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 Suzanne Noble

Hi Suzanne great to meet you, you co-founded the online magazine, The Advantages of Age, with the objective of challenging the media narrative around ageing. What led you to develop this new organisation?

It was completely accidental! I have a hot tub in my back garden to which I often invite my friends. On this one occasion, I was sitting in the tub with four other women, aged 42-63. We were talking about sex, relationships, our work, our kids. We all said how good we were feeling, liberated and creative. It struck us that the conversations we were having were not being represented in the media. One of the group said, “We should start something called the advantages of age.”

After they left, I looked up to see if the domain name was free and purchased it. Three months later I’d had the site built and Advantages of Age was born!

Advantages of Age work to challenge the prevalent media narrative that ageing means past-it, inadequate and invisible. How have you approached this work?

We didn’t have any strategic plan – it has all flowed organically. Rose Rouse and I started writing articles for the site, linking to other positive stories around age we discovered and approached many of our friends to write articles for us. In March 2017 we were lucky enough to receive an Arts Council grant which had a massive impact on the organisation. We put on three events – the Fabulous and Flamboyant Bus Tour.

 

 

Created a dinner party that we filmed about death

and held a racey ‘Taboo’ party at a London based member’s club. In May 2017 a Facebook group was created to build up the community aspect. We’re over 3k members and we now have a part-time Facebook moderator, Eileen O’Sullivan who has come on board and whom also has taken on the job of co-editing the website.

You will be supporting the Ffabulous and Fflamboyant bus tour funded by Gwanwyn on the afternoon of Saturday the 19th in Cardiff. What interest have you had from Wales as regards your work to challenge the media narrative on age?

I was introduced to Leslie Herman by a mutual friend and, since then, we’ve been in touch and collaborated wherever possible. We are keen to work with any organisation who supports our aim. It just makes sense to do so as the more organisations, wherever they may, that encourage pro-ageing, the better! I’m delighted to be able to join the bus tour this year and look forward to meeting the others on the bus.

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 feel there’s a lack of support, in general for older performers, groups. The National Theatre’s upcoming Bold Festival, which starts this week is addressing this, which is a start and hopefully will lead to more awareness.

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

Wow. Where to start? The Arts are so massively underfunded it feels wrong to have to choose one area.

What excites you about the arts?

The way it can transform one’s perception of another, how it can challenge beliefs, give us access to areas of society that usually remain hidden. Art has the potential to change the world.

Thanks for your time Suzanne

To get involved in the free Ffabulous and Fflamboyant Bus Tour please see the information below.

Following the success of Advantages of Age’s Flamboyant Bus Tour in London in 2017, Get The Chance are thrilled to be onboard! We will be bringing the – Double F – Ffabulous and Fflamboyant Bus Tour to Cardiff in May 2018 as part of the Gwyl Gwanwyn Festival of Creativity for Older People in Wales. The Bus will be at the front of the National Museum from 1pm this Saturday the 19th and will depart at 1.30pm. The event will end at 3.30pm.

More information can be found at the link

We hope you will join us online and on tour!

Review Albany Gallery Exhibition, Artists: David Barnes, Aled Prichard Jones, Stephen Yardley by Niamh Mannion

Albany Gallery Exhibition: DAVID BARNES, ALED PRICHARD JONES, STEPHEN YARDLEY       – By Niamh Mannion

Artists: David Barnes, Aled Prichard Jones, Stephen Yardley

Dates: 12th April 2018 to 5th May 2018

(Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm / Sunday & Bank Holidays: 11am – 4pm)

Location: 74b Albany Road Cardiff CF24 3RS

Albany Gallery really is a hidden gem of Cardiff. Situated on Albany Road, their latest exhibition featuring the stunning landscapes of Wales transported me from the hustle and bustle of inner city Cardiff to the mountainous landscapes of North Wales and the South Wales coastline.

