"genius" - The Telegraph
"a complete one-off" - The Guardian
"ludicrously enjoyable" - What's On Stage
"visionary" - Time Out
WRITER, COMPOSER, PERFORMER
OF GLITTERY, BITING MUSICALS
Image copyright Damien Frost 2017
A LITTLE ABOUT HIMSELF
Seiriol (pronounced SAY-ree-oll) is from Anglesey, the island on the top of Wales. It sometimes gets left off maps, but it is there; there's a Waitrose now and everything. He speaks Welsh and some English, and sings and acts and writes and composes.
He trained at the London International School of Performing Arts, and started out in cabaret. He's worked much with Punchdrunk, Gideon Reeling and Brian Catling, is a founder member of Brighton art collective / record label Beatabet, and tragi-glam rock band Temper Temper, and was half of cult punk music hall turn Underbling & Vow.
He now works primarily in theatre. In 2016, he wrote and starred in his first musical, the acclaimed How to Win Against History, which won several awards, including The Stage Edinburgh Award and a Wales Theatre Award (Best Touring Production). He was also nominated for a UK Theatre Award for Best Performance in a Musical.
He also plays well with others. As an actor, writer and composer, he's worked with all sorts, like The Old Vic, the Gate Theatre, English National Opera, National Theatre Wales, the Lyceum in Edinburgh, and many others. There's some more about some of those shows below.
Other awards include: The Stage Award for Acting Excellence (Best Ensemble) for Mess, a Song For Wales Special Jury Prize, the Mitzi Cunliffe Award for Sculpture and The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award.
He is currently working on numerous new and exciting projects to be announced in the coming months, as well as the follow-up to How to Win, the ravishing small-town epic Milky Peaks.
HOW TO WIN AGAINST HISTORY
◆ WINNER ◆
The Stage Edinburgh Award
"A work of genius"
★★★★★ THE TELEGRAPH
◆ WINNER ◆
Wales Theatre Award
"Best Touring Production"
◆ NOMINATED ◆
UK Theatre Award
"Best Performance in a Musical"
WHAT'S ON STAGE
POSTCARDS FROM THE GODS
◆ TOTAL SELLOUT ◆
2016 & 2017
Image copyright Krstina Banholzer 2017
Image copyright Kristina Banholzer 2017
"I am lonely... but I am rich!"
How to Win Against History is a fierce, fabulous new British musical about Henry Cyril Paget, the cross-dressing 5th Marquis of Anglesey. Born in 1875, poised to inherit the Empire, he instead burned briefly, brightly and transvestitely; blowing his godlike wealth putting on glittering, diamond-studded plays. With him as the star.
When he died at 29, his family burnt every trace of his life and carried on like he'd never existed. This is a hilarious, ripped-up extravaganza about being too weird for the world, but desperately not wanting it to forget you.
Opening at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016, it was the #1 best-reviewed show of the entire festival. After total sellout runs there in 2016 & '17, the show toured England and Wales before transferring to the Young Vic in London, where its sellout run was extended due to demand.
"How to Win Against History" is booking for international touring, and will return...
For tour enquiries, contact Áine Flanagan Productions on firstname.lastname@example.org
For script & score enquiries, contact Lily Williams at Curtis Brown on email@example.com
Book, Music and Lyrics by Seiriol Davies
Starring Seiriol Davies, Matthew Blake, Dylan Townley
Design by Verity Quinn
Dramaturgy by Eve Leigh
Devised by The Company
Directed by Alex Swift
Produced by Áine Flanagan Productions
Lighting by Dan Saggars
Movement by Bert Roman
Developed with Ovalhouse
"How to Win Against History" has been supported by Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru; Arts Council England; Pontio, Bangor; The Young Vic and Ovalhouse, London
Image copyright Rah Petherbridge 2015
It’s the sort of show that
makes the world better by sheer dint of how fun it is.
There's a radical populism to cabaret, and this is a knobbly knees-up. It smuggles politics and queerness in with a smile... It makes for something utterly accessible, apparently familiar and radically progressive. Paget himself would be proud.
WHAT'S ON STAGE
Comparisons to the Broadway smash Hamilton are inevitable given the subversive, larky, skittishly witty approach to history… yet the pathos of the story, along with its proto gay rights defiance, stays with you long after the last keyboard chord has sounded.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
The trio are reclaiming the visibility of queer heroes for
a new generation, eschewing heteronormative histories.
There is not one wasted line or gesture and it all flows like a vintage red wine. It's frequently cartoonish and absurd, of course, but always pointed and intellectually rich. It's the
spaces between the bravado that
make the skin prickle. Hilarious, beautiful and truly moving.
