See Manon’s SPOTLIGHT PAGE here
Manon graduates from Manchester University : BA Joint Honours English 2.i Drama 2.i Joins Bag and Baggage Theatre Company, Cardiff as ASM and understudy for National Tour of Elaine Morgan’s “What’s Got Into You”, and as actress in subsequent New Writing Workshops, which includes the development of the stage play “Gweu Babis”
Following two weeks at the New Theatre Workshop at Gregynog, Manon becomes a founder member of Cwmni Hwyl a Fflag, subsequently touring “Gweu Babis” throughout Wales; and then joins a new company TiC in Port Talbot as an actor/teacher. The company eventually becomes Theatr West Glamorgan/Theatr Gorllewin Morgannwg : “Quite simply, the best theatre company in Wales”
The Guardian, Feb 1989
Theatr West Glamorgan/Theatr Gorllewin Morgannwg
As an actress and writer Manon gains a vast experience of performing, devising, writing and translating, not just for the stage but also for TV and radio. In 1989 the company wins a prestigious Incentive Funding Award from the Arts Council of Great Britain, and forms an EU Interreg partnership with Irish company Galloglass Theatre in Ireland in 1986. Manon also tours to perform in Turkey at International Theatre Festivals, performing for the first time in Turkish.
During this time Theatre West Glamorgan produces over 30 stage productions often playing to packed houses – ….each performer can transform a platitude into a riveting theatrical experience and the mundane into sheer drama… (Clustie Mawr Moch Bach : Western Mail, Aug 1993) – including the first ever Welsh language production of Raymond Briggs’s “When The Wind Blows” and Willy Russell’s “Shirley Valentine” (a production which attracts the biggest Welsh Language theatre audience ever) both translated by Manon.
In 1996 she also scripts the acclaimed first stage version of Alexander Cordell’s novel “Rape of the Fair Country”, in conjunction with the Grand Theatre, Swansea, and co-writes and is lyricist for “Combrogos”, the National Eisteddfod Drama Commission, 1994.
For television, in 1989/90 the theatre company writes and performs an educational series on Welsh history – 30 episodes, each filmed in English and in Welsh – “Day Return/Tocyn Diwrnod” – which are transmitted as schools programmes as well as at regional peaktime. The programmes are still used in schools today. At the same time, the company also devises and performs three comedy radio series for BBC Radio Cymru – “Atodiad Lliw”. Manon also undertakes many successful freelance projects during these years – including :
“Yr Hanner Awr Fawr/Fwy” (1983/4) two years as co-presenter and co- scriptwriter of BBC Wales’s very popular children’s television series, gaining thorough experience of presenting in studio, both recorded and live, as well as on location and filming inserts and items.
She also writes a short film for BBC Wales “Nos Sadwrn Fach” and appears as an actress in the following productions:
“Tebyg at ei Debyg” (Tir Glas – Comedy series)
“Nyth Cacwn” (Tir Glas – sit com series – recorded live)
“Dinas” (HTV – Drama series)
“Cwlwm” (HTV – Light Ent – sketches)
“Glan Hafren” (HTV – Hospital Drama series)
“Codi Clawr Hanes : Y Daith Greulon” (Teliesin – Drama/Doc)
“Tu Fewn Tu Fas” (Pontcanna – Prison Drama series)
“Y Ferch Drws Nesa” (Matinee – sit com series)
“Pam Sam” (Elidyr – Light Ent – sketches)
“Paula Bates” (HTV – Wales This Week – Drama/Doc)
“Y Glas” (Boda – Police Drama series)
“Tom Nefin” (Scan – historical Drama)
“Streic” (BBC Wales – Drama)
“Perthyn” (Llifon – Drama)
“Llygad y Ffynnon” (Elidyr – Drama)
1997/00 Manon joins Clwyd Theatr Cymru for its first season under the directorship of Terry Hands, and appears in “Equus”, “The Journey of Mary Kelly” and “A Christmas Carol”. She also re-scripts Alexander Cordell’s “Rape of the Fair Country” (dir. Tim Baker) for the company, which wins the 1997 Liverpool Daily Post Production of the Year Award: “a striking adaptation…. an epic sized production” and the success of the production results in commissions to adapt the remaining two novels in the trilogy, “Hosts of Rebecca” and “Song of the Earth” over the following years. These adaptations culminate in the trilogy being revived in repertoire as part of Clwyd Theatr Cymru’s 2000 Milennium project, performing in Mold and Cardiff, with all three productions playing on certain days – becomes the biggest, and one of the most popular and successful, theatrical event ever created in Wales.