David Barnes’s landscapes focus on the mountains of Snowdonia, along with the North Wales coast line and Anglesey. Barnes’s landscapes are stylised, placing domestic situations within the rugged beauty of North Wales. Texture is a large component in Barnes’s work, further complementing the rugged nature of the mountainous landscapes. However, Barnes places importance on the domestic landscape also. The soulful and characterful depiction of the home within Barnes’s work contrasts well with the natural surroundings. Indeed, my favourite work of the entire exhibition was ‘Snowdonian Winter’, depicting the comfort of the domestic sphere in contrast to the harshness of the natural world.

Loch Broom / 14x20ins / David Barnes

Similarly to Barnes, Pritchard Jones’s work focuses on the mountainous landscapes of North Wales. The striking landscapes are impressive in scale and a comprised of layered, neutral toned, indistinguishable thick brush strokes. When viewed from a distance the brush strokes inhabit a wild and imposing landscape. Pritchard Jones achieves the delicate balance of presenting a recognisable welsh mountainous landscape, whilst also injecting a feeling of wilderness in the pieces. The depiction of rock and reflection along with the use of shadow gives the work an atmosphere of the untamed.

Cwm Idwal / 60x60cm / Alun Pritchard Jones

In contrast to the work of Barnes and Pritchard Jones, Yardley’s work focuses on the natural landscape of South Wales. Yardley’s landscapes focus on close up depictions of sea and woodland landscapes. These pieces are far less stylised than the other artists, exhibiting delicate brush strokes, dappled with delicate greens and blues. Yardley’s work is underscored by a multitude of both tone and texture, with complements the wild aspect of nature, but also the beauty of the natural world.

Warm Afternoon / 50×50 / Stephen Yardley

To find out more about the exhibition you can visit The Albany Gallery website here:

https://www.albanygallery.com/

 

An interview with Cathryn Haulwen McShane

Hi Cathryn, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your practice?

I’ve been a practicing BSL/English interpreter for over 12 years. I am also a fluent Welsh speaker and have over the years been asked to do occasional BSL/Welsh interpreting assignments. Generally the majority of my assignments are in workplace, health, and legal settings. Last year I did my first full play which was a Welsh language production. I really enjoyed the intellectual challenge it posed and so was interested when the producers of Estron, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru approached me regarding a BSL interpretation.

Estron is a production in the Welsh Language. There is a BSL interpreted performance at Chapter Arts Centre on Wed 16 May at 7:00pm What response have you had from the Deaf community about your BSL provision?

We have only just started advertising, but I am aware that three Deaf people have already secured tickets. I have posted the BSL advert on social media and have had a lot of positive comments, and good luck messages! Generally the feedback I get is that Deaf audiences prefer BSL interpretation to captioning. In this instance captioning would be inaccessible to the majority of Deaf BSL users having had very limited opportunities and exposure to learn Welsh.

Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists?

As mentioned previously, generally Deaf children do not have the same access to Welsh in education and therefore experience barriers to learning Welsh and to accessing the rich cultural offerings of their national heritage.

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

Wow! Big question. Improving accessibility has to be high on the list. Making the arts more inclusive, but also I am passionate about participatory art forms and making these accessible to all.

What excites you about the arts in Wales?

We have so much fresh talent – and such a rich cultural heritage – we need to promote both.

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

As an audience member – Taking Flight’s family show addressing issues of mental health – ‘You’ve Got Dragons’ showcasing two young Deaf actors and their pioneering work in striving for accessibility for all.

As an interpreter – Rhodri Miles’ ‘Sieloc’ – one man show in the medium of Welsh, a play about Shakespeare’s character Shylock and a social history of the Jewish community. Originally in English, the play has been translated into several languages, and it was a privilege to work alongside Rhodri to render his Welsh translation into BSL.

 

 

An interview with Janet Aethwy, Director of Estron, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru

Estron Rehearsals, Janet Aethwy (Cyfarwyddwr / Director). Images: Kirsten McTernan Photography & Design

Hi Janet, great to meet you. Can you give our readers some background information on yourself, please?

