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Review On the Brink Dirty Protest by Helen Joy

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

5 plays held in the basement of a coffee bar in central Cardiff & I am reminded of how much my old town has changed as I wander streets now unfamiliar & ask a dozing homeless person how he is.

This has always been an area where the homeless gathered – public loos & the food-bins of the market & Marksies. One man told me 128 people sleep here sometimes. Change falls out of his hands as he falls asleep. I watch him for a while, concerned, as the night revellers wander by.

Another man, bare-chested & carrying his life on his back, sweeps into the bar as we enjoy our pre-theatre drinks. I am not sure what he says but the crowd is silenced momentarily & once he has gone, someone claims his actions & words as part of the production. I’m not sure I find that funny.

Merlot & speciality beers drunk, we trot downstairs into the basement of the bar & find ourselves in a bright white small room with school chairs & bunting. Very nice neat clever photos of Cardiff streets around us & a feeling of Bohemian comfort pervades.

A bouncy introduction & we’re off.

A rapid monologue performed with the jerky nervousness required of the part. Quick & Dirty, ‘shocking proper shocking, mind’ – it is excellent: a well-written bit of life which leaves us wondering, what are they planning with those nylons?

Then, a couple splitting up. Hard to be different but some good lines here, ‘I don’t like the sound of a world without you in it’ & as the pace picks up & their story unfolds, we feel for them in their, ‘small, lonely & broken’ states.

Ok, so 3 people are sitting together discussing something to do with a college award & it is sometimes satirical, sometimes topical, sometimes political: ‘I do not fuck pigs’ & for some reason, Charterhouse cops it repeatedly. It gets its laughs from an audience who gets it – but I don’t – until the last lines, ‘so, how do you think the interview went?’ ‘I’m going to fucking crucify you’. Difficult to act & a job well done.

So, we have Brian. He apparently takes 19 minutes to produce a stool. This is a seriously clever play. The narrator perambulates around Brian, his date & his life & his life’s end, engaging easily with us, the audience, the inactive voyeurs of a man’s death by fork. I would like to see this again; no, I would love to see this again.

Another play about a couple failing to see eye to eye. Pokemon & pregnancy. There is a really nice use of silence here, a really nice use of few words, gentle body language, excitement, knowledge & heartbreak. Nothing new perhaps but it was moving, it touched me.

Lastly, the builder with the pint glass & the mobile phone. ‘Ah fookin’ needed tha’ & he tells us his story with grace, humour & tremendous pathos. We expect one thing, we get another. I suspect that I am not alone in being upset by this work. It manages to touch on the many angles of life: the dangers in loving someone, the need to keep up appearances, the roles we are all expected to play & the risk of exposure, ‘I knew ah’d look like wha’ ah am’. Brilliant. Truly brilliant.

This is a theatre company well-worth following & perhaps, joining in…

I wander back to my car past the late-night Tesco shoppers & the party-goers, bump into folk I haven’t seen for 17 years & am glad to get home. I wonder how the homeless are faring this muggy night.

 Event:             On the Brink

                        Dirty Protest Theatre Company

Seen:              9pm, 18th August, 2016

Cast:
Non Haf
Hannah Thomas-Davies
Rhys Downing
Richard Elfyn

Directed by Dan Jones

Produced by Angela Harris, Matthew, Catherine and yourself.

The plays in order of appearance:

1) CHIP SHOP DINNER by Remy Beasley
With Non Haf playing Kayleigh-Jade.

2) THE SPLIT by Sian Owen
With Hannah Thomas-Davies playing Ruth & Rhys Downing playing Michael.

3) THE AT SYMBOL by Gary Raymond
With Rhys Downing as A, Non Haf as B & Hannah Thomas-Davies as C.

4) THE SUICIDE OF BRIAN by Justin Cliffe
With Richard Elfyn as Narrator, Rhys Downing as Brian, Hannah Thomas-Davies as Flora & Non Haf as Waitress.

5) WHAT NOW by Connor Allen
With Non Haf as Kate & Rhys Downing as Tommy.

6) ‘THE BOSS’ by Matthew David Scott
With Richard Elfyn as Tony.

Reviewer:      Helen Joy for 3rd Act Critics

Running:        17th August, 2016, at The Pen & Wig, Newport

18TH August, 2016, at Little Man Coffee Company

Cost :                       £6 / ticket in advance, £7 on the door

Links:              http://www.dirtyprotesttheatre.co.uk/comingup/

 

Review The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Mischief Theatre, Criterion Theatre by Hannah Goslin

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5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Mischief theatre are a company to watch. After seeing their previous productions of ‘The Play that goes Wrong’ and ‘Peter Pan goes Wrong ‘ I am fully aware of what brilliance is to ensue.

