The opening night of any performance is usually pretty interesting This was something else. A royal visit, the hands of conciliation shaking across the decades, the welcome of the Welsh to the Zulus, the acknowledgement of the times past and present with no apology.
I cannot say that it was a comfortable feeling in the room when the British role in the taking of Zululand was portrayed. The massacre of British forces at Rorke’s Drift promptly followed by the razing of the villages and the kidnapping of the King. An unrecorded conversation between Queen Victoria and King Cetshwayo and his return to South Africa.
Some of us in the audience dared to laugh at what that conversation may have comprised, given the dear Queen’s proclivities! This lightened an otherwise confused response to a musical storytelling which did not portray our Empirical desires in a good light. But a portrayal generous enough to acknowledge the bravery of soldiers on either side. Bold enough to openly regard a mutual respect for the field of battle and conquest.
Beautiful in its dance scenes, fearsome in its warring, acute in its narration – comic in its mimicry of the gun-carrying redcoats. The skin-prickling returning cries of warriors in the audience. The poet. The costumes. The toe-tapping music. The beat. The heat.
This was a slightly chaotic, slightly shambolic, utterly brilliant rendering of a terrible business all round.
A theatre packed with dignitaries and artists; and the men stand for the Queen. A queen surrounded by family and protected by warriors. Splendid and significant, she spoke of their visit as an advance party whose report back would determine any subsequent visit by the King. I get that. This is not easy political fayre.
Dorcas Cresswell and her team should be applauded for their efforts in bringing these extraordinary and important events together in ways accessible to all of us. It was refreshing not to hear apology for events long past but acknowledgement; commemoration not dismissal. Art and theatre expressing easily subjects otherwise difficult to discuss openly.
I hope I shall never forget seeing Zulu warriors hop on a bus in central Brecon. I have a feeling I might not be alone in this. Never underestimate the impact of a well-placed assegai.
As part of this series of events you can still catch the event below
Free, non-ticketed exhibition in the Andrew Lamont Gallery, top floor of Theatr Brycheiniog.
An exhibition of photographs that were taken during a visit in January 2017 to KwaZulu-Natal by five members of The Friends of The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh, Brecon.
The visit was by invitation of KwaCulture – an organisation based in Durban and the visit coincided with the annual commemoration of the battles of Isandlwana and Rorke’s Drift which took place in January 1879.
The exhibition is part of the King Cetshwayo 135th Celebrations in Wales, August 2017 that has been organised by The Friends of The Royal Welsh Regimental Museum in partnership with KwaCulture and Maluju Charity.
The Andrew Lamont Gallery is open during Theatr opening hours and is fully accesable via the lift.
On Saturday 12th August, St Fagan’s embarked on their first foray into launching an annual Glasto-esque fest of family friendly fun in the heart of the Welsh countryside. An impressive musical smorgasbord headlined the Orchard-organised inaugural event, from Tom Odell to Martha and the Vandellas, Jack Savoretti to the Shires. In addition, there was also a variety of non-musical entertainment to be had throughout the day, from arts and crafts to artisan-quality food and a funfair/ circus for good measure.
Welsh acoustic duo Into the Ark, local boys from Blackwood turned The Voice UK 2017 finalists, started the show with soulful, spirited charm. They performed as if they were headliners – and to us, they were.
Martha and the Vandellas followed with an energetic set, infusing the festivities with a party atmosphere and setting off the sing-a-long spirit with classic hits like ‘Jimmy Mack’ and the timelessly terrific ‘Dancing in the Street’.
Third to take to the stage were Brit country duo the Shires, who held the distinction of being the first act whose very presence raised the crowd to their feet. And what a joyful noise they made on that sunny Saturday afternoon, belting out fan-favourite hits like ‘State Lines’ and ‘All Over Again’ as well as making time for more melancholic melodies such as ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’. They promised to be back soon, and here’s hoping it won’t be their last time in Cardiff – judging by the cheers that permeated their performance, there are many (including myself!) who are looking forward to welcoming them back to Wales in the not too distant future.
Tom Odell provided a suitably bombastic closing set, tearing through tunes with a spellbinding falsetto Matthew Bellamy would have been proud of. My personal favourites of the night were the achingly haunting ‘Can’t Pretend’ and his career-launching debut ‘Another Love’, both of which – along with his remaining repertoire – were elevated by a dazzling light show that punctuated every syllable of Odell’s crooning choruses.