Hi Guy – I’m an actress and director. I can be seen sometimes on the Welsh soap opera Pobol y Cwm playing the role of a local detective. I’ve been acting for nearly forty years, but in the past five years I have turned to directing. I am a voice director for Welsh versions of animated series for S4C as well as a director for several one-person history plays for schools.

So what got you interested in Directing and the Arts?

In 2013 I attended a directing course with Elen Bowman of Living Pictures, which provided me with valuable tools and opportunities. I took part in several workshops ranging from Meisner and Frantic Assembly to writing sessions with Mike Bartlett and Sacha Wares. The creative process is integral to any vibrant society and developing the ideas of playwrights and staging their work enables me to contribute in that function.

A new initiative for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is Theatr Gen Creu which will support talent, develop theatre craft and offer unique opportunities to artists in Wales. One strand of this new initiative is support for new directors. Why do you feel this new initiative is important?

As a beneficiary of an innovative directing course myself, I fully endorse any support given to fledgling directors.

Ceri Elen (Han), Janet Aethwy (Cyfarwyddwr / Director). Images: Kirsten McTernan Photography & Design

Estron was previously brought to life in 2017 at the National Eisteddfod. Will this new production differ in any way?

As we have been given the opportunity to take the work around Wales, the production is not intrinsically different but it has evolved, developed and matured.

Playwright Hefin Robinson won the Drama Medal at the 2016 National Eisteddfod for Estron. As someone who has a personal relationship with this work, what do you think caught the judges’ eyes? 

Hefin’s writing is playful, imaginative and original. He confronts a difficult truth with a light, humorous touch. He deals with the subject of death and loss, but only as part of the continuum of life. His message is both positive and uplifting.

The production will have a BSL performance. Can you please tell us more about this, and why you feel it is an important part of your offer for audiences? 

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru are committed to making their productions accessible, and providing a BSL performance is part of that commitment. They want their productions to reach as wide an audience as possible, and they seek to remove barriers that may prevent people from attending. They are working with industry specialists – Cathryn McShane as the BSL interpreter and Jonny Cotsen as their advisor – to ensure that the BSL performance meets the needs of the audience.

Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision. Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales-based artists? 

We welcome the opportunity to extend our work to as broad an audience as possible. The theatre should reflect society in all its diversity.

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

I would like to see more funding for local musical/art/drama events in our communities. Supporting live events promotes small town businesses and engenders a sense of well-being to all those involved.

What excites you about the arts in Wales? 

The Welsh arts scene is an incubator for young talent as well as a stage for established and well-versed world class performers.

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

Recently, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Tudur Owen – a well-established comedian from Anglesey – at The Miners’ Theatre, Ammanford. I now hope that you will enjoy your visit to the same theatre to see Estron – directed by another Angleseyarian.

Many thanks for your time.

Estron is on tour 19 April – 19 May 2018 Y Daith / The Tour: Theatr y Glowyr, Rhydaman / Miners’ Theatre, Ammanford: 19 + 20.4.18 Canolfan Garth Olwg / Garth Olwg Centre: 24.4.18 Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli: 26.4.18 Y Stiwt, Rhosllannerchrugog: 1.5.18 Theatr Bro Alaw, Bodedern: 3.5.18 Theatr Felinfach: 5.5.18 Pontio, Bangor: 8.5.18 Canolfan Morlan, Aberystwyth: 9.5.18 Neuadd Gymunedol Maenclochog Community Hall: 11.5.18 Ffwrnes, Llanelli: 12.5.18 Chapter, Caerdydd / Cardiff: 14-16.5.18 Canolfan y Celfyddydau Taliesin Arts Centre, Abertawe / Swansea: 17.5.18 Galeri, Caernarfon: 19.5.18

 

Cyfweliad gyda cyfarwyddwr Estron Janet Aethwy Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru

Ymarferion Estron, Janet Aethwy (Cyfarwyddwr / Director).  Kirsten McTernan Photography & Design.

