Guy O'Donnell

Hi I am Guy the project coordinator for Get The Chance. I am a trained secondary teacher of Art and Design and have taught at all Key Stages in England and Wales. I am also an experienced theatre designer and have designed for many of the theatre companies in Wales.

An interview with Rachel Boulton, writer and Director of Exodus.

The Director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell recently met with Rachel Boulton, Artistic Director of Motherlode, they discussed her background, thoughts on the arts in Wales and Motherlodes new production ‘Exodus’ which premiers at the Coliseum Theatre,  Aberdare on the 5th of October before touring.

Hi Rachael great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

Hello! I’m Rachael, I’m from Cwmbran and spent most of my time growing up in Newport, going to places like TJ’s and OTT’s when they were still about, not to mention Zanzibar’s! I was really lucky to get full funding when I was seventeen to attend Joan Littlewood’s E15 Acting School, where I spent four years training as an actor and theatre maker. It was great because the ethos of the school supported people like me from working class backgrounds, unlike some drama schools at that time. The training was rooted in European theatre styles, which taught me the importance of ensemble. It’s been ten years since I left, and I’m still using the tools they gave me. I had a lot of other dodgy jobs in between mind! Worst was being Jordan’s personal waitress at an ultimate fighting championship event, and I didn’t even get a tip!

You have written and are currently directing Motherolodes latest production ‘Exodus’ which is “Set in South Wales on the eve that the last factory in the town closes, four neighbours hatch a plan that is literally pie in the sky.” The issues faced by local towns in South Wales face are of real relevance to Welsh communities. How have Motherlode approached this important topic?

I first talked to RCT Theatres about Exodus in 2015. They felt it was relevant to their audiences, and generously supported me, alongside Creu Cymru, to develop the play. Exodus is a comedy in which the plot follows a young woman called Mary. Mary is our main character who works for a modern high street chain. She’s a challenging character, and hard to identify at first, as you can’t really pin her down. She’s an every day woman, not on the left, not on the right, and working a good job to maybe have a holiday and be able to afford nice things. She can’t be polarised (despite our best efforts) and is confused about the world. Over the last few years during our residency at RCT, I talked to people from an older generation, including a truly amazing woman who used to work at the old Burberry factory in Treorchy before it closed. This was used as inspiration for a background setting, to help tell a younger narrative – Mary’s story. Our R&D’s took place at RCT Theatres, and after taking on feedback from numerous sharings and open rehearsals, the rest of the writing was done mainly in Cwmbran, where my family live.

Arts Council of Wales has recently launched its new Corporate Plan “For the benefit of all… ” In it, the body’s mission for 2018-23 was unveiled – “Making the arts central to the life and wellbeing of the nation” One of the two priorities it has committed itself two are, “Promoting Equalities as the foundation of a clear commitment to reach more widely and deeply into all communities across Wales. “

Motherlode describe themselves as a company who “Work in communities and locations across Wales and the South West, to create entertaining, relevant new theatre that is inspired by real life stories.” It would appear then that you are already as a company fulfilling this ACW priority? Would you like to see more investment into this method of creating new art forms?

Well, we’re still very much in our infancy as a company, being only four years old, but we’re trying to grow in the right direction. In four years we’ve developed four shows in partnership with RCT Theatres, including bringing local young people together to create new work, staged both locally and nationally. We also produced our first international tour in partnership with RCT Theatres. It would be a great thing if venues across Wales like RCT Theatres were given more money and resources to find, support, and develop local artists. At the moment, many venues can barely keep the doors open and the lights on. As a company, we’d like to have the infrastructure to develop a regular program of work and activity that has a genuine lasting impact. At the moment, like many other small companies, it can be hard to do this justice with project only funding. However, I think we’re off to a good start, and we’re very lucky to be supported by venues and organisations who like working with us, including RCT Theatres, Blackwood Miners Institute, Night Out Wales, Creu Cymru, Chapter, Wales Millennium Centre and Bristol Old Vic.

Exodus rehearsals credit Tom Flannery 

Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision. In your personal experience, are you aware of any barriers to cultural provision?

I found working in theatre impossible to navigate until I turned 30. Despite being given the support to train in my twenties, and work with companies like the RSC and Royal Opera House, I still felt out of place in rehearsal rooms and audiences. I couldn’t articulate myself in the way that I wanted to. It felt like the culture of theatre was set in a very particular way, a culture I wasn’t a part of, from the play text down to the ticket sales. An employer once said to me in an interview for a assistant director job, “ I can’t believe you’re applying for this job when you’ve not seen any of my work!” I replied, “that’s because most people can’t afford your bloody tickets” Moving home five years ago to work as an emerging director for NTW was a turning point. I was encouraged to develop my own work in my own voice and out of that Motherlode was born. Getting Motherlode off the ground in the last few years has taken pretty much all of my focus, and so far we’ve been really lucky to be supported by ACW across various projects. This hasn’t left much time for other work, but, some includes; working with NTW as assistant director on their shows ‘Tonypandemonium’ and ‘Crouch, Touch Pause, Engage’ and as community director after ‘Mother Courage and Her Children.’ I’ve also worked as an associate director at Out Of Joint, created, produced and directed Motherlode’s first off broadway run, directed ‘Blackout’ by Davey Anderson with a young company for National Theatre’s Dorfman Stage, and will be collaborating with Theatr Clwyd after generous support from Creu Cymru. I’m also looking forward to taking Exodus to the Finborough Theatre in November, and giving Motherlode a platform in London for the first time.

Exodus rehearsals credit Tom Flannery

Congratulations on recently becoming a parent. Creatives such as   Tamara Harvey,  Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd have increased awareness of the challenges parents can face working in the theatre, with her #workingmum tweets. As a new parent are there ways that we approach creative practices that might offer more opportunities for working parents to juggle the demands of work and home life?

