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.

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

An interview with Aisha Kigwalilo

The director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell recently met with Aisha Kigwalilo. They discussed her background, a new arts project called G.I.R.L. Xhibtion and her thoughts on the arts in Wales.

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

Hi, I’m 19 years old and I live in Cardiff, yet I am of African descent. Currently I’m an undergraduate student finishing 1st year study of International Relations and Politics however I have not always been in this field. Throughout high school, college and now I’m involved in music as a vocalist and songwriter.

So what got you interested in creative expression, the arts and social activism?

Creative expression has been something I have always embodied, in my music, dance and musical theatre phase. However, my interests in social activism and supporting human rights and social justice has always been brewing; it was being placed in an environment such as politics that reminded me how important those issues truly are. Considering the fact, leader fellowship programme, TuWezeshe Akina Dada gave me this opportunity I believe that, even though I’m not an artist myself, art is the best language to translate feelings that leave words speechless.

Thanks Aisha,  can you tell us more about TuWezeshe Akina Dada and  G.I.R.L. Xhibition?

TuWezeshe Akina Dada is a leadership programme built to encourage, mentor, and inspire young women to live to their full potential. Operating since July 2016, TuWezeshe selects young women from England, Wales and Scotland, training us how organise our own projects of activism in both the British and African diaspora.

The projects we decide to create surround the lessons taught in our training, gender-based violence, identity, and empowerment. G.I.R.L. Xhibition lies in empowerment, because it focuses on how society only gives platforms to certain narratives. With the limitations communities face when it comes to representation, numerous narratives can shape an individual yet many of those narratives hardly explored. G.I.R.L. Xhibition aims to present the narratives of the ordinary, through the expression of art. Making the unconventional, the new conventional.

Therefore, with donations from Comic Relief TuWezeshe’s founder FORWARD UK has partnered with Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel Wales thus each fellowship is granted £500 for their project. However, for personal reasons and I believe many could relate to I have registered G.I.R.L. Xhibition to be a fundraiser for Velindre Cancer Centre. It is something that hits home for me and I know it is a narrative many individuals can relate to, thus all profits e.g. ticket sales, drinks will be donated there!

 

One of the Get the Chance team, Amina Elmi is involved in the exhibition in Cardiff, how did local females get involved in the project and how did you select the work to be exhibited?

Well I selected Amina Elmi to model for G.I.R.L.’s promotion campaign. In the actual exhibition, nine artists from across the UK (Cardiff, Newport, Bath, Bristol, Swindon and Portsmouth). I wanted to select ordinary girls like Amina because I wanted to help expand the platform of the representation of black women, to ordinary girls and those of African and Caribbean descent. Amina’s poster is one of four other posters, each one designed differently and highlighting their character/personality. They aim of my campaign was to highlight the cultural and personal dimensions. I selected each girl based on their individuality and the differences that them similar to me, others, and perhaps yourself!

We asked Amina to give a personal response to her involvement in this new intiative.

How did you come to be involved with this project?

Aisha and I were friends in college. We recently caught up with each other and Aisha told me that she was planning an exhibition. I was really impressed as she was so passionate and excited when explaining the project to me. Later, she then asked me if I wouldn’t mind being in some photos for the promotion of the event.

Can you tell us more about your work featured in this project?

Myself and 3 other amazing young ladies were asked to do a photo shoot. This was for the promotion online and leaflets that Aisha was going to make. In the photo shoot, Aisha made sure we were all comfortable and reminded us that she wanted us to be ourselves. This allowed the photos of us girls to represent a different types of black women.

You have spoken in the past about the lack of representation of Muslim females in the mainstream media. Do you think projects like this go some way to improving the situation?

Definitely. This exhibition is about black women. A group I feel is restricted by stereotypes and ignored by the mainstream media. By showcasing different types of black women this exhibit is defying those assumptions. In my case, Aisha wanted to highlight that the experiences of black hijabi women are also valid.

Thanks Amina.

Aisha, 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 creatives?

I’m aware of the barriers to equality and diversity in Wales to a great extent, presently I’m noticing a growth in Welsh based creatives showing more presence, especially in Cardiff’s art festivals. When I was searching for the artists I made sure to provide Wales based creatives (Newport and Cardiff) the opportunity to showcase in an art exhibition I believe, has not been displayed in Wales. And I hope after this exhibition, more Wales based creatives will be inspired to develop exhibitions like G.I.R.L.

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

Well, I am receiving a great deal of  support from the National Museum of Wales, which is exciting! But except for that the current support network I am receiving at this moment is from individuals, specifically artists in their own right within the Welsh university community and friends; I believe that is more than ‘healthy’. Yet more can be done, because when looking at the works of all nine artists I realised that in exchange for them volunteering their artworks to such a great cause, the least I can do is provide them the exposure and attract creatives and galleries within the Cardiff area.