Hover, it was the penultimate performance of the festival, provided by the incomparable Jack Savoretti, that stole the show with a haunting, husky voice that would make the likes of Paolo Nutini and Tom Waits blush. There is simply no-one else in the world who sounds like Jack Savoretti, and he suffuses his songs with the raw, rugged sound that has become his trademark. Hearing him live was a special treat, though I have to compliment almost everyone on the day who performed live for sounding just as good as, and often better than, the record. There were too many favourite Savoretti songs to mention, from the rebel-rousing ‘We Are Bound’ to the sorrowfully sincere ‘When We Were Lovers’, and the True Blood-tinged ‘Knock Knock’. It was a real treat to have an artist of Jack Savoretti’s calibre in this event, as it was with so many of the marvellous musicians that graced St Fagan’s that day.
The sheer variety of food on offer – from gourmet burgers to posh pizzas – was a feast for the eyes and nose, but sadly not for the stomach. Reportedly 8,000 festival-goers walked the fields of St Fagan’s that day, but far fewer managed to purchase even a single crumb due to the bloated queues that stretched out for hours on end.
‘Queue-Gate’ was such a widespread issue that the ensuing tweet-storm urged the organisers to issue an apology, which, though appreciated, still failed to understand the backlog (many spent up to 2 hours queuing at a single stall), or the duration (it was an issue throughout the entire day, not just the evening). Worse still, the organisers banned any food being brought onto the premises, meaning that the supposedly family friendly event left many families with the choice of queuing for hours or going hungry.
I only braved a queue at around 9pm, by which time all that seemed to be left in the entire venue was a single Danish pastry (at that point, it was any port in a storm). Even if picnics had been allowed in, it would have been impossible to resist the delicious scent that wafted across the fields throughout the event. The ratio of people to food vendors was severely misjudged; in future, either lower the maximum number of tickets sold, or increase the amount of food stalls on offer.
In addition, the site itself was tricky to navigate. I didn’t even know there was a second stage for supporting acts, and spent the first three hours eagerly awaiting the arrival of Kizzy Crawford, an enchanting bilingual singer, on the main (at that time I thought the only) stage. It was only after my increasing hunger necessitated exploring the venue that I stumbled across a beautiful bandstand hung with twinkling fairy lights. The dulcet tones of Gareth Bonello (aka the Gentle Good) drifted across the evening air, after which he mentioned fellow Welsh-speaking singer Kizzy Crawford’s earlier set, and my heart dropped. If only there had been a programme, or schedule of some kind, listing the various locations and who was doing what when, it would have greatly enhanced the accessibility and exploration potential of the festival experience.
I had a wonderful time at my very first festival experience. However, there are things at a fundamental level that must be addressed for a follow-up fest to be a success, from better management and organisation to a programme of events and acts. However, it remains a very special event to have been a part of, and it was a real privilege to see so many incredible musicians pour their hearts, and their songs, in that picturesque place. I would love to see the Burning Lantern festival return next year, especially if its maiden voyage was able to attract such a breadth of talent from all spheres of the musical world – but it has to take these concerns on board for it to rebuild trust and maintain interest in its future.
Get the Chance has collaborated with Motherlode, RCT Theatres and Taking Flight Theatre Company to run a series of free ‘Get the Chance to be a theatre critic’ workshops, participants also accessed the rehearsal process and public performances. Get the Chance was able to run this activity with the support of partners and through funding from Arts Council Wales Sharing Together. “A strategic initiative to encourage the development of networking opportunities.”
During this activity a free workshop took place at The Coliseum Theatre in Aberdare. During the workshop we discussed the role of the critic, differing methods of giving critical feedback and the role of the press and marketing department. Those attending were strong advocates for arts venues and cultural provision in general.
After the workshop we spent time in the rehearsal room with Motherlode who were developing their new production, ‘Exodus’. This gave us a unique insight into the development of the companies work.
The workshop participants are all excellent examples of Creative Citizens. Get the Chance is developing a socially engaged, democratic audience development model called Creative Citizens Cymru. Many of the fundamental principles of this model are very similar to the principal goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.
You can read a write-up of the workshop by Vicky Lord at the link below.
Get the Chance works in collaboration with a range of individual creatives, companies and organisations in order to achieve our aim of “Creating opportunities for a diverse range of people to experience and respond to sport, arts, culture and live events.” We would like to thank Rachel Boulton, Artistic Director, Motherlode and Nia Wyn Skyrme- Freelance Producer/ Promoter for their statements of support relating to this activity below.
