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The Launch of Creative Citizens Cymru

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Get the Chance recently organised a morning of creative conversations called Creative Citizens Cymru. The event was funded by the Arts Council Wales Sharing Together. “A strategic initiative to encourage the development of networking opportunities.”

The event took place at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Participants shared their views on a variety of issues including, the on-going relationships between arts critics, venues, producers and artists, critical responses to Welsh venues’ work as well as new and existing collaborative working methods. Get the Chance (GTC) is a social enterprise that supports members of the public to access and respond to sport and cultural provision. GTC was specifically interested in generating conversation relating to ways to support the development of Creative Citizens acting as critics, ambassadors, volunteers, advocates, promoters, workshop leaders and more.

Representatives from a range of organisations discussed some of their work in this area including,

Geinor Styles Artistic Director, of Theatr na nÓg and Ani of the Ambassadors discussed their Ambassadors scheme.

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“The Theatr na nÓg Ambassadors scheme started in January 2016 in order to support and mentor the new generation of theatre professionals.

 Aimed towards 16-25 year olds, the scheme offers full access to the company where you will learn by observation and get hands-on experience at rehearsals, on productions and events. The Ambassadors have already supported na nÓg in our production of ‘TOM’ at the Wales Millennium Centre, performed as cast members on ‘The Amazing Adventure of Wallace and Bates’ at Cardiff Museum and the Eisteddfod as well as supporting the production of ‘The Ghost of Morfa Colliery’ at the Dylan Thomas Theatre in Swansea.

 We want to work with as many young people as possible through the medium of both Welsh and English and by offering our support and resources, we hope to contribute to the development of new skills that they will be able to use at na nÓg and elsewhere in the industry.”

 http://www.theatr-nanog.co.uk/na-nóg-ambassadors

Nia Skyrme Freelance producer/promoter

Nia works with local community representatives to support marketing opportunities for touring productions. Shanon Newman was local promoter on a recent production supported by Nia.

“My name is Shannon and I am currently an ‘on the ground promoter’ working on Motherlode’s The Good Earth. That means that I am helping to spread the word to as many people as possible about this show which tours Wales in September.

Motherlode’s tagline is Tireless New Theatre, Made in Wales. I saw the last run of rehearsals for ‘The Good Earth’ at Park & Dare Theatre in Treorchy a few weeks ago. I feel extremely lucky to be working to engage people in the Cardiff area and to have got the chance to watch the performance just before it went on tour to New York. I’m delighted to help spread the word about this production; the themes that it touches on evokes awareness on what has affected Wales as a country in the past and its reaction to moments of hardship. It is an important message of strength and unity, especially during a time when we seem to be so divided.

‘The Good Earth’ echoes concerns over the threat to the Welsh identity and community with its close relation to the Aberfan and Tryweryn tragedies. The play made me feel nostalgic about situations I’ve never personally experienced, and empathetic for the characters’ cause to maintain the integrity of their way of life. It reminded me of Wales’s role in modern Britain, and how drastically that has developed over the years. It was the backlash against apathetic and unjust authorities that helped to fuel the surge of Welsh nationalism that we see today.

The singing, though not appearing to be its fundamental feature, significantly intensified the mood of the play. It had a meditative effect. Kudos to the actors for managing to convey the emotions of deeply relevant issues in many Welsh communities. I am so excited to see the show alongside a Welsh audience when it returns from NYC.”

Peter Gregory and Hilary Farr from Arts Council Wales, Night Out Scheme.

Peter and Hilary gave us all a brief overview of The Night Out Scheme

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“The Arts Council of Wales’ Night Out scheme works in partnership with the local authorities to help groups of volunteers across Wales bring the arts to the heart of their communities. 

 Community groups (known as Promoters) can choose from a huge range of great professional performers and put them on in community or village halls and other non traditional venues across the country.  If you want information on how the scheme works and promoting events visit the Become a Promoter Section.