A work of genius.
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
A glittering production. How to Win says all manner of things about identity, privilege, legacy, art and the nature of biography, while never losing sight of when the next joke should land... A total pleasure.
It’s savagely clever,
verbally dextrous and
powers along at a relentless
pace, burning through Paget’s short life rather as he did himself.
Given Britain’s lack of a violent revolution by the proletariat, what we have instead is a tradition of witty songs
with which to undermine the ruling classes. Seiriol Davies knocks the whole genre
into a cocked hat... Argh. The thing is so good it makes your prose go to pieces trying to explain it... Must see. Kill to inherit a ticket.
POSTCARDS FROM THE GODS
A complete one-off: a little bit weird, totally absurd, often hilarious and very, very sparkly.
How To Win may well be the first piece of genderpunk anti-imperialist musical theatre. This fiendishly creative, ferocious three-hander… demolishes so many conventions of contemporary performance and the straight-washing of British politics that it is impossible to match the terrain it covers in this review.
Wit, pathos, and sardonism
don’t come more glamorous than blindingly smart and side-splittingly original How to Win Against History... A show to go down in the annals... a sheer, queer coup de theatre.
GRUMPY GAY CRITIC
As much of a meditation on the nature of performance as an irreverent look at a life lived theatrically, musically this is where Edwardian drawing-room Singspiel meets The X Factor and The League of Gentlemen.
THE SUNDAY TIMES
Image copyright Rah Petherbridge 2015
"Come on, Milky Peaks!"
When Milky Peaks, a small, isolated and completely normal town in the bosom of Snowdonia, is nominated for the 'Britain’s Best Town' award, everyone is pleased. However, the award has a dark side that threatens to blow the community apart.
A recently-come-out young man with ambition (who’s working in a hotel right now); a patriotic mother whose marriage with hubby is going totally fine thanks; the local arty lady with an incendiary secret and a kaftan; a haunted, burnt-out drag queen, pining for her less ropey days; a ruthless local councillor who just wants what's best for the normal guy. They are all dragged into a battle for the town’s soul.
Meanwhile, in the mountains, something huge and gorgeous stirs...
A fabulous Greek chorus of draggy Celtic spirits uses physical storytelling and awesome belters to tell this new queer Welsh fable. A soaring, epic, small-town story about identity and community: what we’ll do to ourselves to fit into it, and what we’ll do to others to protect it.
Milky Peaks reunites Seiriol with collaborators Matthew Blake,
Alex Swift, Dylan Townley and Áine Flanagan Productions.
Dwad yn 2020
Milky Peaks has been supported by the National Theatre New Work Department, Theatr Clwyd, Arts Council England and Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru.
OTHER LOVELY WORK
"EFFIGIES OF WICKEDNESS" A collaboration with director Ellen McDougall, the Gate Theatre and English National Opera, writing new English versions of Weimar Kabaret Songs banned by the Nazis.
TIME OUT: ★★★★ “the songs – with new lyrics by Seiriol Davies – are the headline event.”
GUARDIAN: ”These English versions of the lyrics, most of them brilliantly written by Seiriol Davies, make it clear that the majority of these songs remain startlingly topical.”
"THE GREATEST WEALTH" A commission by the Old Vic to write a short, one-hander musical for an evening of monologues celebrating the NHS, curated by Lolita Chakrabarti and directed by Adrian Lester. Other writers included Meera Syal, Moira Buffini and Jack Thorne. See the stunning Louise English perform "The Nuchess" below:
"HOW TO BE BOTH" In August 2018, he worked with writer-director Clare Duffy, the Lyceum, Edinburgh and the Edinburgh International Book Festival to adapt Ali Smith's dazzling novel for the stage. The project is in development.
GUARDIAN: ★★★★ “the Renaissance artist Francesco del Cossa rears out of the walls of history and, as the performer and musical director Seiriol Davies cleverly frames it – co-opting Miley Cyrus – crashes into Georgia’s life like a wrecking ball... Then Francesco forces his own song into counterpoint, poignantly recalling the moment his secret was uncovered.”
"MESS" In 2012, he co-devised Mess with Caroline Horton & Co, writing the songs and playing the role of Sistahl. Mess opened at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and has toured the UK and internationally several times.
METRO: ★★★★ "Writer and performer Caroline Horton brings anorexia into the open with this honest and uproarious play with music... to a live music score from scene-stealer extraordinaire Sistahl (Seiriol Davies).