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

This is a hard question but honestly, I would direct my funds to art departments in Welsh schools and universities. There is scene there that deserves to be noticed, I believe that many artists get discouraged to continue as it is considered an ‘unrealistic’ career choice especially in African and Asian communities. If art students are given more platforms to showcase and interact with other Wales based creatives/artists that will be worth something!

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?

What excites me about the art in Wales is the subtle growth of creative expansion. I appreciate the Celtic and culturally Welsh inspired to the postmodernist statement exhibitions taking place in Wales! I just hope G.I.R.L. Xhibition can contribute to this growth of expansion and open up another avenue the Welsh creative community can explore.

Thanks for your time, Aisha

Thank you for having me!

 

An Interview with Aleksandra (Nikolajev) Jones

The director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell recently met with Aleksandra (Nikolajev) Jones. They discussed her background and training,  a current project Gravida and her thoughts on the arts in Wales.

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

Hi there and thank you for having me! I am a Serbian, Welsh Choreographer, Director and Producer based in Cardiff. I am the mother of Ilija 20, Mina 18 and Mirjana,  6 years old. You can find out more about me and my work here.  

So what got you interested in the arts?

I was classically ballet trained from an early age. When I was 9, I was accepted to the National Ballet and Music School and my love for dance just became my main focus.  For the last 28 years I have been lucky to work with artists from all around the world.  They continue to make my creative journey and who I am now. I am still learning!

The Gravida Project which you are currently Directing and Producing centres on inviting pregnant dancers to explore their inner and outer creativity to produce a full length piece for stage. Can you give us some background information on how this project first developed?

In 2012 I arrived in Wales and I fell pregnant for the third time. OOOPs, this was not part of the plan! I needed to stop again and at the same time I was absolutely delighted by this new person in my life. In every one of my pregnancies, I was feeling different but rather then drained and tired, I was focusing on the creativity and possibilities of my new body and connection with a new baby.

I had a strong vision that I should work with pregnant dancers, and pregnant communities. I started to  investigate more about motherhood, families using the medium of dance, theatre, creative/mindful movement and film.

Tanja Råman and Lara Ward rehearse Gravida. Photo: L M H C

This is how Gravida Project was born, supported by Art Council Wales and surrounded by amazing artists and communities. You can find out more details at www.gravidaproject.org.uk and join us on this creative journey!

Gravida opens ways in which pregnancy can be better incorporated professionally and celebrated universally in the form of dance. What response have had from the dance sector to this innovative project?

To be honest, it is not easy to find professional pregnant dancers, but on the other hand we are having a huge response from artists who are mothers already. At the and of the day we all came from the womb and we have got the memories from the water/womb, hidden and invisible, birth and breath, life and death.

I believe that “invisible and visible worlds” are meeting in this project and giving us the opportunity to open up questions about existence, life, our wellbeing and how all of it impacts on future generations.

The Pregnant female is increasingly visible in popular culture from Annie Leibovitz’s, Vanity Fair cover image of Demi Moore to Beyonce’s use of Instagram to announce pregnancy and subsequent birth. Is similar visible change taking place in the dance sector?

When we started the women in pregnancy project 7 years ago, the pregnant body was not in the media at all, and I feel it is still not in capacities that it should be. Our main aim is to open more platforms for mother artists, pregnant artists, mothers, single mothers, any females to continue to create during and after pregnancy and to see pregnancy and this “new body” – “the body gravida” more as a challenge rather the obstacle.

What are your long term plans for this project?

The long term plan is to open the platform for professionals and communities. To meet and discuss about the diverse aspects of taking care of OUR physical, mental and emotional states. Using creative art to express, exchange and share to support each other, to ultimately  connect and communicate better.

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?

Gravida Project is the project of The Republic of the Imagination, Registered Charity and we are aware that Pregnancy and Maternity are one of the most important parts of Equality and Diversity Act in Wales. Gravida Project creatives and collaborators are from Wales, Serbia, Trinidad and Tobago, Netherlands, Bali – Indonesia, Slovenia, Poland, Finland, Scotland, Canada, France, Swaziland and South Africa.

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

Mother Artists and Family Projects.

What excites you about the arts in Wales?

I am excited by artists here and I am part of the diverse networks. I feel Wales is my home and we are doing a lot at the moment, also we can do even more TOGETHER.

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

I would like to be more specific with this answer but at the same time I would like to share this:

My very last experience that I would like to share with you is the strong feeling of freedom to express, my personal appreciation to be here and witness the Creative Art of Wales with creative people.

Thanks for your time Aleksandra

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/