While pregnant, I spent a few days at Theatr Clwyd. Tamara was pregnant at the same time, and already a mother. She took time to tell me that it is absolutely possible to work in theatre and be a mother, which I really appreciated. Writer Bethan Marlow was there too, and she said the same. Clwyd’s Gwennan Mair has also been incredible, moving an R&D around to support me through my pregnancy.

It’s been three months since I had my baby, and I’ve just come back to work. Being freelance without the support of an employer or large organisation behind me is a challenge, but, I feel incredibly lucky to be doing a job that I love with great people, particularly Angela Gould at RCT Theatres, Nia Skyrme and Emma Vickery…The whole team’s a treat. I was asked to tweet about being a working mum in theatre, but, for me, there’s so little that’s sacred these days, I wanted to keep my personal life personal, and in short, I’m simply crap on twitter! But, I’m open to talk about it, if asked…

If you were able to fund an area of the arts in what would this be and why?

That’s a good question. I would invest in forming young companies in underrepresented areas and make it affordable, if not free. I think everyone, regardless of background should have access to the arts,especially now they’re heavily cut through education. For me, its not necessarily just about nurturing young talent, but creating a safe space for people to express themselves.

What excites you about the arts?

It’s capacity to create change through story. Collective experience.

What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?

Apart from childbirth? The last thing I experienced before having my baby was a remount of Belonging by Re-Live/Karin Diamond at Chapter. I couldn’t take my eyes off the audience throughout the play who were deeply moved, laughing, sobbing, chatting for ages afterwards. The team tapped into a struggle with a lot of dignity in that piece.

Many thanks for your time Rachel

Tickets are on sale for Exodus now for performances at The Coliseum Theatre Aberdare (5 & 6 October), Theatr Clwyd (9 & 10 October), Llandinam Village Hall (11 October), Redhouse Cymru Merthyr Tydfil (12 October),  Chapter Cardiff (17 – 20 October), Riverfront Newport (23 October), Gwynfe Village Hall (24 October), Torch Theatre Milford Haven (25 October), Blackwood Miners’ Institute (26 October), Theatr Brycheiniog Brecon (27 October), Cwmavon Village Hall (30 October) and Finborough Theatre London (5-20 November).

 

News : Welsh production set to take off down the high street in Aberdare and land in London…

Welsh production set to take off down the high street in Aberdare and land in London…

Welsh theatre company Motherlode in co-production with RCT Theatres, (whose last production The Good Earth toured to Broadway and was described by the New York Times as ​“Wonderfully acted ” ​and by The New Yorker as ​“A lovely Welsh import”) are on the road again with ​Exodus, a world premiere of another uniquely Welsh story which will head to London following an autumn Welsh tour.

Motherlode pride themselves on telling relevant new drama that is inspired by real life stories and their new production ​Exodus​, written and directed by Rachael Boulton, is no exception.

Set in South Wales on the eve that the last factory in the town closes, four neighbours hatch a plan that is literally pie in the sky.

Writer and Director of Exodus, Rachel Bolton

Boulton says; “ Four neighbours gather in an allotment, decide to build a plane, and take off down the high street. Past the butchers, past the curry house and above the chapel in search of a life free from politics and the grind. It’s a tragic comedy that I was very lucky to develop with a great team of people and I really hope audiences across Wales will enjoy it.”

Boulton’s last production with her company Motherlode, The Good Earth, which was also co-produced by RCT Theatres, told the story of a Valleys community torn apart by their council and big business and was so successful it played on the New York stage with The Stage newspaper describing the work as ‘giving a voice to the voiceless’.

Motherlode, ​The Good Earth​.

Bolton continues: ​“The play is a lot of fun, but contains real stories about real people with real challenges. I think that’s why Motherlode’s work might resonate with audiences inside and outside of Wales. We were very fortunate to have a strong response when taking The Good Earth to New York and we’re delighted to have been invited to take Exodus to London in November too”

The production, which will tour to 12 venues across Wales this October from Milford Haven in the west to Newport in the east and Mold in the North, will open at The Coliseum Theatre Aberdare, to mark the 80th birthday of the ​beautiful 1930’s art deco 650 seat theatre,​ on Friday 5 of October.

Angela Gould, Theatre Programme and Audience Development Manager for RCT Theatres, who are co-producers on Exodus, says: ​“2018 sees the 80th birthday of the Coliseum Theatre, and what better way to celebrate than to mark the anniversary with a year of amazing and vibrant events – including spectacular performances, special events, participation activities and fun for everyone!”

Gould continues: ​“This landmark year for our iconic and beautiful building culminates with this unique performance co-produced by RCT Theatres. Developed in the heart of our community, Exodus is an integral part of our 80th birthday celebrations and we can’t wait for it to open here.”

Blisteringly funny, this heart-warming drama is accompanied by a live original score by David Grubb with choreography from Emma Vickery culminating in a new adventure that makes anything seem possible.

Tickets are on sale now for performances at The Coliseum Theatre Aberdare (5 & 6 October), Theatr Clwyd (9 & 10 October), Llandinam Village Hall (11 October), Redhouse Cymru Merthyr Tydfil (12 October), Taliesin Swansea (13 October), Chapter Cardiff (17 – 20 October), Riverfront Newport (23 October), Gwynfe Village Hall (24 October), Torch Theatre Milford Haven (25 October), Blackwood Miners’ Institute (26 October), Theatr Brycheiniog Brecon (27 October), Cwmavon Village Hall (30 October) and Finborough Theatre London (5-20 November).

 

News : iCoDaCo invite local and global communities to connect with international dance artists in Cardiff this September

Six dance artists from five different countries – including Wales’ Eddie Ladd – will be at Chapter, Cardiff this September for the second of a series of international residencies, developing new cross-border work based on the theme of transformation with iCoDaCo (International Contemporary Dance Collective).

