National Youth Arts Wales

Fire Man.

Botticelli's Bonfire is a brand new, bi-lingual drama from Greg Cullen, which will be premiered by the award-winning National Youth Theatre of Wales this summer.

The play is (quite literally) going to be hot off the press for the young performers who will be bringing to life some of the leading figures of the Italian Renaissance - members of the notorious Borgia clan, artists such as Botticelli and Michelangelo, and Savonarola, a militant Dominican Friar with a taste for power. The play depicts how a once enlightened city came close to ruin as a charismatic, religious leader held sway over a terrified population. Although set in Florence in a far-off century, Botticelli's Bonfire raises strikingly modern questions as it tells the story of a groundbreaking artist who falls from favour when the forces of intolerance take hold and attempt to ban new ideas and means of artistic expression.

"Books, paintings, sculptures, even jewellery were burnt in the streets as the followers of Savonarola tried to reduce the artistic achievements of Botticelli and his contemporaries to ashes," explains Greg. "The play is a timely reminder of what can happen if fundamentalist beliefs are imposed without debate, or challenge."