Category Archives: Literature

Review ‘The Importance of Being Described… Earnestly?’ by Tafsila Khan

 

(4 / 5)

 

This is a brand-new play produced by Chloe Clarke in collaboration with Elbow Room Theatre Company and Galeri Caernarfon.

The play is a layered piece with audio description not just integrated into the play but the main creative narrative. With the actors playing actors of a fictious theatre company which is producing an adaptation of Oscar Wildes famous play ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’.

The play is set in the rehearsal room of the fictious theatre company. As you enter you are welcomed in by the cast and shown to your seats. The structure of the seating area is in a circle around the performance, you have a sense of being quite exposed. As the show progresses the reasoning for this seating arrangement becomes more apparent, as members of the audience are asked to participate in various scenes of the show.

The play begins with the cast introducing themselves to ensure that members of the audience know where they are, Tobias the director begins the show with a monologue about audio description and how it is integrated into the show. Tobias describes how the show will take us on a journey together for the next 60 minutes.

The cause of audio description has been taken up by Tobias as he has started having to wear glasses. Despite the director being well intentioned, what ensues is comedy of errors with the actors disagreeing about the best way to audio describe the scenes.

You get the sense very early on that Tobias who is played amazingly by Dean Rehman, is clueless in how to integrate audio description into the play. Tobias gets very defensive when the two blind actors played by Chloe Clarke and Jake Sawyers who play Jen and Greg in the show give any feedback on his descriptions. Eventually getting annoyed by the constant criticism Tobias launches into a rant about how without him the blind actors wouldn’t even have a chance to be part of the play, the rant takes a dark turn with Tobias swearing and using offensive language to describe the disabled actors. Leaving the actors feeling humiliated and the audience feeling uncomfortable.

As the cast quibble about how and what to describe, time ticks away with the play never being started. When the stage manager announces that there are just five minutes remaining of the show, Tobias decides to abandon the audio description and go straight to the last scene of the play.

The last scene is an intimate scene between Earnest and Gwendolen…or is it?

I really enjoyed the show, I feel it highlighted two main issues with access in the arts. One being that as portrayed in this show most of the time the people who know more about what the audience needs are often ignored and dismissed by hierarchy.  Secondly the fact that the audio description has been left until open rehearsals to integrate into the performance shows as often in theatre access is an afterthought rather than an integral tool in the creativity of the piece. I also enjoyed the different ways popular stereotypes of blind and visually impaired were played on which brought a lot of the comedy to the piece.

The production plays at Galeri Carnarfon from 01/11-4/11/2018

The performance on 03.11.2018, 19:00 is BSL Interpreted

Tickets can be purchase here

Tafsila Khan

Directed by Chloë Clarke
Associate Director Robbie Bowman
Created by Elbow Room Theatre

Cast: Chloë Clarke, Dean Rehman, Lizzie Rogan, Jake Sawyers

Age Guide: 16+

News:The Insole Court Book Club

The Insole Court Book Club is a monthly book club that specifically explores a diverse range of authors, for those who want to discover something new. The book club is a friendly and social club, where we can get together to discuss the book (even if you haven’t finished it, life is too short to read a book that you don’t enjoy!) have a glass of wine or coffee in beautiful surroundings, and meet other readers.

Insole Court will be offering alcoholic beverages for sale, and I will provide a range of hot drinks.

Where?

The Reading Room, Insole Court, Cardiff, CF5 2LN. There is plenty of free parking on site, access for cars and pedestrians is on Fairwater Road. Further details can be found here.

When?

The last Tuesday of every month, 7 – 9pm.
The first book club meeting will be Tuesday 30th October.

Who?

The book club is open to anyone who is interested in getting involved. The book club will be hosted by myself Kelly Barr (Offbeat Book Club).

Anyone can read-along and join in the conversation on my blog, where I will post a summary after event club meeting, so even if you can’t come to the club meetings, you can still get involved.

How?