“Motherlode is all about removing barriers to theatre, making entertaining work with a political edge that our friends, neighbours and families can enjoy in a collective experience. In a quick survey we asked 100 women in Wales “Does theatre represent your world view?” 13% said yes, the other half said no, and the other half said they don’t go to the theatre. While this research needs more fleshing out, there’s a problem here with who we’re currently making theatre for and who we’re making it with…Get The Chance is vital to shifting how we talk about theatre, who gets to talk about theatre, and who decides what should be on our stages. It encourages local people to take ownership of their venues and creates a safe environment where communities can take risks and express themselves through sports, culture and live events, regardless of background.”
Rachel Boulton, Artistic Director, Motherlode
“I have been working as a freelance producer for over a year, and I have worked with Get the Chance with almost all the productions I’ve been involved with, as we share a passion for co-working, sharing ideas and contacts and creating active creative citizens in different communities across Wales.
It’s been very valuable working with an organisation like Get the Chance. Arranging reviewers, interviews and specific workshops raising the company’s profile and excellent promotion, sharing ideas and giving advice. Get the Chance have also brokered relationships with their members to become Local Promoters in different areas across Wales.”
Nia Wyn Skyrme- Freelance Producer/ Promoter
We have also recently ran a workshop in collaboration with Taking Flight Theatre Company. We ran a free ‘Get the Chance to be a theatre critic workshop’ on July the 11th at Cyfarthfa Museum. The workshop was attended by a youth group from Merthyr Tydfil. We discussed a range of areas of cultural provision and the participants then went to see Taking Flights production of The Tempest. Their reviews will follow soon!
Thanks to Beth House, Creative Producer, Taking Flight Theatre Company for supporting this activity.
“Collaborating with Get The Chance has been really exciting for us and I feel like we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what might be possible in terms of working together and developing new arts professionals- and moreover broadening audiences. Thus far, we have been able to tap into groups who have traditionally been excluded from training as well as arts opportunities, often because of access requirements or other barriers. The work I have seen Guy do has inspired groups to think critically about the arts they consume and to want more. We are extremely hopeful that we can seek new ways to go even further with this partnership. More joined up working like this is definitely needed in Wales!”
Beth House, Creative Producer, Taking Flight Theatre Company
Truth be told, I was a bit apprehensive that my 3 year old would be too young to get much out of the new Dinosaur Babies exhibition at the National Museum, Cardiff. He’s not fanatical about them like many of his little chums, and would really prefer to play diggers than dino’s given the choice, but in an effort to support the learning he’s been doing on dinosaurs in nursery, I arranged a family visit anyway.
I need not have worried. Even after a bout of tears in the foyer on spotting a staff member wearing the world’s least scary dinosaur onesie, he was quickly distracted and won over by the variety of interactive exhibits on offer. The content of the exhibition is displayed using a range of tactile models, large images with captions, real and model skeletons, an animatronic dinosaur and traditional displays in cabinets with short easy-to-read descriptions. Many of the real ‘show-stopping’ skeleton exhibits are housed in low glass cases that can be viewed all the way around, making it accessible for little ones and easier for everyone to get a good view even at busy periods.
As a family we’re still pretty new to this type of educational, family experience and museums have moved on apace since our childhood, so I chuckled when my husband told our son not to touch one of the egg models which was screaming out for little fingers to pat and stroke it, but there were plenty of helpful staff around to reassure and encourage children to touch the exhibits – and even to ride on one of the dinosaurs!
Working as a team to dismantle and reassemble a large section of a leg bone, proved a popular activity with the little ones giving the grown-ups additional time to browse the nearby cabinets and learn about some of the most rare and exciting finds like ‘Baby Louie’ who had scientists confused until the first example of a new species of giant oviraptor was discovered as recently as 2007. The highlight for me though were the three real dinosaur eggs in which you can still clearly see the fragile bones of the unhatched animals inside.
The highlight for our little one (and most of the younger visitors there), was most definitely the opportunity to play ‘palaeontologist’ for the morning. Sporting his safety goggles, he whiled away at least half an hour digging in the large pit hunting for bones and eggs, then joining in with other children carefully brushing away the ‘earth’ to uncover their finds. The activity stations at the end of the exhibition area are perfect for very young children, and we spent a happy hour or so counting dinosaur eggs, practicing letter recognition with the magnetic letters and doing the large dinosaur jigsaw puzzles on the board.