I chose to bring my country parents to this production as I knew their love of Laurel and Hardy all the way up to their ‘controversial ‘love of Mrs Brown’s Boys, they would find this a treat.

Different to their previous works, this time they are not a ‘amateur company’ who’s shows keep going wrong, but the premise is a real storyline, with little elements of previous techniques of audience involvement, stage and prop ‘malfunctions’ and excellent acting and comic timing.

I find each time I see them that they up their game – where they find the constant energy to keep to such a fast paced storyline is excellent and they never miss a comic beat.

Mischief theatre will be broadcasting a live edition of Peter Pan goes Wrong on the BBC this Christmas – if you want to get as hooked on this company as I am, check them out on the TV and live!

Review Suicide Squad By Jonathan Evans

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2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5)

Suicide Squad is a movie that takes place after Batman v Superman and focuses it’s attention on the villains of this universe. Further evidence that these creators have abandoned any wholesome or optimistic views of this world and these characters of superheroes.

This is one of those movies that has a team assembled for a job. Always with that comes the fact that you must rapidly introduce a cast of characters, get us invested in them and tell a full story. A difficult task.

For said team, the members consist of: Harley Quinn, a fan favorite that is finally getting her live action debut, in terms of casting Margot Robbie was the right choice with her cute face and ability to blend both bubbly fun, sadistically dangerous and tragically in love. The other is also the fan favourite of Deadshot, played by the always charismatic Will Smith, he is the wisecrack, expert marksman that can make demands and insult whoever he wants because he never misses. Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) serves as someone to keep an eye on them for the government, a stern solider with an emotional weakness. Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), a crazed Australian that, for some reason, has mastered the boomerang (as the name implies). El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) a former gang-banger with fire powers that is now a pacifist. Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) a deformed man that looks like a crocodile and society has turned into a monster. Enchantress a literal magical being that posses the body of a girl (Cara Delevingne). Katana (Karen Fukuhara), who wields a sword, and wears a mask, she doesn’t really have much else going for her beyond that. Smith and Robbie are definitely the best parts of the movie, they are the ones that have the most grasp on their characters and are given the most screen time and development.

Most of these character are sadistic, morally lacking characters that are also undefined. There is no reason we should like them beyond some of the, sort-of, cool things they do at times and they are our leading characters, whether we like them or not. But maybe we could grow to like them but are simply not even given any time to, what little we do get is a jumbled forced mess of montage edited together segments of exposition.

The other big name in the movie is Jared Leto playing The Joker. This is the next live action Joker since the character defining Heath Ledger performance in The Dark Knight so there’s much to live up to. Though I don’t believe you should compare one performance of these characters to another and simply let them stand on their own, it is difficult because Ledger left such an impact on the character. His performance isn’t “Rock Star” surprisingly, more like a crazed, brain fried gangster. I feel the talent that I know Leto is capable of, but there is an obvious lack of direction and grasp on what this character is. His look has parts good and parts tacky awfulness. White skin, neon green slicked back hair and thin psyche is good, but some of his wardrobe and inclusion of tattoos (literally having “Damaged written across his forehead”) are something that are tasteless and ludicrous with a complete lack of subtlety.

What is the plot that brings this team together? Good question. Well the Enchantress is actually bad and summons her brother, and is opening a gate to…hell? Another dimension? Where they can take over the world I guess, they make an army of other-worlds creatures, so maybe. I honestly cannot fully explain it, it is too complicated and too forced and nobody will care.

The movie unfolds be having forced exposition for its characters and scenarios by merely having their backstory summed-up with a few words from someone. Then forget about that its time to hit something. This is like how Fury Road operated but, where this movie fails where that one succeeded is that there was all the backstory and motivations worked out and they were intricately worked into every aspect of the character, from they’re wardrobe, performances and dialog. This is much less interested in getting us invested and rather saying snarky dialog and doing crazy things.

What really hurts this movie is that we have seen this literal concept, with most of these characters already done before. The directed to DVD animated movie Assault on Arkham. That movie was able to have a cast of characters, get us to know them, have them be villainous, but also likable and tell a whole story. Under an hour and a half.

The visuals of the movie are like something out of an MTV music video from the nineties. Fast editing, neon colors, lack of taste as well as subtlety. However I can say that this movie has a visual style and still knows that there is a thing called color and is a vital tool to use. So it is more vibrant that the murky, primarily gray looking movies that have come before.