If you’d like to come along to the first session, please just let me know via reply email.offbeatbookclub@gmail.com

 

Americanah by Chimamanada Ngozi Adichie is available at the Insole Court Visitor Centre shop, widely available in book stores and local libraries and on Amazon here.

If you have any trouble finding the book, please let me know and I will source one for you.

Thanks again for your interest and I look forward to welcoming you to the club!

Kelly Barr

Review Everything I Am, Camden Peoples Theatre by Tanica Psalmist.

Everything I Am is played and written by Natasha Simone, the play features a series of events based on her life as a young black women who’s queer, West Indian, feminist, Kayne-West fanatic and a university student finding her identity, contemplating acceptance of her sexuality from her homophobic family and dealing with black stereotypes from ignorantly racist peers.

The play is a solo act theming controversy, members of both the LGBT society and African Caribbean society; the disputes from how being a member of both societies aspired, confessions, ultra ego of celebrity Kanye guiding her through as the king of speaking his mind, whilst applying for the role of student welfare officer at the same time.

Solo act Natasha Simone, does a tremendous job roleplaying via characterisation techniques and giving the audience an insight into what her peers, family members, friends and associates were like. There are cues of her dealing with peer pressure and insensitivity by her privileged peers. The ambience sets the perfect mood when switching in-between characters and transitioning back to herself.

Intensive discussions from opposing peers on feminism arose, during an African Caribbean society meet-up, who described the movement as a white curse to prevent the sisters from sticking by their brothers; stirring rational comebacks from Natasha Simone, escalating to a heated conversation which could either make or break her.

Everything I am is a raw performance that is relatable, debatable and sincere. Natasha Simone is hysterically funny. Her play is deeply original and moving, based primarily on the exploration of identity, celebrity worship and power.

Tanica Psalmist.

Review Poet In Da Corner, Debris Stevenson, Royal Court Theatre by Tanica Psalmist

POET IN THE CORNER is a production that foretells Debris Stevenson’s internal story from when she was a girl developing in to a woman finding herself and then articulating her voice exclaiming why her and many people within the community, who feel disenfranchised, have connected and affiliated to Grime. We see how Grime was a gateway for her to escape her pain and permitted permission for her to willingly explore herself as a female, artist and individual. It cultivates awareness of a captivating society that’s held within a social culture, easily lost and withdrawn from the torment inflicted in to the young, who may also be struggling to adjust to life so confide in the culture of Grime music.

The surrealism featured in Debris’ play openly expressed learning difficulties, family complexities, Sexuality, mental struggles, exploration of the body, attempting to adjust to religion, family standards, identity crisis, unrealistic devotions, bullying, friendship disputes circulated around pulling each other up and the misunderstood appreciation all manifesting under the same roof. This gave an empowerment testimonial in to what Debris’ life was like growing up feeling detached from home, school and her social life.

The set majestically opened up formulating a moving circular shape; one of the cast members opened up as an open format live DJ, lively and vibrantly creating a gig feel setting in the theatre. Debris brought a taste of her rhythmic, fiery and raw lyrics incorporated in numerous sequences within the play. Immersive techniques were used when artist and lyricst Jammz who was discreetly seated in the audience interacting with Debris on set, smartly causing a scene by increasing tension away from the stage and in to the audience. We then see Jammz eventually being escorted on to the stage, bringing double the heat, radiating from his microphone exhilarating even more speed, energy, passion and insight in to his perspective and elements of his incomparable struggles to hers growing up as a black man in a council estate with limited opportunities with a single mother. Debris Stevenson sparks a rational comeback, which exhibits how her being a Caucasian female doesn’t deflate the fact she also has struggles. Emphasising how both herself and him coming from different worlds, but yet have so many controversial, similar struggles is the emphasis to the value of them respecting each other’s struggle.

Poet in the Corner is fused with breaking fourth wall elements, projections, hot dance moves consisting of basement, krumping and street, exportation of the limitation through commercialised media, power of poetry, physical theatre techniques and a grime concert feel , rave feel and gig all wrapped up in one with a depiction of the sentimental artistic, fabrication of England. This production is enticed with expressions and intimate real life moments, discussions and powerful emotions. It is definitely a production worth seeing, an experience for all!