Local communities are invited to share in this unique and experimental creative process with a series of free interactive events at Chapter from 11-15 September, including a children’s workshop and an open sharing of the work in progress, while global audiences will follow the contemporary dance collective’s progress online.

iCoDaCo is a two-year project that selects world-class international dance artists to create and tour a collaborative full-length production together (rather than a collection of individual pieces), developing the work across each of the artists’ home countries.

Following their first residency in Hong Kong this August, the six iCoDaCo 2018-2020 dance artists from Hong Kong, Hungary, Poland, Sweden and Wales will be in Cardiff this September for a 2-week residency to further develop their work. The Cardiff residency is being hosted by Welsh company Gwyn Emberton Dance, who are supporting the project internationally as a partner organisation of iCoDaCo, with Gwyn as a member of the creative team.

Gwyn Emberton

in Cardiff, the iCoDaCo artists will be exploring physical, spatial, political and psychological transformations in modern society, while also demonstrating the early stages of their creative process to the public, regardless of dance knowledge or experience, through a series of free interactive events at Chapter.

On Tuesday 11 September, there is an open coffee morning with free coffee and pastries to welcome the iCoDaCo artists with an opportunity to share stories, thoughts and ideas around the theme of transformation. Throughout the week, local dancers and physical performers are welcome to join the artists in their morning classes and experience a range of teaching approaches (Tuesday 11, Thursday 13 & Friday 14 September).

Children aged 8-12 can try a free contemporary dance workshop on Saturday 15 September, hosted by Gwyn Emberton Dance and led by renowned Welsh performer and iCoDaCo artist, Eddie Ladd with the other dance artists from Sweden, Hungary and Poland. And on Friday 14 September, the iCoDaCo collective will publicly share their work in progress followed by an informal Q & A session – which will both be streamed live online – connecting audiences in Wales with international followers.

Eddie Ladd

As part of the  European Commission’s Creative Europe Programme, with additional support in Wales from Arts Council of Wales and Chapter, the project promotes values such as diversity, tolerance and communality while creating a fresh contemporary dance piece that is influenced by the eclectic artistic and personal heritage of each artist in the collective.

iCoDaCo artist Lee Brummer from Sweden reflects on the group’s first residency in Hong Kong:

“It feels incredible to be in a room with these inspiring individuals, each with a strong, powerful and enchanting world. I’m enjoying the journey between each of these worlds and the open invitation for them to visit mine. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with everyone at our second residency in Wales and seeing how the piece transforms and learning from the wealth of the collective.”

 Lee Brummer

the residency in Cardiff, the iCoDaCo collective will regroup in Sweden, Hungary and then Poland, culminating in the premiere of TRANSFORMATION (working title) this November at BalletOFFFestival by Kraków Choreographic Centre. TRANSFORMATION will then tour throughout 2019 to Sweden (March), Hungary and Poland (April), Hong Kong (July), Edinburgh Festival Fringe (August) and Wales in Autumn 2019.

Audiences can follow the progress of TRANSFORMATION on the iCoDaCo blog at icodaco.com and watch live the sharings via facebook.com/icodaco.

For more information on the free iCoDaCo events at Chapter this 11-15 September and to book a space for the open classes, coffee morning, kids workshop and the sharing – visit chapter.org

iCoDaCo Events this September

 All events take place at:

Chapter

Market Road

Canton

Cardiff

CF5 1QE

chapter.org

029 2030 4400

 

Coffee Morning – Meet the iCoDaCo artists

Tuesday 11 September

11.15am – 12.30pm

Free but please contact info@gwynembertondance.com to book

Open Morning Classes

Tuesday 11, Thursday 12 & Friday 14 September

10am – 11.15am (approx)

Free but please contact info@gwynembertondance.com to book

Work in Progress – Preview and Q & A

Friday 14 September

5pm – 6.30pm (approx)

Free but please book via Chapter here

Watch online via facebook.com/icodaco

Kids’ Workshop (8 – 12 years)

Saturday 15 September

10am – 12pm

Free but please contact info@gwynembertondance.com to book

 

 iCoDaCo Makers – performers:

Lee Brummer (Sweden)

Mui Cheuk-Yin (Hong Kong)

Eddie Ladd (Wales)

Joseph Lee (Hong Kong)

Weronika Pelczyńska (Poland)

Imre Vasi (Hungary)

Dramaturgy:

Gwyn Emberton & Israel Aloni

Composer:

Gosheven

Set & Space Design:

Simon Banham

Lighting Design:

Kathy Sandys

Score Designer:

Rhodri Davies

Costume Design:

Hanka Podraza

Technical management:

Kristian Rhodes

iCoDaCo is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

With additional support in Wales from Arts Council of Wales and Chapter.

 

 

 

 

Chapter is supported by

Gweithdy Beirniaid Exodus, am ddim/Free Exodus Critics workshop

Interested in theatre, dance, visual art, gigs, poetry, film and more?

Want to access a free workshop which will give you an insight into the role of a critic?

Then, this is for you!

All participants will be able to:

-Access the workshop for free and see an open rehearsal of Exodus, Motherlode’s new production.

-Receive a press ticket to see and review Exodus on October 6th 2pm at The Coliseum, Aberdare

-Be supported by Get the Chance to continue to review a range of events and performances.

Motherlode presents

In Co-Production with RCT Theatres

Exodus

By Rachael Boulton

“South Wales. The night the last factory closed. Four neighbours build a plane in an allotment and take off down the high street, past the butchers, past the curry house, and above the chapel in search of a life free from politics and the grind.”

Blisteringly funny, this heart-warming drama accompanied by live original score and tantalising visuals is a new adventure from the valleys that makes anything seem possible.

“Comic and celebratory, melodic and mournful, it’s an elegy for a place that’s not dead yet!” – New York Times Review for Motherlode.

In association with Creu Cymru. Supported by Arts Council of Wales, Bristol Old Vic & Chapter.

What’s involved?

