opportunities for writers, directors and actors. These nights present a shot of theatrical tequila without the paraphernalia, all for the price of a pint.

Twitter: @DirtyProtest
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