Tanica Psalmist

Review Lord of The Flies, A Theatr Clwyd and Sherman Theatre production by Karis Clarke

 

(5 / 5)

 

Director:  Emma Jordon

Adapted by Nigel Williams

From the second I jumped out of my seat when the lights went down in the theatre I was hooked! Unfortunately I had entered the theatre with a  pre conceived idea – that I wasn’t going to enjoy this production. … because of the very thing that was creating all the hype, the all female cast. I though the gender / feminist card would be thrust down the audiences throat as hard as that of the casting of a female Dr Who! I was wrong. For the first few minutes I fought hard with myself, looking for flaws – but honestly the play just won me over.

James Perkins design was simple but effective, multi layered and stylized – it didn’t need anything dramatic the play was so well crafted it could have been performed on a empty stage.   Tim Mascoll’s clever use of light, shade and silhouettes, added to the sinister savagery consuming the Island and gave depth to the set.

The all female cast were young, playing young children / teenagers –  not an easy task – it can be very easy to over act and it looks ridiculous,  underact and the importance of the childhood is lost. This cast was spot on  – Each one showing the transition from girl to woman to savage as well as portraying Golding’s symbolism .  Piggy  rationality, Rhalp civilisation, Simon innocence, Jack, savagery, Roger evil. Each one gave a well rounded performance each one being allowed to deliver moments of humour amid the unfolding horror.

Piggy was sublime and was a treat from beginning to tragic end – the likability of Gina Fillingham’s performance only heightened the pathos felt for the unheard, unlikely heroine.  This was a stark contrast to the  hatefully personality beautifully portrayed by Kate Lamb as Jack. The timing and interaction of all the girls was strong, credit to movement director Liz Ranken who utilised the bond of the cast none more so than with –  Lowri and Mari Izzard as sisters Eric and Sam who were faultless. It was the timing and rhythm of the play that enabled the girls to work themselves into the halftime frenzy  – creating highs and lows in pace and emotion allowing the audience to catch up with the events unfolding on the stage.

It was disturbing, as a female to watch the sisterhood destroy itself –  the  book depicts the symbol the boys waiting to be destroyed by the Beast aka man- this takes on a whole different meaning when you think of teenage girls on the brink of womanhood being petrified by the beast of man!

Most of us are familiar with the story of The Lord of The Flies and the demise of  the boys left to their own devices in a world with no order – but to see females descend into the chaos of evil starting at innocent name calling and teasing, ending in death was bitter. I watched the play with my teenage son – who thought “the play was brilliant – but would have been more believable with boys as girls wouldn’t behave that way”

I disagree, as I have been a teenage girl and could fully  buy into the ugliness that transpired. With this I learned two things – casting isn’t important the quality of the acting is and boy, girl, man or woman we are all victims of humanity, with a frailty of sanity on a  knife edge between good and evil.

Once again a 5 Star production in this coproduction from Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre and Mold’s Theatr Clwyd who are back where they belong  – leading the way in North Wales Theatre.

Lord of the Flies can bee seen at Theatr Clwyd until the 13 October. The production then play at Cardiff’s  Sherman Theatre from Wed 17 Oct 2018 – Sat 03 Nov 2018

 

 

Review Joon Dance, Tongues, Chapter Arts Centre by Jeremy Linnell

 

A note on Joon Dance’s Tongues: This performance was shown as work in progress, the result of a period of research and development. It is a collaboration between Joon Dance, spoken word artist Rufus Mufas and young people in the community.

Tongues is coming in on a swell of excellent work for and with young people in Wales. Theatre Iolo’s excellent Platfform initiative is nurturing artists to make engaging, demanding work for and with young people, such as Tin Shed Theatre’s Boxes and 2016 by Paul Jenkins and Tracey Harris. Even National Theatre Wales is getting in on the act with We’re Still Here making great use of a community cast, including several young people, given strong moments within professional production to connect with an audience and have their voices hear. The UK as a whole is really seeing a shift in how we make and present work for young audiences, with growing recognition that they deserve as dynamic and diverse program of work as older audiences, and that by nurturing the next generation of young creatives we can ensure this program of work continues to be made in the future.

