Saturday 13th 20.30 & Sunday 14th August 17.30


Welsh National Youth Opera


Made up of enthusiastic, talented young singers and instrumentalists aged between 16 and 25 years old, trainee repetiteurs and backstage work experience students, the group meets in Cardiff under the direction of WNO professionals. Productions take place every two years and participants are recruited from across Wales. The Sleeper is the third WNYO commission. To find out more please contact Paula Scott at


The Sleeper was originally staged in July 2011 as a site-specific promenade performance at the Coal Exchange Building in Cardiff Bay.



In The Sleeper, we see our own society as it is today, but with one familiar element removed. This is a Britain in which, decades ago, people lost the gift of sleep.


Society is strained to breaking point by 24-hour wakefulness. The government has cracked down on subversive images of sleep. People work around the clock. Hotels are for private meetings and illicit romance. Shops never close.


Into this paranoid world, a teenager who can sleep. Protected by friends, the sleeper goes on the run from the authorities who are keen to control and study their gift.


The group ends up living in a city centre squat, surviving by shoplifting and begging. The group grows increasingly anxious and fractious, with some members lapsing into cultish beliefs in the ‘old gods’, in which lullabies are chanted as prayers, worshipping sleep. Jamie, the level-headed natural leader of the group, is struggling to keep the peace.


One night a police patrol raids the squat. Hungry, scared and sick of being pursued, the group receives an offer of help from a wealthy man – known by the nickname Hypnos – who says he will protect them. But what does he want in return? Desperate, and running out of options, they go to him. When they reach the man’s hideout they find a place governed by his obsession with sleep and an eerie film-set centered around a bed. The price for his protection is a movie. He wants to film the ‘sleeper’ sleeping. But why?



The Sleeper



What shone through in this Welsh National Youth Opera promenade performance was the energy and dedication of the cast and musicians and the resources devoted to the production.


Walesonline 20 July 2011

Welsh National Youth Opera

Music: Stephen Deazley

Words: Michael Symmons Roberts

Conductor: Eugene Montieth

Original Director: Pete Harris

Original Designer: Rhys Jarman

Movement Director: Ayse Tashkarin

Revival Director: Dafydd Hall Williams

Lighting Designer: Rachel McCutcheon


Welsh National Youth Opera

Jamie: David Jones

Somnus: Annie Sheen

Sara: Holly-Anna Lloyd

Ella: Emily Griffiths

Sam: Michael Lowe

Hypnos: Tim Nelson

Keller: William Helliwell

Police: Debra Finch and Sarah

Chorus: Aimee Daniel, Lucy Gravelle, Rebecca Hulse, Phillipa Scamell, Elizabeth Tiley, Vikki Bebb, Chloe Maliphant, Emma Powell, Miles Braithwaite, Rhys Cook,

James Jones, Tom Smith, Dan Fulham, Nico Lee Walters


Stephen Deazley: Music
Stephen Deazley is a freelance composer, music director and music educator whose work embraces the wider community on and off the concert platform and is widely acknowledged as a champion of music and music education for children and young people. Most recent works include Doctor Ferret’s Bad Medicine Roadshow (Scottish Opera); Death’s Cabaret (Sacconi Quartet and Matthew Sharp).

Michael Symmons Roberts: Words
Michael was born in 1963 in Preston, Lancashire. His poetry has won the Whitbread Poetry Award, and been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize, the Forward Prize and twice for the T S Eliot Prize. He has a continuing collaboration with composer James MacMillan and their WNO commission, The Sacrifice, won the RPS Award for opera.