The True Story Of A Rugby Legend Comes To Whithorn

Raymond Gravell (‘Grav’) was a rugby union centre who earned 23 caps for Wales and was selected for the 1980 British Lions tour to South Africa. Ray later became a well-respected English and Welsh language broadcaster and actor.

Sadly, in 2007 Ray died from complications resulting from diabetes. He was just 56 years old.

With the full blessing of Ray’s wife and daughters, and contributions from his Welsh and British Lions teammates, a remarkable one-man show explores the life of a man who was as fascinating away from the rugby field as he was on it.

Written by Owen Thomas, directed by Peter Doran, and performed by Gareth J Bale, it is estimated that this highly acclaimed production has been seen by over 10,000 people with performances in multiple locations including Edinburgh, New York, Washington DC, and Wales, and it is now coming to Dumfries and Galloway.

“I love performing this show” said actor Gareth J Bale, when asked about his favourite performances. “The performance for the Welsh National Rugby squad in the lead up to the Six Nations match versus England in 2018 was special. It was performed in the away changing room of the national stadium in front of the squad and the coaching staff so no pressure there! Thankfully it went well…and Wales went on to win that match too.”

A television version of the play, also with a script by Owen Thomas andstarring Gareth J Bale as Ray Gravell, won the 2022 BAFTA Cymru award for best feature/television film.

Gareth J Bale has recently appeared on television screens in the BBC Onefactual drama ‘Steeltown Murders’, playing the role of DC Geraint Bale (in real life, Gareth’s own uncle) in scenes alongside Philip Glenister and Steffan Rhodri. “Playing my uncle in the story was an honour” says Gareth.

“Stepping into his shoes was a big task but I wanted to focus on the story and his part in it. Ger has a big heart and was a diligent worker, I hope that I get that across. Similarly, with Grav, I want the focus to be on the story and not some exaggerated caricature of Ray. What he stood for and trying tocapture some essence of the man is more important to me. It is theuniversal story of a boy and his relationship with his Mam and Dad whicheveryone can relate to.”

‘Grav’ comes to The Swallow Theatre near Whithorn on Tuesday 18 July7.30pm and Wednesday 19 July 2.30pm.

Tickets are £13.50 and can be bought online at



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