Billed as “A public performance on the Friday at 6.30pm to showcase the piece of work developed through the week.” Tongues was the culmination of a week’s work with young people from the community around Chapter, for them to,

“Find your voice this summer with TONGUES. Ever wanted to speak out about what’s important to you? Like dancing or interested in performing? Together we will create a dance and spoken-word performance unique to you and your community.”

Its ambition is to fit neatly in to this growing landscape of diverse, young people led work. I feel this is important. Tongues is big ideas and big promises.

Tongues also opens with a promise to the audience. Well. A promise and a provocation. Upon being seated we are asked what “Canton is”. Our answers are written down and posted on the wall at the back. All the while bodies slowly writhe on stage like pupae waiting for the performance to begin. Before the show starts we are told our voices matter, that we are as much a part of this as the performers.

Tongues is ultimately a promise to give voice to its young people and its audience.

It’s a promise it breaks.

The performance, to be absurdly reductive, consisted of three halves (try working that one out, ha!). Live dance, spoken word and live sound mixing using audio captured from around Canton.

The opening number involved the young people dancing across the stage, with the most infectious, magnetic smiles I’d seen in a long time. Loving performance, loving being there, I was utterly delighted to be spending the next hour in their company. Even more so when they picked up the mic and started expressing their truths about the world.

What a tragedy to see them spend the majority of the performance sat at the back of the stage as the adults performed for them, spoke for them and made music for them.

What a missed opportunity to have three exciting live mediums, built on passion and emotion, to be performed in such a monotone and belaboured manner, and to not have the mediums play together and enhance the expression of each. I so desperately wanted them to react to each other, to find a voice together. I also had a particular note for whoever performed the majority of spoken word – they held the mic too close to their mouth making it difficult to understand, and the lack of variation in delivery made it hard to focus on what was being said. If the words came from young people let them speak!

And how great would it have been if our answers to “Canton is” had been included in the piece instead of involving us at the start only to be ignored for the rest of the performance.

The adults performing the work have worked hard and take great joy in what they do, and are clearly incredibly proud of the potential of the work.

It just needs to decide whether it is work for and by young people, in which case they need to be front and centre, or whether to use young people’s experiences as provocations for professional artists to create work around. A great deal of what I said can be addressed simply by changing how the work is framed to the audience.

I see great potential in this work and would love to see a more developed version, one that embraces its liveness and the unrefined, magnetic joy and passion of the young people on which it has built its foundation. Please do not take their voices away.

Unfortunately, The work is just not there yet. It is however an excellent, and exciting concept, one that is using mediums that resonate with young people in ways that traditional theatre doesn’t, so I am incredibly hopeful that the work will become something important and vital.

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

Review: Ravensong by TJ Klune by Sian Thomas

I don’t know where to begin with this book. I didn’t know where to begin after I read the first in the series, Wolfsong, so here I am all over again, hoping that I’ll be able to think of something that works and say anything that shows a fraction of what I felt while I was reading Ravensong.
I was so excited for it. This was not a secret (I don’t think it could have been, really, even if I tried with all my might)

This book had a stark difference in the way it utilised its point of view. A different story needing a different outlook is much more than understandable, and though I was excited to see how the change would play out ultimately I would realise: I love Ox and I love Wolfsong and though it would be easy for me to pick a favourite, that would never mean that Ravensong was bad – because it wasn’t. I loved it anyway, and I loved it in a different way. The thing about reading Wolfsong was that I also came to realise that I adored all the characters that were there for me to enjoy – so the book being told by a new voice was welcome, and fun, at its core.