  Each year close to 600 shows are booked through the scheme by nearly 350 different community groups. Alongside the main scheme we also run the Noson Allan Fach  scheme which offers small shows for member led organsiations such as WI or Merched y Wawr.

 Working in conjunction with the local authorities of Wales, the Night Out team operates a guarantee against loss for events where we pay the performer fee and the community promoter pays back ticket income made at the door. 

 We never take more than the performer costs so as a promoter you will never be worse off by using the scheme. The more money promoters make back the more funds we have available to say yes to another request. 

 Our promoters are free to book a wide range of professional artists. Many come to Night Out for advice on appropriate high quality shows suitable for small community venues.”

Sophie Mckeand and Christine Smith are Night Out Young Promoter Coordinators and talked about their work in this field.

“The award winning Young Promoters Scheme works with groups of children and young people taking them through the process of becoming the promoters for an event in their community. You can  download an information leaflet  here 

 “The whole scheme was very straightforward. Everything was clearly explained. The support we had from the Arts Council staff team was superb …The young people were extremely proud of what they had achieved. They have grown in skill and confidence and can’t wait to do it again”  Sharon Campbell  Colwyn Bay Youth Centre

 The Night Out Young Promoters Scheme is an ideal way of giving practical skills to children and young people and improving the relationship between young people and their schools and their local community.

 Operating since 2005, the scheme has worked with hundreds of children and young people aged between 7 and 18 throughout Wales, giving them the unique experience of organising and enjoying a performing arts event in their local hall. Projects involve a facilitator, working alongside a teacher or youth leader to enable a group of young people to experience the “behind the scenes” work that goes into organising an event.  Though a series of workshop sessions groups are taken through aspects of Box Office, Front of House, Stage Management and Marketing / publicity and Sponsorship.  The Young Promoters get to make all the decisions – and do all the work!

Groups are able to have fun as part of a creative learning process and to develop personal, social and work related skills. When run in schools, the scheme can be utilised to deliver specific  elements of the national curriculum since it includes aspects of literacy, ICT, mathematics, numeracy, art and design and event management.”

 Kai Jones, Gig Buddies Coordinator, Accessible Information Officer, Learning Disability Wales.

Kai discussed the new Gig Buddies initiative.

“Making choices about how you live your life is an important part of being independent. We want to make sure that people with a learning disability can choose to stay up late and go to gigs. A gig is another name for a music concert.

We know that many people with a learning disability love music, but don’t ever get the chance to go to gigs and see their favourite bands live. To help change this we are starting a new project, called Gig BuddiesThe project will match people with a learning disability with volunteers who share the same music tastes so they can go to gigs together.”

 https://www.ldw.org.uk/information/news/2016/10/gig-buddies-survey.aspx#.WDlPhjc42lY

Anne-Marie Lawrence, Senior Project Manager, Spice Time Credits, South East Wales.

“Time Credits make a sustainable difference to a range of organisations across the community, housing, health, care and school sectors. They are proven to increase the number of people involved in the community and are able to help sustain that involvement over time, bringing about a range of transformative outcomes.

Time Credit systems work on a simple hour-for-hour basis: for every hour you give to your community you earn one Time Credit, which you can then spend on an activity of your choice.

You can give time in ways that match your skills and interests, and spend your Time Credits with our diverse range of fantastic partners across the UK who offer everything from swimming to learning a language.”

Much of the morning was spent working as a large group sharing learning opportunities and informal networking.

During the second half of the morning the group were tasked with further developing some responses to questions which developed from the initial conversations and areas Get the Chance wanted to focus on. Some of the responses can be seen in the images below.

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An online survey was also created to continue this conversations. The survey is till live and we invite anyone interested to complete it.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/W27RC3Q

Get the Chance has another event planned in North Wales in the spring of 2017

Guy O’Donnell the director of Get the Chance organised a similar event a few years ago and a blog post on this event can be found at the link below.

http://community.nationaltheatrewales.org/profiles/blogs/critical-feedback-to-the-response-event

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Review ‘A Day in the Death of Joe Egg’ Everyman Theatre by Tanica Psalmist

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A Day in the Death of Joe Egg was strikingly powerful,

her disability & discrimination was inevitable.