For some of it you’ll be entertained, slightly. But for the most part you will be bored. But this is a movie that is seeking to entertain, trying to be energetic and fun. It fails, but at least it has its characters smiling, which is still a step-up from the recent movies. Yes the characters are morally lacking but they are villain, so that makes sense. But these aren’t as likeable and fun as Guardians of The Galaxy, nor is the characterisation as efficient as Assault on Arkham. But it still has energy, colour and smiles instead of still moodiness, so its a step-up from the previous movies.

Review, Steel Magnolias, The Hope Theatre by Hannah Goslin

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4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Steel Magnolias is a well known 80’s film with Julia Roberts – an almost cult film it could be suggested.

So it is perhaps unforgivable that myself and my friend have never seen it. I wonder whether the tears my mother sheds after each viewing was a slight put off to watching it. I don’t think I ever wanted to know the sadness.

In a very 80’s style hairdressers in a transverse set up, the styling, the costumes, the hair is all shining Pretty Woman, The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles.

The storyline is a great combination of fun, comical, relatable and sad.  It would seem that not much happens – 5 women run through the year, trading stories, make up tips, tales of men…one may say it is all slightly un-feminist and stereotyped. But it’s all true – it’s all what small town women would talk about and what they would do.

We are drawn into their story very easily. It holds us and at times I wondered how such simple yet witty writing is keeping me from getting distracted. Of course the combination of comedy and reality hooks us but it’s only instilled this way by the wonderful and natural performances of each actor.

Steel Magnolias has you hooked and always crying, whether this is from laughing or because it has touched your heart.

Spending Time Credits at the Tower of London by Hannah Goslin

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Thanks to Spice Time Credits, I recently had a wonderful trip to the Tower of London.

My parents were visiting from Devon and I wanted to treat them. Since their last visit to the Tower 35 years ago, the history and memory was a bit vague and I, was a complete newbie.

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We had no issues with accessing the Tower with our tickets- joining the free tour that happens every 30 mins which was full of comedy and excitement by our animated Beefeater guide and on such a gorgeous sunny day, the compound shone as bright as the Crown Jewels.

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Without the use of these Credits, I doubt we would have accessed such a brilliant historical and cultural day out in the rare British sunshine. Thanks Time Credits!

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Hannah earned her Spice Time Credits reviewing for http://getthechance.wales . All members earn when attending and reviewing a range of sport and cultural events.

Further information on the Spice Time Credit network can be found at the link. http://www.justaddspice.org/get-involved/get-started-with-time-credits

Review Clear-Cut 6 M.A.D.E. – by Amelia Seren Roberts

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Origami Reinkarnasjon performed by Simon Gore and Jack Rees

Traditional Sephardic lullabies, liberated CCTV Footage and choreography merging Jane Eyre with the tunes of PJ Harvey are among the diverse acts at Clear-Cut 6 programme of experimental performance arts.

The audience clamours for position in the gallery space at M.A.D.E; spectators gather at the back and the edges of the room, whilst others nestle amongst the many cushions and pallet boxes laid out for our comfort. The atmosphere is one of anticipation, but also of fun and togetherness. After reading through the programme at the beginning of the evening, I find myself curious about each of the seven experimental acts in turn. Clear-Cut is an event unlike anything I have attended before, and the diversity of the audience and acts alike is immediately apparent. The evening is a showcase of video works, dance, spoken word, performance, visual arts, new music and more. To experience this diversity of performance in a single event is impressive. It’s something of a one-stop culture stop.

Where genres collaborate and collide”, Clear-Cut 6.

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Will Salter, host of the evening and Dada performer

Will Salter is our animated host; himself performing Dada poetry at intervals throughout the evening to great effect. His verbal explosions punctuate the spaces between acts, and mischievously disrupt the audience should they grow too comfortable. Dada retains a long history with experimental performance related to (or in denial of) the fine arts, which makes the presence of the genre particularly appropriate on this occasion.

Our agenda for the evening is jam-packed, prompting fears that we might not achieve all seven acts. In actuality, the evening is well-structured whilst maintaining a casual and friendly atmosphere.

Marega Palser merges literature, illustration and popular music in, ‘Jane Eyre, The DarkSide...’ Initially inspired by Paula Rego’s illustrations of the novel by Charlotte Bronte, Palser’s performance really is a highlight of the evening. The artist said of the inspiration for the work, “each picture told a story; mysterious often to my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundly interesting…” Palser describes the piece as, “a thought in progress…” and the work curiously encompasses elements of the unknown. The piece reveals something of an internal conflict, which ultimately dictates movement, yet there is undeniably confidence in the madness.