The writing style before I remember as crisp and sharp and full of emotion, and it still was, now. It had a way of making me reflect on my own writing style; how mine is elongated and often runs in triplets and have a very obvious tendency to be verbose. It was refreshing to relive, I didn’t notice how much I had missed the style in the two years that had elapsed between books. It’s great too because, amidst the ache and the burn and the awe, there is always jokes; fun comedy in light of whatever serious situation is happening. I latched on to that, it was something I both really appreciated and could never wait to see when or where it would next pop up. TJ Klune has a talent for knowing the time and the place, and he also has a skill for creating a time and a place if he wants to, anyway.

The story was damning; I cried at least four times? At Wolfsong I’m sure it was at least six (the first time I read it, that is). The touch of tragedy but still triumphing it is always wonderful to see. That and, I don’t know, it’s a huge story and one of the biggest things about it is a loss none of the characters can control. I like a book that makes me feel a lot, so I’m not at all surprised at how much I enjoyed this one. There’s something about being able to cry at a story that’s inherently good; it talks a lot of the skill of the author and the openness of the reader. And I liked it – it makes me feel like even more of a part of the story. It was leagues more than the word intriguing can convey; I’m excited for whatever’s going to come next
adored it

I did a review of Wolfsong when I read it, about two years ago (give or take a little). I remembered feeling like I had to be the luckiest person alive when TJ Klune himself said he enjoyed it. That alone meant a lot to me. What also meant a lot to me was seeing the opening lines of it printed out in front of Ravensong.

It felt nice, first of all, to be remembered and also it felt wonderful to be included and I liked that this little Welsh group got to be seen the way it has. It felt important, and I felt very lucky all over again. It definitely made my day much more enjoyable when I saw it; the hours were a breeze and a constant grin was on my face.

In my last review, I talked about LGBT representation. I still think it’s important and I always will; Ox being openly bi was one of the many reasons I adored him. So, in the blog posts leading up to Ravensong, when I saw “unless I am explicit about a character’s heterosexuality, readers of Ravensong (or any book of mine) should assume said character is queer. Easy, right? Unless you see a dude like balls deep inside a vagina , or a woman talking about how she wants to get all up in some dude and ride him like a wooden rollercoaster, they gay. (Or, even better, they could still be doing BOTH those things because bisexuality is a thing that exists.)”, I was blown away. I was so happy. It was also great to watch this unfold as the truth, with characters embracing who they are and ones being mentioned to be aromantic – it’s refreshing to see. I hope it never, ever stops, and I hope that if I get as far into writing as TJ Klune has, I can do something even a fraction as meaningful and important with my words and my characters.

I hope the book does well, because honestly, it deserves to.

Sian Thomas

Review of Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru at the WMC by Roger Barrington

(4.5 / 5)

 

It may seem a little incongruous to have a review about the Welsh National Eisteddfod  in English, but, I’m afraid that my best endeavours, (strike that – my lack of endeavour) fifty years ago, meant that I just managed to avoid being unclassified for my O’Level Welsh language examination.

In fact, I think the last time that I attended an Eisteddfod, I was actually taking part in it! I came third, (out of three) in the piano competition. I recall the adjudicator, a Mrs Ogwen Thomas  if my nightmarish memory serves me correctly,, summed up my playing by saying that it took her a while to recognise the piece I was playing.  So, there ended my budding concert recital career!

Being Welsh, you are always aware, when being out of your native country, of being The Other. Having lived two-thirds of my life to date outside of Wales, I have exploited that, both to my advantage and disadvantage.  So, I looked forward to attending the Welsh National Eisteddfod, which, this year is being held at and around the WMC in Cardiff, with great anticipation.

I was also a little apprehensive due to my concern about missing out on most of the activities, due to my lack of understanding Welsh.

My fears were allayed due to the presence of a desk in the foyer, that has free instant translators into English. However, this only works in The Pavilion, (Donald Gordon Theatre), but as all the major action occurs here, this is not a huge problem. And the instant translation works well.

In the three hours I sat here, I watched a huge diversity of competitions – vocal, recitation, instrument duo, instrument solo and dance. Of course, music transcends the difficulties of language, so I found this to be the most enjoyable events.