The exhibition really lives up to the claim that it is ‘family friendly’ and it genuinely manages to achieve that tricky balance of appealing to all ages and levels of interest in the subject, so even if like me you have family members that can best be described as ‘can’t read, won’t read’ don’t be put off giving this exhibition a try. I would seriously consider going again with my nephews who are 10 and 7, and know that my son would be really excited to go again. Even better is the fact that it’s free for the under 4s (yet there is plenty that appeals to them), and with a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children up to 17) at only £17 it represents superb value for money.
Dinosaur Babies Exhibition, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff
27 May–5 November 2017, 10am-4.45pm (last entry 4pm)
The National Museum of Cardiff has launched a new exhibition, Dinosaur Babies (27 May – 5 November 2017) as part of Wales’ Year of Legends celebrations, which allows visitors of all ages the opportunity to experience the world of dinosaur family life through their eggs, nests and embryos.
There are three real dinosaur embryos on display within eggs as well as replica dinosaur eggs and nests collected from all over the World, from major plant and meat-eating dinosaur groups. Many of which were discovered in China, are on loan from America and have never been publicly displayed in the UK before. The exhibition also features a ‘Big Dig Pit’ to let kids become palaeontologists as well as a play area with toy dinosaurs, cuddly dinosaurs, dinosaur books, jigsaws on the wall etc. There’s also a dressing up section!
The museum curators clear achieved their goal of creating an exhibition that is not only child friendly but is suitable for all ages given the staggering range of activities and the wealth of information available to visitors. From fake eggs that the children can touch, to moving dinosaurs they can interact with, and picture and video displays. Whereas the breath-taking skeletons are brought to life through the wonderful illustrations of Luis V. Rey whose use of a rainbow pallet helps us to imagine the creatures we are walking amongst throughout the exhibition. You could easily spend up to 2 hour here exploring your inner palaeontologist.
Without a doubt Dinosaur Babies will enthral and educate visitors of all ages, there is something for everyone and will certainly come in handy for those studying dinosaurs in school! Also given that it’s not a huge place, children have the opportunity to run wild like their newfound dinosaur friends!
The Dinosaur Babies exhibition is open from 10am – 4.45pm with last entry at 4pm. Tickets can be purchased at the Museum or via ticketlineUK.com (£7 adults, £5 concessions, £3 children, £17/£13 families). Children 3 years and under can enter for free.
If you want an adventure with history this summer then step back in time and visit the National Museum Cardiff to experience their wonderful new exhibition – Dinosaur Babies.
The exhibits, many discovered in China, are on loan from the United States of America and have never been on public display in the UK before.
As you immerse yourself in the lost world of the dinosaurs you will come face to face with many familiar dinosaurs and others not so. The breath taking skeletons are brought to life by the many wonderful colour illustrations by Luis V. Rey, who working alongside the palaeontologists involved with the research of these dinosaurs, has given us visual imagery for the creatures we are walking amongst and a clear depiction of what they and their environment may have looked like when they walked the earth.
This exhibition has been specifically designed to be child friendly and it has certainly achieved its aim. There are a range of activities that engage the visitor whatever their age and the wealth of information is staggering.
Dinosaur Babies will enthral, enlighten and educate, as you venture into the never before seen world of motherhood amount these fascinating creatures. There are nests, eggs and even embryos intact inside their shells, a sight that will awaken the curiosity in everyone, alongside a desire to learn more.
The discovery of these dinosaurs in their many family groups has enabled scientists to build up a more comprehensive picture than ever before. They are able to establish a better idea and understanding of how these magnificent creatures lived in social groups and how they nurtured their young and now for the first time we are able to join them on this journey.
For the younger visitors there is a range of activities that will suit any age, whether it is conducting your own mini archaeological dig to find fossils, dressing up as a dinosaur or creating an art work to take home as a reminder of what you have seen.
This really is a great exhibition that caters for the whole family. Whatever your age or level of interest in dinosaurs, you are guaranteed to take away a wonderful Natural History Experience that you’ll be talking about all summer.