You will take part in a 60 minute workshop with Guy O’Donnell Director of social enterprise and online magazine website Get the Chance http://getthechance.wales

During the workshop you will be given an insight into the role of the arts critic. You will be given instruction on how to create a review and upload your response online. Participants will look at blogging, video, social media and much more!   All workshop participants will get the opportunity for their reviews to feature on the Get the Chance website.

If you have one please bring a laptop, tablet and/or smartphone.

The workshop is limited to 10 places. All participants will be expected to write a review of the performance. The workshop will take place in the English Language.

Suitable for ages 14+

The workshop is on Saturday, October 6th 12-2pm at The Coliseum Theatre , Aberdare.

https://rct-theatres.co.uk/event/exodus

Schedule

12-2- Workshop

2pm- 3.30pm-Performance

To book a place please email getthechance1@gmail.com

Diddordeb mewn theatr, dawns, celf weledol, cyngherddau, barddoniaeth, ffilm a rhagor?

Eisiau cymryd rhan mewn gweithdy yn rhad ac am ddim er mwyn dysgu beth yw rôl beirniad?

Dyma’r cyfle perffaith felly!

Bydd modd i bawb:

-Gymryd rhan yn y gweithdy yn rhad ac am ddim a gweld ymarfer ‘Exodus’, cynhyrchiad newydd Motherlode

-Cael tocyn i’r wasg i wylio ac adolygu Exodus ar 6 Hydref am 2pm yn Theatr y Colisëwm, Aberdâr

-Derbyn cefnogaeth Get The Chance er mwyn parhau i adolygu ystod o achlysuron a pherfformiadau.

Motherlode yn cyflwyno

Cyd-gynhyrchiad gyda Theatrau RhCT

Exodus

Gan Rachael Boulton

De Cymru. Noson y ffatri olaf yn cau.

Mae pedwar cymydog yn adeiladu awyren mewn rhandir ac yn mynd i lawr y stryd fawr, heibio’r cigydd, heibio’r tŷ cyri, ac uwchben y capel i chwilio am fywyd heb wleidyddiaeth a heb bwysau’r byd.

Yn ogystal â bod yn ddoniol tu hwnt, mae calon fawr i’r ddrama yma. Gyda cherddoriaeth wreiddiol fyw, dyma antur newydd o’r cymoedd sy’n wledd i’r llygaid. Byddwch chi’n credu bod unrhyw beth yn bosibl.

“Comic and celebratory, melodic and mournful, it’s an elegy for a place that’s not dead yet!” – Adolygiad y New York Times Review o Motherlode.

Mewn cydweithrediad gyda Creu Cymru. Gyda chefnogaeth Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, Bristol Old Vic a Chapter.

Beth yw’r gweithdy?

Byddwch chi’n cymryd rhan mewn gweithdy awr o hyd gyda Guy O’Donnell, Cyfarwyddwr y fenter gymdeithasol a’r cylchgrawn ar-lein Get the Chance http://getthechance.wales

Yn ystod y gweithdy, byddwch chi’n dysgu beth yw rôl beirniad y celfyddydau. Byddwch chi’n dysgu sut i ysgrifennu adolygiad a’i roi ar-lein. Bydd y rheiny sy’n cymryd rhan yn edrych ar flogio, fideos, y cyfryngau cymdeithasol a llawer mwy! Bydd pawb yn cael y cyfle i weld eu hadolygiadau ar wefan Get The Chance.

Dewch â’ch gliniadur, llechen neu ffôn glyfar os oes un gyda chi. Dim ond lle i 10 person sydd ar y gweithdy. Bydd disgwyl i bawb sy’n cymryd rhan ysgrifennu adolygiad o’r perfformiad.Bydd y gweithdy yn digwydd yr iaith Saesneg.

Yn addas i bobl dros 14 oed

Mae’r gweithdy yn cael ei gynnal ddydd Sadwrn, 6 Hydref rhwng 12pm a 2pm yn Theatr y Colisëwm, Aberdâr.

https://rct-theatres.co.uk/event/exodus

Amserlen

12pm-2pm – Gweithdy

2pm- 3.30pm – Perfformiad

Er mwyn cadw lle, ebostiwch: getthechance1@gmail.com

News : The Importance of Being Described… Earnestly? Access all Areas

This hilarious new play – specially created for visually impaired and sighted audiences alike – firmly places audio description centre stage. Tickets now on sale.

Theatre practitioner and emerging director, Chloë Clarke with Elbow Room Theatre Company, in collaboration with Galeri Caernarfon, launch their premiere show at three venues across Wales.

The play is inspired by Clarke’s determination to overcome barriers faced by disabled people based on her own theatre-going experience and prove that inclusive work can be daring and funny.

“Access in theatre is often an afterthought, which means that few shows are accessible and rarely creatively interesting. It’s time to see access as a creative opportunity”.

Audio description is woven in to the fabric of this pioneering play and delivered by every character (and the audience), giving visually impaired people a choice of interpretation and using description to heighten the play for everyone equally.

The Importance of Being Described… Earnestly? is a romping hour of fun as the audience join the company’s earnest attempt to stage an Oscar Wilde classic with a twist. Co-Directed by Robbie Bowman of Living Pictures (Diary of a Madman and Sexual Perversity in Chicago).

“A real treat of a show certain to leave ecstatic eyes, exuberant ears and thrilled middle bodies!”

An integrated cast of visually impaired and sighted actors includes Chloë Clarke, Dean Rehman, Lizzie Rogan & Jake Sawyers.