”Standing ovations are not dished out lightly at Clwyd Theatr Cymru, so to have witnessed three in one day must signify something pretty special – the trilogy was a complete triumph from start to finish.”
North Wales Chronicle, 2000.
1998: ”Rape of the Fair Country” is performed at the English New Writing Festival at KVS/Euro Theater, Brussels on the invitation of its Artistic Director Franz Marijnen :
“It reconciled me to epic theatre. Bringing it to Belgium isn’t just a choice – it’s a mission”.
Also in 1998, Manon translates Yasmina Reza’s “Art” from the French to Welsh for the CTC company. “Celf” is produced at Clwyd and also tours Wales with great success. In 2000 she also translates Dario Fo’s “Accidental Death of an Anarchist” for Clwyd – “Damwain a Hap” is one of three production which secures a Barclays Stage Partners Award for the company.
Manon also appears during this time in the films “Lois” (Eryri 1999), “Solomon and Gaenor” (APT 1999), “O Little Town of Bethlehem” (Broadstroke 1999) and “Nice Girl” (BBC2 2000), and begins presenting the gardening programme “Clwb Garddio” (Cennad for S4C), which she continues to present until the series ends in 2006. In 1999 she co-writes “Llafur Cariad”, a major drama series for S4C (Teliesin) and also appears in the TV series “Palmant Aur” (Opus) as well as the drama “The Starving Girl” for BBC Radio 4, and becoming a regular on the BBC Radio soaps “Station Road” (BBC Radio Wales) and “Eileen” (BBC Radio Cymru)
Manon’s 90 minute film “Eldra” (Teliesin) is screened as S4C’s Christmas film, is nominated for 8 – and wins 5 – BAFTA Cymru Awards including Best Drama; also subsequently Best Film, Wales International Film Festival 2001 (Film Four Audience Award); Best Feature Film – Spirit of the Festival Awards, Moondance International Film Festival, Colorado 2002; FilmFest Kansas City Audience Favourite Foreign Film Award; Best Film -Wurzburg Film Festival 2003; Jury Award Celtic Film And Television Festival Belfast 2003 and reaches the long-short-list for the 2003 Academy Awards Best Foreign Film nominations.
Meanwhile “Y Stafell Ddirgel”, Manon’s television adaptation of the historical novel of the same name, is screened in six episodes on S4C. Manon also appears in the first series of “The Bench” for BBC TV Wales, in “Amdani” (Nant) and continues to work on “Station Road”, “Eileen”, and to present “Clwb Garddio”.
2002-4 Manon embarks on and completes another epic project – “Treflan” – the adaptation for television of two of the Victorian novelist Daniel Owen’s famous novels- “Rhys Lewis” and “Enoc Huws”, writing three flagship period drama series based on the novels, comprising 8 one-hour episodes each, involving 85 main characters, the 27 episodes broadcast over the course of three years. The largest television set ever built in Wales is constructed in a warehouse in Cardiff for this, the most ambitious project ever commissioned by S4C, to mark the Channel’s twentieth anniversary celebrations.
Also in 2002 Manon is shortlisted and reaches the finals of the Welsh Woman of the Year Award. She appears in the second series of “The Bench” (BBC Wales), and in “Evolution – Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” (Nova PBS), “A Mind To Kill” (HTV), and “Holby City” – “Loss of Faith” and “”Crossing the Line” for the BBC in 2003.
Manon’s work continues presenting “Clwb Garddio”, and in 2005 she takes part in the Home Office film “Protecting Jayne” (Omni). In 2006 she appears in the TV series “Cowbois & Injans” and in 2007 plays Rachel Roberts in the series “Welsh Greats” for BBC Wales.