This exhibition forms part of Wales’ Year of Legends and runs from 27 May – 5 November
Earlier this year our director Guy O’Donnell met with Tom Goddard, Project Producer at Criw Celf, A2:Connect to discuss their work. Criw Celf is is a visual arts project for ‘More Able & Talented’ young artists at secondary school. Tom discussed the current Criw Celf project which is linked to artes mundi. Tom had invited Welsh Artist Bedwyr Williams to work with the young people and they were also able to take a tour of Artes Mundi as well as taking part in workshops to produce art work of their own. This article gives us an update of their progress. The original article can be found at the link below.
“Hi Tom, would it be possible to give our readers some information on what happened during the recent workshop at NMW?”
“Yes, it went really well thanks! Each of the group have now embarked on their own self initiated project. Through working and getting to know Bedwyr each of them began to consider a position or a problem that they wanted to tackle, investigate or even solve through the creative process. It all sounds a bit over the top when put like that when really it’s about refocussing on them as individuals instead of being given a theme that’s been thrown at groups of young people for over 20 years.”
“What came out of this process was questions, questions about why things are the way they are as well as what they are passionate about; whether those things are absurd, annoying or interesting.”
Criw Celf members feedback
“The workshop opened my eyes to the many different ideas of art, the January workshop I thoroughly enjoyed although it was slightly less independent than the February one. This is why this time I preferred it because it was a more hands on experience, as we developed our ideas and played on what we thought they could be presented as we each decided and are going to show them in an exhibition.”
“It was good fun, met some new people, look forward to carrying on with future activities, interesting people in the class.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed the workshops this week as we experimented with a range of different materials and techniques. I tried pinhole photography for the first time which was interesting and an experience.”
“In February they’ll be working with two artists with questioning at the heart of their practices, Tiffany Oben and Lisa Saunders. The workshops at Llanover Hall will continue to focus on creating a studio environment where the self led work is supported through the sharing and discussion of context, specific artists, influences and relevant thoughts, people and theory.
During the three February half term workshops they will complete their tour of Artes Mundi seeing the work of Nastio Mosquito and Lamia Joreige at Chapter and they’ll all be learning how to make, take and develop pinhole photographs inspired by Lamia Joreige’s work. On the final day we’ll be going to a workshop led by Mr & Mrs Clark in Chapter’s Theatre then seeing a performance of their one man show F.E.A.R. I saw it last year at Experimentica and was struck by its honesty and power after meeting and getting to know the group I felt it would be exciting for them to see something this bold.”
Criw Celf participating in a workshop with Gareth Clark from Mr & Mrs Clark at Chapter Arts Centre.
“What plans are there for the development of the project.”
“In March once the project work is nearing completion and even while some of it is still very much in progress!, Criw Celf will be working with a curator and a technician to design, build and curate their own exhibition in the centre of town. The idea is that Criw Celf will learn how to do it themselves, the groups average age is 15 so I think it’s really important to demystify all this stuff early on, to get hands on and to have a go yourself. All of these adults might work really hard but none of them do something these young people couldn’t do, if they put their minds to it and I’d like to think that Criw Celf would probably do it better too. I’ve been lucky enough to have the support of Cardiff Council and that’s meant I have been able to secure a building to house the exhibition for the whole of the month of March so if you’re in town do pop in and check out the exhibition.”
Criw Celf Exhibition opening – 2.30pm on Sat 4 March Venue: 11 High Street, Cardiff City Centre
Exhibition open Thurs, Fri & Sat throughout March 12 – 4pm 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 March
Killology The Sherman Theatre Cardiff and Royal Court Theatre
“The show that I am most excited for this year is “Killology” at the Sherman Theatre, written by my absolute favourite Gary Owen and directed by my also favourite Rachel O’Riordan. Two of the most moving and real life productions of the last two years are Iphigenia in Splott which I saw in Cardiff and Violence and Son which I travelled to London to watch so you can imagine my excitement. I love Gary Owens raw approach on controversial, gritty and jaw dropping subject matter. “Lie out darkest fantasies, but you don’t escape their consequences” a line used in the write up to the play… it gives me goose bumps as I know this play will take the viewers on a phycological trip they wouldn’t have imagined possible.I hope this play is in the studio theatre as the intense momentum that can be built up in there will be electric, with director Rachel O’Riordan no doubt pulling out all the stops.”
The Moot Virginity of Catherine of Aragon The Sherman Theatre, Cardiff
“I am particularly interested in seeing this play as the writers and creative team alike are unknown to me so I am eager to enjoy and observe their styles and approaches in tackling such a controversial and historical topic. I have recently watched the BBC drama “Six Wives with Lucy Worsley” which give quite a different perspective of Catherine to that I had imagined and observed to date. I wonder whether this show will evoke more feelings and insights into the life of Catherine of Aragon for me and can it change my strong views I already have on the story? We will see!”