Judgment and suffering; caused mental frustration

Her disability, was seen as an affliction.

Dad sincerely praying for tranquility and hope

Left little Joe Egg staggering on a tight-robe.

She looked through her life, like a horoscope.

Figuratively speaking, Joe Egg felt neglected.

For her heart was deprived and had never truly, been accepted.

Fragmented heart, for her parent’s shredded apart

Whenever he tried to instigate love making to his wife,

She would shake him of, and break him inside

Joe fought to be visible, but was restricted and strained

Her disability was a downfall, she was un- attentive, it pained.

Figuratively speaking her dad was ashamed

Having an unresponsive daughter, there was nothing he gained,

He felt like Joe, was a flaw, on the families name

Having still no luck in sex, bothered him in fright,

So began winding up his wife with deceptive lies,

Weakened his good intentions, for Joe and his wife.

Feeling jealous, getting less attention then joe,

So he looked for ways, so his daughter would go.

But since that weren’t occurring he plotted little Joe’s death

His thoughts were like poisonous gasses

And family friends were, interfering threats,

observing his life, like how a predator watches it’s prey

So in the end he packed up, escaping far, far away.

http://www.chapter.org/joeegg

Review ‘Real Human Being’ Taking Flight Theatre by Tanica Psalmist

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Forum Theatre techniques were used to educate the public.

Aimed to reinforce the knowledge of right and wrong; with a simple ’Stop’ ‘Rewind’ and ‘Go’.

Any one could participate or insinuate to play a specific role,

It took us further into a deeper dimension where we discussed ideas and social dynamical views,

A story about Prejudiced behaviour, insecurities and discrimination.

The actress with a significant role, imposed mental frustration, as we watched the victim in distress.

Hot seating, thought tracking was pursued, giving us all a wider concept, to analyse each actor internally undressed.

Psychologies lead to different people wanting to get involved. It was an interesting play, dominating problems in school.

This theatre piece was wonderfully devised, integration of those in the disabled community, wilfully were involved.

Based of real life issues, real-life experiences from pupils, was printed in to the script,

This made it twice as effective, especially with young pupils words incorporated

To ensure the script was deeply sincere and powerful words were resonated.

Energy from the actors, was so strong they made you feel how they felt,

The production ‘Real Human Being’ was generally a nail biting, eyes watering, uplifting play,

Especially when insecure, venerable Alice found a friend, who helped her mental state

I’ll happily fund, to have it run again to ensure, a certain aspect, effects someone, the same way.

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http://www.takingflighttheatre.co.uk

 

Review The Rocky Horror Show by Danielle O’Shea

 

 

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(5 / 5)

The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of an alien transvestite, the games he plays with his goody-two-shoes visitors and him creating his ideal man in a camp satirical comedy that will blow your mind.

The New Theatre with its old-fashioned charm makes for a marvellous venue that helps Luscombe’s interpretation of the hit musical shine even brighter. As usual, the fans form a community that seems just as much as part of the show as the characters, even having their own witty replies to lines in the show. Spicing up the script, the insertion of topical jokes gives the script, which most of the audience had sworn to memory, an unexpected twist.

Philip Franks, as the narrator, takes the audience on a thrilling ride adding his own twists and turns through banter with the audience and makes what seems like a small part, one of the most significant parts of the show. As well as this, Liam Tamne made the character of Frank-N-Furter come to life and lives up to and sometimes beyond those who’ve portrayed the character before them. Altogether, the cast are incredibly talented and their love for the show was as visible as that of the fans.