You can read and listen to our interview with the companies directors here

The Importance of Being Described…Earnestly? Autumn/Winter 2018 Age Guide: 16+

Tour Dates: 20.09.2018, 19:30 Torch Theatre, Milford Haven 26.09.2018, 19:45 Riverfront, Newport (BSL Interpreted) 01.11.2018, 19:00 Galeri, Caernarfon 02.11.2018, 14:00 Galeri, Caernarfon 03.11.2018, 19:00 Galeri, Caernarfon (BSL Interpreted) 04.11.2018, 14:00 Galeri, Caernarfon

A touch tour is delivered as a standard part of the pre-show for all audience members. For more information visit www.elbowroomtheatre.com

An interview with Sarah Rogers, Artistic Director of Ransack Dance

The Director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell recently met with Sarah Rogers, Artistic Director of Ransack Dance, they discussed her background, thoughts on the arts in Wales and her new production ‘Murmur’, taking place on Fri 14th Sept at Memo Arts Centre, Barry.

Hi Sarah great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

Hi I am a South Wales based dance artist, currently running my own dance company based in Pontypridd called Ransack Dance Company which I set up in 2013. Our work always involves live dance, music and film, and I choreograph and direct the work as the Artistic Director of the company, working collaboratively with the artists in each discipline. We are also Affiliate Company to Artis Community, working to support and develop their dance pathways provision in RCT and Merthyr. Alongside my work with Ransack and Artis, I also work as a freelance choreographer and dance teacher and am currently a Dance Ambassador for National Dance Company Wales.

 So what got you interested in performance and the arts?

 I’d love to tell you about an amazing theatre show that inspired me years ago but I must admit I don’t think this is the case as I didn’t really go to the theatre much as a child, but my pathway was definitely through a love to move and dance…… I trained as a gymnast from an early age, and I think my way into the arts is that I became more and more fascinated by the choreography of the floor routines opposed to the acrobatic elements, so I started choreographing my own and the other gymnasts routines at the club. My parents then cottoned onto the fact I may like to dance and I was very lucky as they were really supportive and so they started to take me to the theatre. I think the musical Cats stands out as one of the first shows that I saw and that inspired me as a child (weird as I’m really not into musicals now!). When I got older I joined a local street dance and break dance group which was led by Tamsin Fitzgerald (now Director of 2Faced Dance) so I was very lucky to have her as a teacher.

Tamsin Fitzgerald, Director of 2Faced Dance.

She pointed me in the right direction of what contemporary companies to go and see, so I started to watch more contemporary dance theatre work and loved it! And she also suggested I go to my local dance school to take more formal lessons in styles such as ballet, and from there I went onto study at Laban, and have never looked back!

Your company Ransack is presenting a new production called Murmur at Barry Memo on Friday 14 September 2018 at 7:30pm. The production is advertised as “Telling two unique short stories in a surge of risk taking athletic contemporary dance, crashing live music and breath taking film images.” It sounds very exciting! Can you tell us more?

 ‘Murmur’ is a double bill involving our work ‘Momenta’ and ‘Broken Arrows.’ We have been building the work through various R&D phases over the past three years, one of which included sharing an earlier version of Momenta at the Memo last November. We are excited now to go back to the Memo and share the finished work and perform ‘Broken Arrows’ which we have never performed at the venue before.

Each work has live dance, music and film. The performers take the audience through a series of scenarios, dancing under feathers falling from the sky, jumping over drum kits, dancing at live gigs and fighting their way through storms! The first piece ‘Momenta’ is based on a television interview (from the 1973 Dick Cavett Show) with Marlon Brando in which he describes ‘We act every day to save our lives,’ so we explore this notion of acting as a survival mechanism and question in the piece-when are we truly authentic?

The second work ‘Broken Arrows’ is essentially a love story, and we reveal the memories of the protagonist character ‘The girl in red’, with some audiences seeing the work as presenting the theme of a love triangle and other seeing a more sinister side to the story.

There’s another element to the production as we’re creating an immersive feel with our second work with performances from Motion Control Dance and University of South Wales intertwined to bring the work to life and immerse the audience in the action! We are also collaborating with a live band-‘Best Supporting Actors’ who will play live with the Ransack musicians in one of the works and also play in the interval and offer a free gig following the performance.

 As you mention the production will be followed by a live gig from the band ‘Best Supporting Actors,’ Its unusual two mix these two artforms together why have you chosen to programme them together?

 It’s funny you say that as I think live music and dance is the most natural combination in the world!…Our work always involves live music, so by collaborating with the band we are trying to take this element to the next level. I think the initial idea came about as one of our scenes in ‘Broken Arrows’ is set at a music gig….so I wanted to actually have a full live band playing to bring this scene into reality, so the performers and the audience could actually be at a gig rather than recreating this somehow with just two musicians. There’s also another idea behind the collaboration however, as I’m really keen to create a full ‘night out’ experience for the audience, so that they can stay after the dance elements of the production, listen to some live music and have a drink so that we can challenge what the idea of going to see a dance show is. The performers will also be at the gig with the audience (turning into audience themselves!) and so I’m also hoping that this merges the idea of performers vs audience as two separate groups and allows the audience to get to know the performers and talk to them in a really relaxed environment (rather than a formal post show discussion for example).

Contemporary Dance can be thought of as an elitist art form, as a young Wales based dancer what work do you think needs to be done to support new audiences?

 I think the majority of new audience come from outreach work, and working with young people to introduce them to dance…..This is a tough one as ultimately I think a lot of this issue comes down to what finding is available to allow dance companies to offer their outreach work for free or a reasonable and accessible price. Through my work with Artis Community in RCT, I see the challenge first hand of taking dance provision out of cities such as Cardiff.

Participation numbers are lower (at the moment!) travel sometimes becomes an issue as areas are more spread out, and there are more areas of deprivation in which organisations simply can not charge a lot (or anything) for dance classes if we want all young people to be able to access them.

I think there’s another side to this too however, which is really thinking about what new audiences to dance need. A lot of them want to be able to ‘understand’ the work, which we all know that the response from someone in the dance world (including myself!) would be ‘but there is nothing to understand ….and you can take what you want from it’. But I’m finding out more and more that even though we can preach this it won’t change how some audiences think. So I think it’s finding a way to share the process of work more and share what work is about before the audience sees it. This is already happening through lots of companies opening up their rehearsals and using social media more to share the process behind making the works, so I think just developing this and growing this idea in different ways would be great. I also think including other art forms helps, and this is part of the reason that with Ransack we include film and music as some audiences may relate to these art forms more than the dance at first and be able to use this as ‘a way in’ to the dance elements.

Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision. Access for diverse citizens is a key priority for a range of arts funders and organisations  Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists/creatives? 

I think the main barrier is economic. There are very few schools that offer a dance G.C.S.E or A Level for example with young people then having to pay for extra-curricular provision in dance at dance schools which often charge a lot for their classes, and some families simply can not afford this. There’s then also issues over funding for organisations and companies to be able to offer their dance provision for an accessible price so that people from all backgrounds can access their provision.

 There are a range of organisations supporting Welsh and Wales based artists and creatives, I wonder if you feel the current support network and career opportunities feel ‘healthy’ to you?

 Part of the reason I moved back to Wales is that I do feel like there is a really supportive arts network here, particularly in dance. It’s great that there are now professional dance classes available through Groundwork Pro too.

I would say that I think there could be more support for emerging choreographers however and emerging companies. One of my reactions to this was to set up the Arrive Dance Platform for emerging choreographers with Ransack and share our theatre space when we have R&D with other artists so they can platform their work and get feedback. I think however that perhaps some of the bigger companies and organisations could support this area a bit more, particularly with the loss of Wales Dance Platform a few years ago.

 

 If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?

That’s such a hard question to answer! I think that all areas of the arts from community practice, to youth provision to professional production work and in all art forms support and feed into one another so I couldn’t pick just one! I think where the arts can thrive is when each area supports each other and all artists and organisations collaborate and work together.

 What excites you about the arts in Wales? 

I think there’s a really exciting feel in Wales that art forms merge from one to another. There’s lots of multi-media/multi-art form work happening. In my dance world I’ve seen this more and more through actors working with dancers and vice versa and this is one of the reasons my work is merging more and more into physical theatre, involving speech in our work (after having collaborated with Theatre Director Angharad Lee). Although I love the arts scene in Cardiff, it’s also exciting to see more and more artists coming out of the capital city and setting up their own networks and connections, and to see how these areas are evolving culturally because of this. This is one of the reasons that this year I have decided to base Ransack in Pontypridd, and with the new theatre and training spaces opening here at the YMCA next year, there have been lots of artists interested in working in this area, and there’s been lots of interesting and creative planning meetings and conversations happening that I’ve been involved in, so it’s exciting that we can start a new network and way of working together in the area.

What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?

 There’s a couple I think that stand out in my mind from recently….I’ve seen a couple of great shows lately, one was out of Wales in London at Sadlers Wells-Hofesh Shechter’s ‘Grande Finale,’ which I would recommend.

Again the mixture of live dance and music in this show really inspires me.

In Wales, most recently I have seen National Theatre Wales’ ‘English,’ which I loved as it really closed the gap between the audience and the performer and the way that the show instigated a conversation between the two was really clever and something I’d like to take into my own work. Oh and it was a little while ago but their production ‘We’re Still Here’ also really inspired me, particularly the way the community stories and people from the community were integrated into the performance.

NTW We’re Still Here

Thanks for your time Sarah.

News: Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis is performed in British Sign Language and spoken English for the very first time

Deafinitely Theatre and New Diorama Theatre present
4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane
Award-winning Deafinitely Theatre bring its celebrated bilingual approach to Sarah Kane’s lyrical and haunting final play about mental health. 4.48 Psychosis is performed in British Sign Language and spoken English for the very first time.

Tickets:https://www.newdiorama.com/whats-on/448-psychosis

News: New haunted house theatrical experience at Insole Court this Halloween.

Creator of the sell-out Blood on the Snow and A Curious Zoo makes new haunted house experience at Insole Court this Halloween.

Following the sell-out performances of Blood on the Snow at Four Elms (2014) and A Curious Zoo (2012), award winner Caroline Sabin reveals her next new site-specific performance which will be a sophisticated haunted house experience for adults this Halloween in Insole Court, Cardiff from 24-31 October 2018.

Sabin’s site-specific production Mysterious Maud’s Chambers of Fantastical Truth will explore and expose the inconsistencies of perception and encourage audiences to question the ‘reality’ we generally take for granted.

The show will be presented in the recently renovated Gothic mansion of the Insole family, Insole Court in Llandaff, Cardiff, an ideally spooky setting. Audiences will wander freely through the eerie corridors, tower and attics to meet the uncanny inhabitants including the mad scientist Mysterious Maud.

 Through Maud’s diabolical experiments in perception she has uncovered a fantastical truth – that reality is not as fixed as we might like to believe. Join her and her cohort of strange and twisted characters to experience the evidence for yourself amongst the dusty halls and shadowed staterooms. Here you will meet Frankenstein’s Butler, Juliet’s Ghost, Igor, the Werewolf, Maud’s Fortune Telling Aunt – and the Psychiatrist trying to unravel fact from fiction in a world where reality slides through your fingers. He starts to wonder if Maud is mad after all….

Creator Caroline Sabin said; “I have always been fascinated with the nuts and bots of perception – something it is easiest to take for granted. Exploring these ideas can be quite unnerving so a haunted house seemed like the ideal setting, and Insole Court is a dream location with it’s looming faux Gothic presence. The show will be full of action, surprises, beauty and humour – you’ll laugh and then jump out of your skin! The costumes and styling will be Victorian Gothic/Steampunk.  I’m having a great deal of fun with the design of this show.

With an extraordinary cast of multi-talented performers and live music created by composer Rowan Talbot, audiences will spend 90 minutes in a multitude of delights from spine-tingling to funny, being intrigued and confused about their own perception of reality and illusion.