Shwmai, Janet, mae’n dda cwrdd â chi. Allwch chi ddweud tipyn wrth ein darllenwyr am eich cefndir, os gwelwch chi’n dda?

Shwmai, Guy – dwi’n actor ac yn gyfarwyddwr sydd i’w gweld o bryd i’w gilydd ar yr opera sebon Pobol y Cwm, yn chwarae rhan ditectif lleol. Dwi wedi bod yn actio ers bron i ddeugain mlynedd, ond yn y bum mlynedd ddiwethaf dwi wedi troi at gyfarwyddo. Dwi’n gyfarwyddwr llais ar gyfresi animeiddiedig ar gyfer S4C ac yn gyfarwyddwr nifer o ddramâu un-person ar thema hanesyddol i’w perfformio mewn ysgolion.

Beth ysgogodd chi i gymryd diddordeb mewn Cyfarwyddo ac yn y Celfyddydau?

Yn 2013 cefais gyfle i fynd ar gwrs cyfarwyddo gydag Elen Bowman o’r cwmni Living Pictures, a rhoddodd hynny nifer o sgiliau a chyfleoedd gwerthfawr i mi. Cymerais ran mewn sawl gweithdy, yn amrywio o Meisner a Frantic Assembly i sesiynau sgrifennu gyda Mike Bartlett a Sacha Wares. Mae’r broses greadigol yn rhan annatod o unrhyw gymdeithas ffyniannus, ac mae datblygu sgiliau dramodwyr a llwyfannu eu gwaith yn fy ngalluogi i gyfrannu i’r swyddogaeth honno.

Un o gynlluniau newydd Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru yw Theatr Gen Creu, a fydd yn cefnogi talent, yn datblygu crefft y theatr, ac yn cynnig cyfleoedd unigryw i artistiaid yng Nghymru. Un elfen o’r fenter newydd hon yw darparu cefnogaeth i gyfarwyddwyr newydd. Pam, yn eich barn chi, mae’r fenter yn un bwysig?

Fel un sydd wedi cael budd fy hun o ddilyn cwrs arloesol ar gyfarwyddo, dwi’n llwyr gefnogi unrhyw gymorth sy’n cael ei roi i egin-gyfarwyddwyr.

Cafodd Estron ei llwyfannu’n wreiddiol yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol 2017. Fydd y cynhyrchiad hwn yn wahanol mewn unrhyw ffordd?

Gan ein bod wedi cael y cyfle hwn i deithio’r gwaith o amgylch Cymru, dydi’r cynhyrchiad yn ei hanfod ddim yn wahanol, ond mae o wedi esblygu, datblygu ac aeddfedu.

Enillodd y dramodydd, Hefin Robinson, y Fedal Ddrama am Estron yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol 2016. Fel rhywun a chanddi gysylltiad personol â’r gwaith hwn, beth yn eich barn chi oedd wedi apelio at y beirniaid?

Mae gwaith Hefin yn chwareus, yn llawn dychymyg, ac yn wreiddiol. Mae’n mynd i’r afael â gwirionedd anodd gyda chyffyrddiad ysgafn, doniol. Er ei fod yn delio â marwolaeth a cholled, mae’n gwneud hynny fel rhan o gontinwwm bywyd. Mae ei neges yn bositif ac yn ddyrchafol.

Ceri Elen (Han), Janet Aethwy (Cyfarwyddwr / Director). Kirsten McTernan Photography & Design

Bydd y cynhyrchiad yn cynnwys perfformiad mewn Iaith Arwyddion (BSL). Allwch chi ddweud rhagor wrthym am hyn, a pham eich bod o’r farn ei bod yn rhan bwysig o’r hyn rydych yn ei gynnig i gynulleidfaoedd? 

