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The Other Room in association with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Theatre503

The Story/Hela 

Running Time: (2hr 40mins - 1h 5mins each plus 30 mins interval)

Written by Tess Berry-Hart (The Story) and Mari Izzard (Hela)
Directed by David Mercatali (The Story) and Dan Jones (Hela)
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“a technologically complex show with an extraordinary design”

★★★★ – The Stage (Hela)


THE VIOLENCE SERIES is a trio of dystopian dramas – written by Matthew Bulgo, Tess Berry-Hart and Mari Izzard – set in a world that is familiar but on fire. Commissioned and produced by The Other Room for their Autumn 2019 season, each play explores the themes that divide us and asks profound questions about the darker side of humanity. When does an act become violent? Should we really fight fire with fire? And how far would you go to avoid it?


A volunteer arrives back from working in a refugee camp to discover she is now an “enemy of the people.” Arrested and imprisoned for her actions, the only way to maintain her sanity in a world turned upside down is to discover the identity of the mysterious interrogator from her past.

Inspired by Tess’s work with refugees from Assad’s jails and Libyan prisons, The Story is a psychological thriller set in a Kafkaesque world that interrogates the language of ‘othering’ and the stories we tell ourselves to justify violence. Is mental torture worse than physical? And how long can we last before our loyalty – and sanity – splinters and snaps?  The Story is a disquieting exploration of moral condemnation and personal responsibility that keeps the audience guessing to the very end.

Directed by Fringe First winner David Mercatali [Dark Vanilla Jungle, Blue Heart, Cargo and other works].


Erin, a young mother, has lost her son but no one will listen. Driven and desperate, she must find him by any means necessary. Waiting patiently for the right moment, now is the time for action, answers and justice. In a futuristic world of information and revolt, justice is determined – like everything else – by an algorithm. In this dystopian Wales, the most odious form of violence is protected, and the lines of justice become blurred. Hela asks whether our obsession with data can truly be trusted? Can deep seated pain ever be defused? And how far we are willing to go to see justice happen?

Winner of The Other Room’s Violet Burns Playwright Award, Mari Izzard makes her playwriting debut with this dark and unsettling tale. Hela leaves no rock unturned in this tale of dirty family secrets and vigilant justice.

Artistic Director Dan Jones directs this unsettling bilingual production with innovative accessibility woven into the narrative. Whether you speak Welsh or not, everyone will be able to understand, enjoy and be challenged by this provocative production.

Tess Berry-Hart (The Story) and Mari Izzard (Hela)

Tess is a playwright and activist living in Wales, and was recently shortlisted for the inaugural BBC Wales/NTW Writer in Residence 2019 award. Tess's theatre credits include “Cargo” (2016) about refugees travelling in a cargo container (Arcola Theatre, London) which has been translated into Turkish and toured by the Turkish National Theatre (2018 - 2019), and two verbatim plays, “Someone To Blame” (2012) about a miscarriage of justice (King’s Head Theatre) and “Sochi” (2014) about the anti-gay propaganda laws in Russia (Hope Theatre London and the Edinburgh Festival). Benefit gala performances of Sochi have also been produced in New York and Los Angeles. Tess is also a founder member of refugee charities Calais Action and the Citizens of the World Choir and has volunteered in Northern France, Lesvos and Athens.

Mari grew up in Bridgend, South Wales and then trained as an actor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where she first started her writing journey as part of the training on the course.

Since graduating she has worked as an actor for the National Theatre of Wales, Theatr Clwyd, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Regents Park Open Air Theatre, S4C's Gwaith/Cartref and most recently Lord of the Flies for Sherman Theatre and Theatr Clwyd.

Mari was inspired to write again after the passing of Victoria Wood, one of her many idols. This slowly snowballed into gaining one of Theatr Clwyd and Paines Plough’s Writers in Residency positions as part of their TYFU/GROW scheme, where her confidence as a writer was nurtured further.


Artistic Team
Tess Berry-Hart (The Story) and Mari Izzard (Hela)
David Mercatali (The Story) and Dan Jones (Hela)
TOR Artistic Director
Dan Jones
TOR Producer
George Soave
TOR Associate Director
Matthew Holmquist
TOR Press and Marketing Associate
Alys Hewitt
Delyth Evans
Lighting Designer
Katy Morrison
Composer/Sound Designer
Tic Ashfield
AV Designer/Videographer
Simon Clode
Production Manager
Rhys Williams
Fight Director
Kevin McCurdy
The Story - Director
David Mercatali
The Story - Assistant Director
Samantha Jones
The Story - Stage Manager
Rachel Bell
The Story - BSL Interpreter
Julie Doyle
Hela - Director
Dan Jones
Hela - Assistant Director
Alice Ecklund
Hela - Stage Manager
Theo Hung
Hela - BSL Interpreter
Cathryn McShane
Hela - Artistic Director Theatr Genedlaethol
Arwel Gruffydd
The Story - V
Hannah McPake
The Story - X
Siwan Morris
The Story - The Storyteller
Luciana Trapman
Hela - Erin
Lowri Izzard
Hela - Hugh
Gwydion Rhys
Hela - Y System/The System
Rhian Blythe
★★★★ - The Stage (Hela)
Posted on 8 November 2019

"a technologically complex show with an extraordinary design"

Read the full article

The Stage (The Story)
Posted on 16 October 2019

"Berry-Hart's depiction of psychological and emotional violence feels very real, something made all the more unsettling by director David Mercatali"

Read the full article

British Theatre Guide (The Story)
Posted on 8 October 2019

"The poignancy and relevance of The undeniable"

Read the full article



★★★★★ – London Pub Theatres

“…With exquisite directing decisions accompanied by brilliant acting the play was the cleverest bilingual production I have seen to date.”

★★★★ – The Stage

“a technologically complex show with an extraordinary design”

★★★★ – Buzz Theatre

“Here is a gripping production that heralds the arrival of a new and exciting feminist voice in Welsh theatre.” 

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