Performing alongside Caroline Sabin are a feast of locally and internationally acclaimed performers and musicians, including Gerald Tyler, Kim Noble, Hugh Stanier, Lara Ward, composer Rowan Talbot and broadcaster and writer Jon Gower.

Mysterious Maud’s Chambers of Fantastical Truth will be performed at Insole Court, Llandaff, Cardiff from 24-31 October, performances at6pm and 8.30pm. BSL performances during the run. Tickets are £14 and £8 and are available from Chapter Arts Centre www.chapter.org / 029 2030 4400 in advance of the performance. Limited seat available. Suitable for ages 12+. Follow the creation process via Facebook and Twitter @mysteriousmaud

An interview with Joe Wiltshire Smith

The director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell recently met with playwright and actor Joe Wiltshire Smith.They discussed his background, creative opportunities for young people in Bridgend, his new play Five Green Bottles and his thoughts on the arts in Wales.

Hi Joe great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

Hello! Good to meet you too! I was born in Bridgend. Primarily I’m a playwright and actor; having graduated from Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2017 and I’m currently studying Creative Writing and English at Cambridge. Most recently, I’ve been performing in “Ghost About the House” at the King’s Head Theatre in London.

 So what got you interested in the arts?

A multitude of reasons. My family, my friends, Roger Burnell, dressing up as a ladybird in St Fagan’s? It could be anything. But I’m mostly in love with the freedom that the arts provide. It’s limitless, there’s something equally terrifying and hugely exciting about that… and realistically I couldn’t and still can’t do anything else

Roger Burnell, Head of Bridgend Youth Theatre and It’s My Shout with Michael Sheen

Your career to date has been supported by local authority funding to the arts, including Bridgend Youth Theatre and It’s My Shout. Was this support important in your development as a young creative artist?

Both It’s My Shout and BYT, both headed by Roger Burnell, are simply the best at nurturing young creatives from across Wales and beyond. I owe a lot to both projects, I would urge anyone to get involved, the opportunities in film and theatre are endless.

You have co written a new play with Kirsty Philipps  called Five Green Bottles. The play was performed by  Spilt Milk Theatre on Saturday, June 9, 2018 7:00 PM  8:10 PM at  Little Man Coffee Co. Can you tell us more about this production ?

Headed by the inspired and talented Becca Lidstone, the development of this play has been a joy. Even from the initial meetings, I knew it was in far safer hands than mine. Combine this with a cast of Angharad Berrow, Olivia Martin, Tobias Weatherburn and Aly Cruikshank, it’s been a dream. The support I’ve had from Spilt Milk Theatre has been truly wonderful and I’ll be forever grateful. 


The cast of Five Green Bottles

Image credit TS Photography

The production is described as “A surreal, satirical, carnal-romp of a comedy exploring the sexual awakening of the beat generation in the 1960s.” What drew you to this time period and theatre style?

The early 1960’s has always fascinated me. Especially how the enormous social and political change impacted the Beat Generation in working class areas of the UK. The glamour of American Culture and the sexual revolution really alienated a youth from their conservative elders; creating a lack of direction, a sense of helplessness, cabin fever and disconnection. I believe that influences some of the events of this play, but certainly not all.

The cast of Five Green Bottles

Image credit TS Photography

Five Green Bottles is part of this years Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival which was established  to make theatre affordable for audiences and artists. Have you been involved in the festival before?

I haven’t been involved before, but the welcome that I’ve had into the Fringe community has been amazing. It’s very exciting to be amongst some of these other innovative and brilliant shows.

Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision. Cardiff Fringe are working to “make theatre affordable for audiences and artists. ” Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists or specifically writers? 

I’m speaking from a place of a privilege because I’m a Welsh writer that’s white. There are barriers, but I’ve never come against any and it’s my responsibility to be aware of this fact. There can always be more opportunities for BAME Welsh writers, there has to be. However the essential work and opportunities of both Get the Chance and Cardiff Fringe is definitely doing more to change this.

You are an actor as well as a playwright. I wonder if your knowledge of both disciplines cross-pollinates when you are working in both different disciplines?

Yes, they both feed into each other at points. However I make sure to sort my brain and perspectives into compartments, so not to confuse the two. For example, is that particular line really serving the character and driving the narrative forward? Or is the line there because the actor in me would love to say that line? There’s pros and cons. Hopefully with further experience it should get easier. Hopefully…

There are a range of organisations supporting Welsh and Wales based writers, I wonder if you feel the current support network and career opportunities feel ‘healthy’ to you?

The opportunities have always been there for me. Whether it’s SEEN at the Other Room or Spilt Milk’s Scratch nights, I’ve always had an opportunity to share my voice. However I’m just one person and it wouldn’t do any harm to see some more new writing opportunities for everyone.

If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?

Anything that nurtures young, Welsh, BAME writers. It would be great to see even more of this work in Cardiff and beyond.

What excites you about the arts in Wales? What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers? 

The fact that its unapologetically WELSH… and here to stay. It’s pride, humour, community, class and passion, I could go on forever.

Thanks for your time Joe.

Free Workshop: How to Win Friends and Influence Critics

Free unticketed development event

Venue: The Other Room

Host: Guy O’Donnell

Should you care about a five star review? Which online platform connects most with audiences? Is everyone a critic these days?

All these questions and more will be discussed and answered in this fun quiz-based workshop geared towards new critics, companies, arts marketing staff and interested audience members.

Speakers at this event include:

Alice Baynham

Alice Baynham is a Cardiff-based PR and marketing specialist working mainly in the arts and has previously worked at organisations including the Sherman Theatre, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Welsh Government and Cirque Bijou.

For the last seven years, Alice has been freelance and has worked with a variety of companies on their marketing and PR activity, including Theatr Iolo, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Chapter, WOW Film Festival, Trac Cymru, The Torch Theatre and The Spring Arts Centre in Havant. Alice is also press officer at Cardiff’s pub theatre, The Other Room, where she has delivered all press activity since the theatre’s launch and first season.