Rocky Horror is a cult classic that’s as fabulous as ever! If you need anything to secure your faith in musical theatre, then this is it. A magical show that can be enjoyed with so many people and brings the audience together in the most incredible way. Reserve your tickets now because they’ll be flying away fast and you need to see this.

 

Review Shirley Valentine, Light House Theatre Company by Danielle O’Shea

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(3 / 5)

 

Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell is the story of a middle-aged woman escaping the mundane cycle of her suburban life and finding out what it means to truly be alive.

Evan’s interpretation of Russell’s modern classic was charming in its simplicity. The one-woman show has its desired intimacy due to the short distance between audience and actress as well as there only being two settings. However, sometimes this simplicity turned to limitation where certain elements of the settings gave the suspended reality of the theatre a run for its money.

The majority of the audience had been drawn to the performance by the 1989 film however in the confines of the theatre some attempts at humour struck as outdated rather than nostalgic. As well as this, the charisma of Shirley Valentine was missing leading to a different view of the main character which came off more as pitiful than the relatable pop-culture symbol that many have grown to love.

It was a pleasant performance but due to theatrical limitations as well as the burden of being the sole cast member. Despite this Sonia Beck gave a good performance especially considering the pressure on her. But it seemed to fall short.

Shirley Valentine

Gwyn Hall, Neath

21st November 2016

Theatre Company: Lighthouse Theatre

Author: Willy Russell

Director: Dee Evans

Design: Anna Kelsey (Designer) Tony Davies (Sound Designer) Jonny Rees (Lighting Designer)

Stage management: Lisa Briddon (Company Stage Manager) Naomi Turner (Deputy Stage Manager)

Lead Technician: Andrew Merrell

Cast: Sonia Beck

Running Time: 2 hours

 

Review Choosers The Bread and Rose Theatre, Clapham Fringe, By Hannah Goslin

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(2 / 5)

In the top of this theatre pub, the Clapham Fringe has been conjuring an array of performances. This day, I happened to be seeing the show ‘Choosers’.

Choosers sees the meeting and friendship between two homeless men. Spanning only a few months and based all around one park bench, these two unlikely kindred spirits meet, and we are introduced to their past present and future.

The set it simple – one bench, the younger homeless man with a suitcase of bits and pieces, the other with only what is on his body. There are leaves pinned to the staging and strewn across the rostra to give that ‘park feeling’.

Our younger performer is a university student who has run away from his course, his home and his responsibilities, feeling unloved and unseen in comparison to his marine brother. The older, full of secrets, some of which we never find out, has been homeless for 5 years out of choice.

Both with a different story to tell, yet both choosing this life, our views on the homeless are challenged, from not only why they have chosen to become homeless, but to the way they live – the older actor says that begging isn’t right and that it should not be done. He makes friends to find food and we soon warm to him as he warms to the younger performer. The younger performer is annoyingly young – perhaps slightly stereotyped, he is bouncy and full of naivety. At times it’s hard to keep up with his fast paced approach to the character, and becomes a little exhausting with consistent pacing.

Overall Choosers is a lovely performance, full of friendship and warmth, contradicting the world views on the homeless. Well worth a watch if you are able to keep up with the speed of the university character.

 

Review NDCW Autumn Tour ‘Folk’ by Tanica Psalmist

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A surreal world, with fanatical weight

Performed eight, Eastern-European dancers, with different mental state’s

With significant traits, they all took us on a visual journey

Dancing their way through a contemporary, dynamical theory.

Whilst individually reaching their peak, through dancing only did they speak,

Expressions, Tones, intertwined mixed emotions frantically

Erupt, corrupt you saw poison in each character’s guts

Each motion, devastation, made you attentive to their synchronisation

Each subtle flow, every blow, every dramatic move, each hard gesture that looked smooth

One scene was a circular pattern with no gaps, just them walking in bare feet,

Tight, narrowed direction they walked, as the drumming tone hit home

Witnessing to all, who gathered interpretations of their own

Mine was the constant spinning of a world, that we live in

Formulating different connections and identities to who’ve we’ve grown in.