Mae Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru wedi ymrwymo i wneud eu cynyrchiadau’n hygyrch, ac mae darparu perfformiad BSL yn rhan o’r ymrwymiad hwnnw. Mae’r cwmni’n awyddus i sicrhau bod eu cynyrchiadau’n cyrraedd cynulleidfa mor eang â phosib, ac yn ceisio chwalu rhwystrau a allai atal pobl rhag mynychu. Maen nhw’n gweithio gydag arbenigwyr yn y maes – Cathryn McShane fel Dehonglydd Iaith Arwyddion Prydain (BSL) a Jonny Cotsen fel ymgynghorydd – i sicrhau bod y perfformiad arbennig hwn yn cwrdd ag anghenion y gynulleidfa.

Mae Get the Chance yn gweithio i gefnogi ystod eang o aelodau’r cyhoedd i’w galluogi i gael mynediad i ddarpariaeth ddiwylliannol. Ydych chi’n ymwybodol o unrhyw rwystrau i gydraddoldeb ac amrywiaeth sy’n bodoli yng nghyd-destun artistiaid Cymreig neu rai sydd wedi’u lleoli yng Nghymru? 

Rydyn ni’n croesawu’r cyfle i ymestyn ein gwaith i gynulleidfa mor eang ag sy’n bosib. Dylai’r theatr adlewyrchu cymdeithas yn ei holl amrywiaeth.

Pe byddech chi’n gallu ariannu un maes celfyddydol yng Nghymru, pa faes fyddai hwnnw a pham?

Hoffwn weld mwy o gefnogaeth ariannol ar gyfer digwyddiadau cerddoriaeth/celf/drama lleol yn ein cymunedau. Mae cefnogi digwyddiadau byw yn hyrwyddo busnesau bychan mewn trefi ac yn ysgogi teimladau llesol ym mhob un sy’n cymryd rhan.

Beth sy’n eich cyffroi chi ynghylch y celfyddydau yng Nghymru? 

Mae maes y celfyddydau yng Nghymru’n feithrinfa ar gyfer talent ifanc yn ogystal ag yn llwyfan ar gyfer perfformwyr profiadol a hyddysg o safon uchel.

Beth oedd yr un digwyddiad arbennig y gwnaethoch chi ei fwynhau’n ddiweddar, y byddech yn hoffi ei rannu gyda’n darllenwyr?

Yn ddiweddar, cefais bleser mawr yn gwylio Tudur Owen – comedïwr adnabyddus o sir Fôn – yn Theatr y Glowyr, Rhydaman. Dwi’n mawr obeithio y byddwch chithau’n mwynhau eich ymweliad i’r un theatr i weld Estron – sy’n cael ei chyfarwyddo gan Fonwysyn arall.

Diolch yn fawr i chi am eich amser.

Ar daith 19 Ebrill – 19 Mai 2018 On tour 19 April – 19 May 2018 Y Daith / The Tour: Theatr y Glowyr, Rhydaman / Miners’ Theatre, Ammanford: 19 + 20.4.18 Canolfan Garth Olwg / Garth Olwg Centre: 24.4.18 Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli: 26.4.18 Y Stiwt, Rhosllannerchrugog: 1.5.18 Theatr Bro Alaw, Bodedern: 3.5.18 Theatr Felinfach: 5.5.18 Pontio, Bangor: 8.5.18 Canolfan Morlan, Aberystwyth: 9.5.18 Neuadd Gymunedol Maenclochog Community Hall: 11.5.18 Ffwrnes, Llanelli: 12.5.18 Chapter, Caerdydd / Cardiff: 14-16.5.18 Canolfan y Celfyddydau Taliesin Arts Centre, Abertawe / Swansea: 17.5.18 Galeri, Caernarfon: 19.5.18

Get The Chance to explore Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival in 2018

 

Image credit Dave Daggers

Like theatre? Like sharing your opinions? Want a free ticket to everything in the Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival this year? Then read on…

Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival is working with Get the Chance to find a team of critics of all ages and backgrounds, with the aim of reviewing every event in this year’s festival.