Matthew Bulgo

Matthew trained at LAMDA and is an actor, playwright and dramaturg. He is also an Associate Director of Dirty Protest.

As an actor credits include: The Cherry Orchard (Sherman Theatre); All My Sons (Theatr Clwyd); I’m With The Band (Traverse); Praxis Makes Perfect, The Insatiable, Inflatable Candylion (National Theatre Wales); Kenny Morgan (Arcola); Under Milk Wood (Royal and Derngate); Play, Silence (The Other Room); The Prince Hamlet (Toronto Dance Theatre); Breakfast Hearts, Choirplay (Theatre 503); The Play About The Baby (Battersea Arts Centre).

As a playwright credits include: Last Christmas (originally produced by Dirty Protest/Theatr Clwyd before being remounted at the Edinburgh Fringe, Soho Theatre and the Traverse); Constellation Street (The Other Room); #YOLO (National Theatre, NT Connections); The Knowledge (Royal Court, ‘Surprise Theatre’ season); My Father’s Hands (Paines Plough, Come To Where I’m From); Lacuna (New Wimbledon Studio).

He also writes plays for young people including THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE (performed by WGYTC at the Richard Burton Theatre, RWCMD), Homo Economics (Bridgend College) and The Hydra (Young Actors Studio, RWCMD).

He is currently under commission to write new plays for Theatr Clwyd, Theatr na nÓg and Papertrail along with a number of other projects in development.

Ben Cook

Ben Cook is the South Wales Partnerships Manager for Spice Time Credits. Time Credits are a community currency where each note (worth one hour) is earned from an hour’s volunteering – these credits can then be spent accessing over 600 venues across the UK. Ben is responsible for over 230 partner venues from Pembrokeshire to Monmouthshire, many of whom are arts, theatre, music and cultural venues.

 

Nick Davies

Nick Davies is a Wales-based theatre reviewer for The Stage. Nick is also a freelance writer of screenplays, novels and magazine articles. He lives in Cardiff and previously spent 17 years working for the Arts Council of Wales covering the performing arts.

Emily Garside

Emily Garside is an academic, playwright, dramaturg and theatre critic (not always in that order). After starting as a historian then training as a performer in Montreal and at RADA she became an academic. Her PhD looked at the role of theatre as a response to the AIDS epidemic, with particular focus on Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Her first book, reflecting on the history and significance of the play will be published by McFarland in 2019. As a playwright she is currently working on a commission around the subject of HIV today, and in 2019 her play ‘Don’t Send Flowers’ will be produced by Clocktower Theatre Company. Emily writes about theatre for many publications, including American Theatre, Howlround, Wales Arts Review, BBC Cymru, Get the Chance and Miro. She has also written essays for theatre programmes and runs several blogs. Emily is also Social Media and Website Manager for The Society of Theatre Research New Researchers Network.

Jafar Iqbal

Jafar currently works on both sides of the fence. As an Associate Editor for Wales Arts Review and contributor to The Stage and WhatsOnStage, he has travelled around the country talking about theatre. As a Marketing Campaigns Manager for the New Theatre, he is responsible for putting bums on seats and developing relationships with critics. He’s also a writer, a performer and a cake (though many have argued he may be a biscuit).

Sarah Jane Leigh

Sarah Jane Leigh is the Senior Producer of Producing and Programming at the Wales Millennium Centre. In her role she looks after the teams who programme the Performances of the Curious Seasons and the Public Spaces along with the in-house productions the Centre is now producing including Highway One, Double Vision and Lovecraft (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff) which are currently being performed as part of Festival of Voice 2018. Before working at the Centre, Sarah was an independent Producer working with companies in South Wales such as Motherlode, August 012, Dirty Protest, James Jones Collective and Jem Treays. Sarah studied at Goldsmith’s University in London and gradated with a BA in Drama and Theatre Arts and a MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy.

 

Mair Jones

Mair Jones is Marketing and Communications Manager at Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the national Welsh language theatre company.
Prior to joining Theatr Gen, she worked as Communications Officer at Chapter, where she was responsible for Welsh language policy, print and PR.
She started her career in arts education (secondary and further ed) before moving to communications. Whilst her background is in the visual arts, she has experience of marketing all art forms. Originally from Newtown, mid Wales, she now lives in Cardiff.

Megan Merrett

Megan has been Projects Administrator at Creu Cymru since 2015 where her main role is managing hynt, the national access scheme for theatres and arts centre in Wales. Hynt is an Arts Council of Wales initiative managed by Creu Cymru in partnership with Diverse Cymru. Megan has also undertaken several freelance roles including her current work on Theatr Pena’s R&D for Blood Wedding as Access and Engagement Officer following 3 years as their resident Marketing Officer. Previous to this Megan worked at National Dance Company Wales for a decade as Participation Officer. Whilst at NDCWales Megan completed a post graduate diploma in Arts Management from Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Megan is also a school governor and Chair of a community focused charity and a community hall in Barry.

Stella Patrick

Stella has worked in Arts Marketing in Wales for just under 20 years. As well as venue based marketing, she has worked on national and international touring projects; EDFringe events and site-specific work.

Employers/clients include: Taliesin Arts Centre, Blackwood Miners’ Institute, Cascade Dance Theatre, Theatr Pena, Pontardawe Arts Centre and Dirty Protest.

During the workshop you will be given an insight into the role of the arts critic. You will be given instructions on how to create a review and upload your response online. Participants will look at blogging, video, social media and much more!

We will also hear from freelance arts marketing staff and producers about how companies can best present themselves to venues to develop relationships and maximise their impact.

All workshop participants will get the opportunity for their reviews and feedback to feature on the Get the Chance website.

Access information: This venue is wheelchair accessible, via the back entrance.

Thursday, June 14, 2018
1:30 PM 3:30 PM
The Other Room
Harlech Court Cardiff, CF10 2FE