The talent on display was, at times, breathtaking. In the instrumental duo, I watched two cute little ten year old girl harpists in competition against two Royal College of Music student duos – twice their age! Naturally, they came third, but to be pitted against two highly accomplished duos from the RCM, and not be embarrassed, is an outstanding achievement – especially as one of the girls lives in Lampeter and the other in Cardiff, making practicing together a little awkward.

In the Blue Ribband event for under 16’s events, I saw four wonderful young musicians. Naturally I was drawn to the pianist, a twelve year old girl from Pontyclun, who played Scarlatti and then Bartok. Two vastly different pieces, and her maturity not only in technique, but also expression was awe-inspiring. A brilliant alto saxophonist, and a cellist who again played contrasting pieces, together with a talented trombonist completed the finalists. At the time of writing, I do not know who won this competition, but it was certainly going to be a tough decision by the team of adjudicators.

Monologues are translated into Welsh as well, so you can understand fully what is being said.

Added to all this, there are a number of other venues to visit, both inside and outside the venue.

There are a vast number of stalls present again, providing a real festive environment.

I took a look at the Welsh Books Council stall, and despite my intention not to add to my already burgeoning book collection, I came away with “The Hill of Dreams” by Welsh author Arthur Machen. The opening line goes, “There was a glow in the sky as if great furnace doors were opened”. Well, I can equate the glow to the Eisteddfod and the doors blown wide open, are those to my Welsh soul.

I invite you to rekindle your sense of Welsh identity, because, one thing that is clearly apparent is that the future of our culture is in assured hands.

Tickets, (remarkably good value for money), can be obtained at

https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2018-2019/DonaldGordonTheatre/TocynDydddayticket/?view=Standard

NB. There is an abundance of events you can attend free.

Preview Decolonising Environmentalism by Yasmin Begum 

In a fitting location near the banks of the river Taff, the groundbreaking “Decolonising Environmentalism” will be taking place in one of Wales’ most diverse and multicultural communities, Grangetown. It’s a film screening of Thank You For the Rain, Q+A discussion and a community meal with invited speakers organised and programmed by gentle/radical headed by local artist Rabab Ghazoul.

Thank You For the Rain is a multi-award winning film directed by Julie Dar. Kisilu, a Kenyan farmer, records and documents the experiences his life, community and his family- and the effect that climate change is happening on their lives. A chance meeting between the director and Kisilu changes a few things: but you’ll have to watch and find out what happens.

 

Decolonisation isn’t something typically discussed in every day Wales and neither is environmentalism. In fact, we focus on equality, and diversity: but decolonisation remains a little-uttered word in Wales until gentle/radical’s recent innovative work such as the frequent (and well frequented) Imagination Forums. It’s definitely a radical event its vision in that it’s radically different to anything anyone’s ever done before, and it’s this radical vision that has been met with success in the nation’s capital.

 

Environmentalism and decolonisation have huge impacts and implications in Wales- just look at the recent conversation on the tidal lagoon in Swansea, the legacies of post-industrialisation or the environmental racism of gentrification in Cardiff city (and beyond). gentle/radical’s work has grown to accommodate a need in the city for diverse and innovative programming for Cardiff city as it so rapidly grows. It’s the second people’s symposium following the phenomenally successful “Death of Distance” that saw Amrit Wilson and others discuss the legacies of the Balfour Declaration and the Partition India.

 

Gentle/radical will be bringing Joshua Virasami from Black Lives Matter, Sakina Sheikh from Platform London, Suzanne Dhaliwal from UK Tar Sands Network, Asad Rehman from War on Want to explore the connections between topics such as environmentalism, race, power and colonialism.

 

The event will be taking place at the Shree Kutchi Leva Patel Samaj Cardiff in Grangetown this Saturday 1st July 2018. Tickets are £15 for fully waged people, £10 for partially waged people, £5 for unemployed people and they’re likely to sell out before the weekend. Tickets are free for asylum seekers. Book your tickets here