The elements of every dance move, physically so strong, gripping you at your feet as they exhilaratingly, followed along.

Enchanting your mind, through the multiple conventions,

The tree upside down, made you wither into your own imagination

Native tongue, of French descent, grasped a different interpretation.

Charismatic music echoed, as the dancers moved in utter fabrication.

Different themes of love, social dynamic’s was explored in a world of dark, comic indication.

Animated features, made you laugh, a penguin and its posture, of what the dancer conveyed it to be, was interestingly unique.

Another power scene, portraying to the viewers that your interpretations to what exists, in your head is how it ought to be.

Freedom to express, talk as you like, stand up, obnoxiously move in a crowd, being big, swaying loud, being persistent in what you do and speaking in your comfortable native tongue in a community, where no-one understands accept you, Is entirely down to you.

That was my connection with Folk, and the production design as well as the dancing crew, grew on me.

So fortunate to attend, and watching the dancers pull through till the end.

Folk to me is living in a surreal world that mentally, emotionally and physically, comes alive as a believable, existing world where you desire to survive and let your feelings stay alive.

Review The Sewing Group, The Royal Court by Hannah Goslin

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(5 / 5)

After being away for a while, my Royal Court cravings were high, so to be back and excited to what I was about to see was a lovely feeling.

As always, the Royal Court produces performances that make me feel as if I am entering a new theatre. Their spaces are so transformative, even the proscenium arch. However, this time we were upstairs and this space continues to be new, disorientating me in a good way as I try to think back to previous productions and how it was styled. It’s like a completely new place.

The Sewing Group begins exactly as it sounds. We feel intrusive – the staging a simple wooden box with 2/3 women sat on stools sewing. Dressed in Amish style clothing, I begin to feel apprehensive – would this be a really intense piece? It did not seem at first as if this simple set up would be funny or surprising… boy was I wrong.

Directorially – this piece is brilliant and clever. Short scenes – and I mean short, perhaps only a few minutes are stylised with immediate black outs and tingy music. Each time it’s as if we see a snap shot, creating the element of passing time. The two women sat sewing at first, limited speaking or movement, remind me much of the beginnings of a horror film – quiet yet concentrated, not revealing much, the entry of a third woman, an outsider brings home this element as she reacts to their strange ways just as we do. The character’s quickly become more 3 dimensional – revealing more about themselves, their village and with the new arrival, some comedic moments come out.

Without any spoilers, these performers bring such interesting characters and elements to the piece, that you cannot fail be engaged. As the relationships and events progress, the scenes become more intense, more comedic, more emotional and to do this in short scenes is a triumph to the actor’s capabilities.

The Sewing Group is surprising and enjoyable. Something that begins with apprehension to its creativity and a feeling that it may not be liked, soon becomes fantastic, intelligent and makes you wonder why you ever doubted The Royal Court’s brilliance.

The Sewing Group

Nora, The Bread and Rose Theatre, Clapham Fringe by Hannah Goslin

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(1 / 5)

Written and performed by Portuguese artists, Nora is a take on Ibsen’s classic ‘A Doll’s House’. Taking the female character, David Silva has created this piece, highlighting the past and present of the character and her question of who she is. We see Nora when with her husband and family to once she has left them to find herself. This abstract piece crosses the boundaries of both past and future and takes a look at the female’s identity.

This performance is basic with its design in staging, costumes and movement which at first is lovely and exciting. Both performers have studied physical theatre and there is an attempt to bring this into the piece. Heavy footed, the physicality does not seem well executed and at times seems as if it is thrown in to make this piece weird and wonderful when it doesn’t need to be. Trying to blur the lines, there is interaction between the two Nora’s but alleviating to no real event or conclusion.

Both of the performers are very different and perhaps with the time state that each are meant to be in [past and future] it is this way to show the difference between the progression of these characters. However, there needs to be some similarity to the characters and unfortunately there is not, making it feel as if we are just watching two unhinged characters wearing similar clothing – and that being the only similarity.