Back for its third year this summer, the festival begins on 31st May and ends on 16th June. It aims to offer theatre that is affordable for the audience and the performers, and to provide opportunity for budding artists to grow. Get the Chance offers a platform for a diverse range of people to experience and respond to sport, arts, culture and live events. Both organisations share the belief that the arts should be for everyone. It is hoped that this collaboration will give new critics an opportunity to develop themselves and share their voices.

To be a CFTF Critic you will need to have good availability over the festival period so that you can see lots of performances and write a review of each one you see. Your reviews will be published on the Get The Chance website. You can choose what you want to see and review from the wide range of genres in the CFTF programme.

 

Anyone interested in becoming a CFTF Critic should contact Get theChance at this email getthechance1@gmail.com

If you are interested in this opportunity you need to check you are available to attend and review the productions that form the CFTF festival Please state why you are interested in this opportunity in your email

cardifffringetheatrefestival.co.uk

facebook.com/cardifffringetheatrefestival

twitter.com/Cardiff_Fringe

 

Audio Description for Welsh Dance with Owen Pugh

The Director of Get The Chance Guy O’Donnell recently got the chance to meet with actor, facilitator and audio describer Owen Pugh. We discussed his career to date, recent audio description training with Coreo Cymru for The Family  Dance Festival and his thoughts on the arts in Wales. 

You can listen to this interview through the sound file below

Hi can you please tell us a little about yourself and your practice?

Hello! Right, well I am an actor and facilitator based in North Wales, originally from Penarth, via London now living with my family in Mold. I’ve been a performer for quite a few years now and worked on numerous theatre tours, film as well as radio and voice over. As a facilitator I’ve worked with young people on various topics as well as in more corporate environments.

You have recently received audio description training from Dr Louise Fryer, BBC Radio 3 Presenter and Audio Describer, and Anne Hornsby of Mind’s Eye, both pioneers in UK audio description as part of the Family Dance Festival. The training was organised by Carole Blade, Creative Producer for Dance in Wales with Coreo Cymru. Can you give us more information on this training?

Certainly, well I heard about the training after going to Taking Flight’s ‘Breaking out of the Box’ symposium at Theatre Clwyd a couple of months ago and I jumped at the opportunity. The theme of the symposium was Access and how can access across the board be improved by the industry in Wales. Audio Description was brought up in the conversation briefly along with many other access issues. I’ve always had an interest in radio drama and have done a couple of radio plays myself, that I was really intrigued by the idea of potentially using skills I have as an actor and applying them to a role I didn’t know too much about. We started with introductions meeting Louise, Anne and Carole, from whom I heard of the training via her company Coreo Cymru. We then flew into the training, learning about various sight afflictions and what effect the have; to get an understanding of how vast and varied the pool of people are who require AD services. We also discussed the possibility of how you could incorporate AD into a performance, making it more of a fluid form of access, which really appealed to myself. We learnt about scripting the action; this was particularly hard in the medium of dance as it is so visual that you feel you are describing absolutely everything. Through the company’s dress rehearsals you’re looking out for everything; subtle movements or the environment or specific dance moves. It was incredibly challenging, yet highly rewarding.

We then took part in a seminar where we heard from representatives from the Cardiff Institute for the Blind about their experiences; positive and not so positive, in theatres and other cultural venues across Wales. As well as hearing from Megan Merrett from HYNT who represent Welsh cultural venues that push for better access in their buildings as well as getting people who have additional access needs into cultural venues. It was particularly key to hear from the people who actually use this service, I definitely picked up some good tips! On the final day we took a performance each and Audio Described the whole piece. It felt great to be chucked in at the deep end, you really learn to understand the challenges that are faced in a live performance. The whole process was really rewarding, it has definitely encouraged me to explore AD as a career path, I’ll definitely be looking for future opportunities.

Prior to this did you have any knowledge of audio description for theatre/dance?

Very, very basic. As I mentioned before it was briefly mentioned in the symposium I attended earlier in the year. I have also seen it is available to use at numerous cinemas as well as TV channels and streaming services, but hadn’t much prior knowledge of it in regard to live performing art at all.

Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists?

Speaking from experience I have seen first hand at castings the lack of diversity, or perceived lack of diversity and equality. It’s a hard industry to get seen for projects in general: work is of a premium. I feel gatekeepers at organisations have the biggest responsibility to how wide they spread their nets, as well as more encouragement from producers to new writers that demonstrate something that represents the wonderful diversity that is available in Wales so that their voices are heard in the places that matter. And I really hope we are seeing a shift toward that.

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

I would give it to the Arts Council and encourage them to back every company that has strong beliefs in promoting their work in communities all over Wales, not just the popular spots!

What excites you about the arts in Wales?

It is a forever growing menagerie of talent across the board. Such brilliant new writing, acting and directing. Such exceptional theatres and companies producing top quality, award winning work. We are pretty spoiled really!

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

‘Black Men Walking’ was a brilliant piece of theatre from Eclipse Theatre Company that I saw at Theatr Clwyd, a bold and diverse piece that struck you in your soul. A great mix of storytelling, music, rhythmic poetry. Loved it.

There will be Audio Description at The Family Dance Festival at the Wales Millennium Centre on Saturday the 14th April.

Audio Described performances and Touch Tours Sat 14 April @ 12.15 for Welsh show and 15.45 English show.

Welsh language taster workshop led by Cêt Haf, (S4C’s Nansi in Follow M) following the 12:30 shows each day.

 

 

Ioan Gwyn and Innovation in Audio Description for Welsh Dance.

The director of Get the Chance Guy O’Donnell recently met with actor and audio describer Ioan Gwyn. They discussed his background, his recent audio description training supported by Coreo Cymru and his thoughts on the arts in Wales.

You can listen to this interview with Ioan at the link below.

Hi Ioan, a pleasure to meet you can you tell me more about  yourself and your practice?

Hi, I’m originally from Tal-y-bont in Ceredigion and I’ve been an actor for over ten years now, having trained at The Central School of Speech and Drama. I’m a bit of a newcomer to the world of Audio Description and I’m loving it!

You have recently received audio description training from Dr Louise Fryer, BBC Radio 3 Presenter and Audio Describer, and Anne Hornsby of Mind’s Eye, both pioneers in UK audio description as part of the Family Dance Festival.

The training was organised by Carole Blade, Creative Producer for Dance in Wales with Coreo Cymru. Can you give us more information on this training?

It was very whoooosh! Louise and Anne gave us a thorough breakdown of the function and importance of Audio Describing for a blind or visually impaired audience and also explained the process of crafting a script for a live stage production. This was all done over a long weekend so it was a lot to cram in but every piece of information and advice was golden and they were both so open to my myriad of questions and queries, I am forever in their debt. They both admitted that dance is by far the hardest art form to Audio Describe so I’ve hit the ground running!

Prior to this did you have any knowledge of audio description for theatre/dance?

Last year I worked with Taking Flight Theatre Company who do fantastic work with producing plays that provide access to D/deaf and visually impaired audiences. Thus whilst playing both Caliban and Ferdinand, I also had to AD a few bits throughout the show so perhaps that was my maiden voyage into the AD world.

Ioan (left) in the Tempest with performer Sam Bees. Photographic Credit Jorge Lizalde

Later in the year I worked with Chlöe Clarke and Sami Thorpe’s company, Elbow Room Theatre, on their production “The Importance of Being Described Earnestly” which wove the AD into the fabric of the text and was a terrific experience.

I’ve also recorded an audiobook for the RNIBs library.

Congratulations you are Wales first audio describer in the Welsh Language! What interest have you had in this new service to improve access from the Welsh speaking community?