Zero for the Young Dudes as part of NT Connections at The Sherman Theatre
“I am also drawn towards Zero for the Young Dudes performed by Sherman Youth Theatre which will be used as their competition entry to NTC festival. In attending the NTC festival in 2016 I am aware of the quality produced by these young individuals and in some circumstances when experiencing barriers which is always extremely insightful and inspiring to me. It’s also a good opportunity to catch glimpse of the up and coming stars that are going to rock the world of theatre in Wales and beyond for years to come!”
“Firstly, Legend and a tribute to Bob Marley 28 January at the Globe being a 7 piece band which is noted to be a flawless musicianship. I am attending with a fellow reggae lover so set to be a fun evening.
I am gassed for Cardiff’s very own asteroid boys who will be championing their recent success of their sold out tour and signing by Sony records and will be supporting Wiley at Y Plas event in one of my most memorial venues in Clwb ifor Bach”
Im looking forward to any events for 2017 from Pryme cut and Rhyme cut entertainment incorporating Wild boys wasted and likes of Brave Mugraw, Crash, Lord Bendtner, Two Putt and more on battlers… Performers.. Saykridd, Jake the Ripper, Ferny Mac, Chew, Conrad Lott and Beatbox Hann plus much more as the events over the last two years have been something to shout about. These nights are open to any performers any styles making them completely diverse perfect for our very cultural city of Cardiff.
I am also looking for anything to attend that includes again Cardiff’s own Baby Queens with their album being released the latter end of 2016 and being noted in BBC online top 100 single. This band are the ones to watch.”
Get the Chance Creative Associate Jonny Cotton
The House of Bernarda Alba
By Federico García Lorca, Directed by Jenny Sealey A Royal Exchange Theatre and Graeae Theatre Company co-production
Graeae has a new play, ‘The House of Benarda Alba’ which will be coming out in Feb and will be performing at The Royal Exchange in Manchester so I will be looking forward to see that.”
“My dream or wish is to see a disability-led organisation to come to Wales in 2017. Although I don’t mind travelling to see the likes of Fingersmiths, Graeae, Birds Of Paradise I would like to see them perform in Wales. That would be my wish! I think the difficulties is because of the Arts strands and lack of support from venues which preventing these organisations coming to Wales. We need to see a change in that!”
Young Critic James Briggs
“I am looking forward to this year there are two which I have already got press for in St Davids Hall and they are ‘Anton and Erin’ and ‘Riverdance’.”
“I am particularly keen to see Sunny Afternoon. It started its journey at the Hampstead Theatre, one of my favourite venues in London. Then, as most good productions it is home to, it made it successfully to the West end and now there is a touring company. It’s also the start of an era for me as the Kinks played the Capitol in May 1965, I was there and witnessed the altercation between Dave Davies and Mick Avory”
“Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes which is coming to Cardiff. I was fortunate to be given house seats at Sadlers Wells on Christmas Eve. It is arguably the best thing Bourne has ever done. On the home front WNO start the new season with La Boheme. A great atmospheric production and an excellent on to enjoy if you have never seen opera before. “
A rather controversial topic perhaps but one which raises its curious head regularly in conversation if not in print.
Having touched on this in my review of Bafta Cymru, I feel a personal need to explore the impact of Welsh identity projected in the Arts on audiences.
2 Opera & Dance
Having absolutely adored having access to so much of both through 2016, I plan on deepening my knowledge through further attendance at performances, continuing to draw at open rehearsals and through interviewing performers and artists.
Leaving events in Cardiff at night has opened my eyes to the problem of homelessness. The stark contrast between the opulent glories of the stage and the plight of living on the streets has been brutal to witness, far more brutal to those who live it. Everyone has a story and I would like to help those stories be heard.”
Hi Tom– great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
I’m a visual artist mainly working in film and performance. I like to work with people and my projects have included customised football wall charts, an odyssey across Wales, an archive to a lake monster, a journey into neolithic welsh life. I have recently had my films shown in Buenos Aires, Argentina and at the Whitechapel Gallery, London.
I position my work on the line between truth and fiction, considering how public anxieties have intensified within the axis of the modern world through an obsessive repetition of endless facts, where choices are seemingly endless.