I really wanted to enjoy this piece – you can see what they are trying to do and where they are trying to go but unfortunately it does not hit the mark and you find yourself either waiting for some big change in the piece or for the production to end.

 

Review NDCW Autumn Tour ‘Folk’ by Helen Joy

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(4 / 5)

Profundis, They Seek to find the Happiness they Seem, Folk

Profundis

In whispered tones of reverence, I am told: it is, oooh, wonderful, you’re in for a treat…

A woman in purple stands hugging herself in dance. She is singular, beautiful.

The spot light shifts to a gloriously sexy scene, a woman in white revelling in her spot-lit body writhes on the stage. She is right in front of me, I can see into her eyes. I am mesmerised. Carted away by men in black, the performance erupts into a fantasy of colour, dance, commentary, music and comedy. It is at once surreal, curious and charming. Sinister. Younger audiences find this funnier; we are awkward, we laugh in the wrong places. The dancers say that they find their voices in dance not in language but have enjoyed this challenge, being free to be themselves, to speak, to interpret freely within the confines of the psalm. De Profundis.

It is the creation of genius. It has the feel of a masterpiece. It is an abstract painting come to life. It is Kandinsky dancing. Of all the images, I am left with the man in red knuckling his way across the floor, man as ape as movement to music. A treat, indeed.

The Seek to Find the Happiness They Seem

Dance partners in black and navy and they trip through the dark, faces lit like portraits looming out of Rembrandt. Oh, this is exquisite. They are so lovely to watch. Perfectly in unison, Fred and Ginger ducking and diving and dancing in front of us, I can feel the warm swoosh of air across my face as they sweep past.

To Richter, they fail, their sense of loss and confusion is complete.

Folk

Bosch. It is a Bosch in all its painted madness cavorting in front of us. It is a crazy world. It rises from the soil of Autumn leaves into this crepuscular land. It is a topsy turvy place, a slight inversion, sensitive to struggling personality, to groupings, pairings and isolation.

Something warm and heavy, muted and visceral, carefully cadaverous, so beautiful from a distance but gently sinister close up. It is a convoluting palette of earth. It is breathtaking.

To see these dancers up close and personal, the bandages on their toes, the straps around their knees, the sweat on their faces, each muscle flexing, is to see perfection. To hear their feet feel the ground, to see expression in every tiny movement, is to see beauty.

I want to pull this piece into the night air, I want to let them free to scatter real leaves, dancing under real trees.

I want to press Stop: I want to fix them like statues and examine every moment. I cannot watch it all and I have missed so much but oh, I have taken something magical, ethereal, wonderful away with me.

http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en

Enjoyed:         14th November, 2016 at NDCW, Cardiff

Profundis

Choreography:             Roy Assaf

Music and Sound:       Uoon I, Alva Noto (Vrioon Electronic)
Enta Omri, Umm Kulthum (Original 1964 Live Recording)

Lighting Design:          Omer Sheizaf

Costume Design:          Angharad Matthews

Costume:                     Deryn Tudor

Angharad Griffiths

 

They Seek to Find the Happiness They Seem

Choreographer:        Lee Johnston

Music:                                    Max Richter

Lighting:                     Joe Fletcher

Costume:                   Zepur Agopyan

Dancers:                    Matteo Marfoglia, Elena Thomas

Folk

Choreographer:        Caroline Finn

Visual Artist:             Joe Fletcher

Music:                                    Assorted (see website below)

Lighting:                     Joe Fletcher

Costume:                   Gabriella Slade

Dancers:                    Josef Perou, Camille Giraudeau, Matteo Marfoglia, Mathieu Geffre, Angela Boix Duran, Elena Thomas, David Pallant, Josie Sinnadurai, Ed Myhill

 

 

http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/what-s-on/autumn-tour-folk/