Diolch yn fawr! As there hasn’t been a Welsh speaking audio describer before, it may well be a case of making communities and companies aware of this now, but based on the interest I’ve encountered and the random emails asking if “Are you actually a welsh speaking audio describer?” I can confirm the demand is there! We took the dance festival to Galeri in Caernarfon and I met a visually impaired Welsh speaking lady who regularly visits Galeri for various audio described events. She attended our show and she was very enthusiastic about the prospect of being able to go to Welsh language theatre that was audio described.

Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists?

There will always be barriers in various guises and it’s up to everyone to spot them, acknowledge them, and remove them. Sometimes knocking politely isn’t the answer, sometimes you have to kick the door in.

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

Film. I did my B.A in Film Studies and it’s a long-standing ambition of mine to make a film one day! Wales has a wealth of stories to tell, and not merely from our folklore like Y Mabinogi, but in contemporary Wales. Why are other countries able to regularly fund and produce relevant vital films and Wales aren’t? One day I’d like to go to the cinema to see a macabre comedy set in Llandudno, or a Welsh Language Sci-fi film set in post-apocalyptic Aberystwyth.

What excites you about the arts in Wales?

There’s always something going on in some capacity. Whether it’s a small music festival, a touring theatre show, or a new piece of writing on S4C. I think there’s just about something for almost everybody going on at some time, and personally I just enjoy working with such talented people from Wales and those who have settled here and are making the arts scene richer with their presence.

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

It was a while ago now but I had a great time at Flossy & Boo’s Alternativity, bursting with originality and The Other Room is a great space to see theatre.

As a side-note I’d add that as a self-professed comic book fan, seeing the Welsh flag at the end of Black Panther had me struggling to contain my inner-nerd…

Thanks for your time Ioan

“How well do you know Cathays Park, Cardiff?” A research study

The Civic Centre area of Cardiff known as Cathays Park is the subject of a new piece of research by Mari Lowe and Carrie Westwater. They teamed up with Nerys Lloyd-Pierce of Cardiff Civic Society to take a walk around the space. Nerys wrote her reflections after a slightly chilly but very peaceful walk…

“I recently read Rob Cowen’s Common Ground, a beautiful, reflective book in which the author becomes immersed in the minutiae of the natural environment of the ‘edge lands’ on the outskirts of his home town, Harrogate.

Cowen gets to know this relatively small patch of forgotten land intimately: he knows its moods, feels the vibrations of the past, fears for its future.

Last week’s walk around Cathays Park made me realise how little I really know an area I would consider to be familiar to me.  Take Alexandra Gardens. I have walked through them many times,  have sat on the grass on summer afternoons, but until last week, I hadn’t noticed the Wallenberg memorial stone and tree.  The story behind it was one of humanity and heroism.

Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat, posted to Budapest in 1944, with a mission to help the city’s Jews.

Wallenberg had the authority of the Swedish government – neutral in the Second World War – to issue certificates which protected named Jews from deportation. He had carefully designed the documents to look like Swedish passports. He issued far more than the number he’d agreed with Hungarian officials, and also forged documents to protect individuals at risk.

Thanks to Wallenberg and his associates, more than 100,000 Jews were still in Budapest when the city was liberated by Soviet forces in February 1945. Tragically however, Wallenberg himself disappeared in January 1945. He was arrested by Soviet personnel, possibly on suspicion of spying. One report claims he died in 1947 at the KGB’s Lubyanka prison.

I felt immensely moved by this story, and by the human capacity for compassion and self-sacrifice.  It also set me thinking – how many other corners of my home city have I overlooked, and how many more stories will unfold if I start looking properly…”

Mari and Carrie are interested to find out how people think and feel about the Civic Centre and how they use it on a day-to-day basis. The research is funded by the Cultural Participation Research Network (led by Eval Elliot, Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University Ellie Byrne, Research Associate, Cardiff University) and supported by Cardiff Civic Society and Welsh Centre for International Affairs. To find out more or to share your thoughts on the Civic Centre email: marilouiselowe@gmail.com

Nerys is secretary of Cardiff Civic Society. To find out more or to join the society visit: http://www.cardiffcivicsociety.org/