I am an advocate for education and best practice in the arts as well as for the role of the artist in the 21st century.
You work forArts Active Trust promoting arts activity for schools and communities in thecentral south region.Can you please give me more information on this and your work?
The Arts Active Trust is a charity that seeks to engage people of all ages with creative activities through working directly with artists and professional practitioners who can inspire and guide their development. A key part of the Arts Active programme is A2:Connect which is the Arts & Education network for the Central South region working to bring artists of all disciplines – music, drama, visual arts, literature etc. directly into our schools. In association with A2:Connect, Criw Celf Cardiff is a visual arts project for ‘More Able & Talented’ young artists at secondary school.
Then more specifically you areProject Producer atCriw Celf, what does your role entail?
I work one day a week managing the Criw Celf Cardiff programme of workshops and courses so I get to work with a wide range of visual artists, educators and arts professionals. I work directly with art teachers in secondary schools across Cardiff about how they can be involved in the scheme.
Criw Celf workshops 2016
In January 2017 I believe you will be supporting young people described as gifted and talented toDiscover Artes Mundi 7, with nominated artist Bedwyr Williams. This sounds very exciting what will take place during these workshops and how do people get involved?
We’re very lucky to have Bedwyr coming down to Cardiff. He’s had a great year showing at the Barbican, Somerset House and being nominated for Artes Mundi 7. I’ve invited him because he is an inspiring Welsh artist who, through his work explores and asks questions about the world from different perspectives. The young people will be able to take a tour of Artes Mundi as well as taking part in workshops to produce art work of their own.
You have a great deal of experience in the Visual Arts in Wales Do you think the Visual Arts as a form still resonate for young people?
We live in a world more saturated with visual imagery than ever before. There is a media environment both on and off line that is telling young people what to look like, what to desire and what to care about. Visual arts in all of its forms, whether its film, sculpture or painting, offers a way to understand how to look, contextualise, empathise and learn tolerance in order to think about the kind of world you want to live in and create.
Learning is an active process and sensory input is something we construct a meaning out of, we then construct meanings and systems of meaning. It’s about curiosity, open-mindedness and understanding that not everything in a gallery or in a theatre is for you and if there isn’t anything that speaks to you, feeling empowered to do it yourself.
In the visual arts young people can go on intellectual adventures or get lost in the beauty or ugliness of something, in turn discovering new things and things about themselves.
Young Art Force
Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision. Are you aware of anybarriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales basedartists?
There are many barriers both social and physical that exist for young people from lower income families which prevent them from engaging with arts and culture. One of the barriers I feel we can tackle easily is the language used to describe arts and culture which often can prohibit and distance families as well as being irrelevant to today’s young people.
Black Kettle Collective performing Protest Song
If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?
I think I would do away with areas of the arts and instead concentrate on funding strong and transformational projects. Many of the projects would be cross disciplinary so creativity is supported rather than discriminating between artistic forms.
Young Art Force
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 is cross disciplinary partnerships and collaboration. Genuine connections with a range of people from all sorts of different backgrounds. An openness to change and link Cardiff and Wales with other international cities rather than always comparing ourselves to other cities in the UK.
I enjoyed Artes Mundi this year – Bedwyr Williams’s Ty Mawr and John Akomfrah at Artes Mundi were strong stand out films for me.
As part of a partnership between Chapter and Artes Mundi I saw The Stuart Hall Project, Akomfrah’s film documenting the life of cultural theorist Stuart Hall who is one of my heroes. Hall was integral to exploring social change in Britain and I’ve often thought of him being the voice of God. Ever changing and always thinking, flexible and rational.
Another standout was S Mark Gubb ‘Revelations: The Poison of Free Thought, Part II’ and Mike Kelley’s ‘Mobile Homestead’ supported by Artangel at g39 and Cardiff Contemporary.
I went to the reopening of Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea which includes film work by Lindsey Seers and an exhibition related to Richard Glynn Vivian a Victorian traveller whose collection of over 12,000 works was gifted to the city of Swansea. I’m particularly interested in the story of early European porcelain and the Gallery has examples from the Meissen factory by sculptors Kaendler and Kircher which i normally travel to the V&A in London to see. There’s also Leonardo da Vinci, Turner, Picasso etc…Worth a visit!
Thanks for your time Tom.
Link below to further information on Criw Celf Cardiff – New Year Art Course