Her adaptation of Emyr Humphreys’ novel “A Toy Epic” is staged in 2007 at Clwyd Theatr Cymru and Manon also writes “Porth y Byddar” for the stage – a co-production for Clwyd Theatr Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru for the National Eisteddfod and subsequent tour in Wales and London. The resounding success of this production earns her a commission to translate and adapt the play for English audiences – the result, “Drowned Out”, is performed at Clwyd in 2008, and is a Guardian “”Pick of the Week”.
Also in 2008 Manon turns her hand to producing, when she is asked to produce the film “Omlet” for Boomerang/S4C. She writes her first radio play “Gwylanod” for Radio Cymru, and joins the National Youth Theatre of Wales as Writer in Residence, running writing workshops, and writing the summer production “Magnificent Myths of the Mabinogi” for the company. This is followed in 2009 by the production “Canrif/Century”. Both productions receive rave reviews and standing ovations at Aberystwyth, Clwyd and Cardiff.
Manon’s position as Writer in in Residence with the National Youth Theatre of Wales culminates in the production “No Other Day Like Today” (September 2010). She is also a regular guest on the weekly rugby chat show “Yn Y Ryc” on BBC Cymru during the Six Nations Championship. She appears in the drama series “Pen Talar” and the film “Ar y Tracs”, and plays Rachel Roberts in the series “Welsh Greats”. She also presents the website for the Campaign for Sustainable Development. She writes the plays “Tridiau yn Chwefror” about the Swansea Blitz, (starring Sian Phillips) and “Cysgod y Malvinas” (about the Falklands War) for BBC Radio Cymru, and her TV series/adaptation of “Y Stafell Ddirgel” is repeated on S4C. She presents the weekly review programme “Wythnos I’w Chofio” on BBC Radio Cymru and has another adaptation for the screen and an original screenplay in development. In 2011 she also joins the production team on “Pobol y Cwm” for six months, script editing, storylining, and Acting Script Producer for two months.
2012 – present
Manon is now a regular scriptwriter for “Pobol y Cwm” (BBC) and “Gwaith Cartref” Fiction Factory). She wrote a short story for the volume Tapas (Gwasg Gwynedd), and qualified with Swansea University Teaching Welsh for Adults, for whom she taught for 5 years.. In March 2012 she co-adapted/translated Rachel Tresize’s short stories “Fresh Apples” : “Fala Surion” which was produced by Fran Wen Theatr, and toured throughout Wales. She also qualified with a Higher Certifate in Translation from Aberystwyth University, and continued as a mentor and guest lecturer at the Univeristy of Wales, Cardiff with MPhil Scriptwriting students. She won a place on a BBC Academy/Cyfle Advanced Script Development course. In February 2013 Clwyd Theatr Cymru staged a revival of her successful adaptation of Cordell’s “Rape of the Fair Country” which played at Clwyd, The New Theatre,Cardiff and the Grand in Swansea . She wrote “Tu Hwnt i Ddagrau” (starring Matthew Rhys) and “Rhosod” for BBC Radio Cymru, and initiated (and won development funding for) a major new drama/event for production in 2015/16. In 2016 she won development funding for and wrote the stage play “Swansea’s Three Night Blitz” performed at the Swansea Grand Theatre to packed houses. Her first novel “Porth y Byddar” published in November 2017. In 2020 BBC Radio Cymru produced two radio dramas “Merched y Môr”.
She played Gwen in “Talking to the Dead” (Sky) and, on stage, Mam in “Wyneb Dros Dro” (Cwmni 3D) and Angharad in “The Good The Bad and the Welsh” (Frapetsus). In 2020 she also performed in several of the Sherman Theatre’s lockdown dramas in the “Heart of Cardiff” series, and played Astrid Price in the “Astrid Price Investigates” series (Flying Bridge Theatre Co, now on YouTube)
“Shirley Valentine” CBAC 1996 ”Ty Jac/The House That Jack Built” Lolfa 1994; “Tapas” (contrib.) Gwasg Gwynedd 2012, “Porth y Byddar” Bwthyn 2017