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 ‘Jane Eyre, The DarkSide…’ performed by Marega Palser

IdentiTTy’ by Arnaldo James and collaborators is a film which asks more questions than are answered. “Does ethnicity or origin come through when skin tone is homogenised? Is morphology reflected by environment? Can identity be conveyed through dance and abstract non-verbal storytelling?“ The potentially fluid and reactionary nature of cultural identity is explored in this choreographed video work. Referencing Japanese Butoh and Creole traditions alongside more indigenous Trinidadian movement the piece claims to examine, “the similarities that occur in different cultures through movement and music”. The piece is visually stunning.

Nicholas Morgan & Margot Przymierska perform as the collective, ‘Parallel Lines’. In, ‘That’s the family you have’ Nicholas and Margot divulge separate yet intertwining stories, “improvising around box-set narratives and the immediate, subjective experiences of our own lives, collapsing characters, time & space, fiction & reality”. Their simultaneous telling of the circumstances surrounding the funeral of a relative, alongside an audio description of moments from the popular series ‘Game of Thrones’ captivated the Clear-Cut 6 audience and was at once sensitive and hilarious.

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 ‘That’s the family you have’ performed by ‘Parallel Lines’,  Nicholas Morgan & Margot Przymierska

Meanwhile, above the performance space, the gallery plays host to a film and sculpture installation by contemporary artist, Merran Singh Dubb. ‘Temple of Consciousness’ explores the relationship between the declining condition of the natural environment and the similarly marred spiritual condition of humankind. “It is evident that we are destroying the planet but ultimately, we are destroying ourselves”. The installation thoughtfully presents imagery representing spirituality alongside the elemental extremes of natural disaster and climate change.

To close the event, ‘Trio Ladino‘, consisting of Angie Kirby, Bethan Frieze and Eloise Gynn are a trio of musicians and vocalists performing adaptations of Arabic and Sephardic traditional lullabies. The trio describe their sound as, “ancient melodies fused with more contemporary musical perspectives, anchored by lullaby-like themes and romantic narratives”. The performance is a calming and captivating conclusion to the Clear-Cut programme.

On reflection, improvisation and experimentation were certainly the order of the evening with every act proving both valuable and unique. The atmosphere was at the same time informal, friendly, supportive and progressive. Clear-cut is unlike anything I have seen and I will be attending from here on!

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 ‘Trio Ladino’ performers Angie Kirby, Bethan Frieze and Eloise Gynn

For a taste of Clear-Cut, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeQJ4MaIVtU

https://www.facebook.com/CardiffMADE/

Image credits to Glyn Owens and Sarah Vaughan-Jones.
Special thanks to M.A.D.E Gallery, Sarah Vaughan-Jones and all contributors and performers for the organisation of this event.

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Diversity in the Media by Amina Elmi

14010047_10209116700507288_1086472829_nWe live in a multi-cultural society with rich cultural heritage that is not being reflected on-screen. This needs to change. There is no excuse good or enough reason to justify the lack of representation in the media in this day and age.

Representation matters to people like me. People who want positive role models that we could relate to. That’s why when I was younger, I was hooked into any show where I saw a black female character. No matter the quality of the show or how it was written. This was because it was such a rarity to see this. Unfortunately for me, writers would try to pander to their audience by feeding them stereotypes of sassy angry black women. The negative stereotypes are not just a problem for black viewers. Minorities are consistently forced into stereotypical roles that society perceives them to be. These characters would be less important, predictable and ultimately unnecessary. One reason for this is the lack of diversity behind the scenes. How can straight white writers relate to the experiences of minorities?

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Even when minorities are cast they are faced with prejudiced voices speaking up to raise their objections. Some may remember when John Boyega was cast as a Stormtrooper in Star Wars. The global outcry of racists exclaimed “White Genocide” and that the film studio was conforming to the “PC Agenda” Boyega was bombarded to with hatred fuelled racist tweets. Does their imagination not stretch enough for other ethnicities or is it limited at intergalactic wars?

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Cast member Kristen Wiig at the LA Premiere of Ghostbusters.

Another example of fury when Diversity is applied was the all-female Ghostbusters reboot. “They’re ruining my childhood” cried familiar prejudiced voices. Their childhood is over and has been for quite a while now. What they are neglecting to notice is that this movie has provided a younger generation with strong female role models. It seems that whenever diversity is enforced there is backlash. How can change be implemented if we are met by defiance at every turn?

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Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange

Ridiculously, ethnic minorities are even unable to get cast in non-white roles. This is called Whitewashing and it occurs when a white actor is cast in the role of a non-white character. It is not uncommon for this to happen. A recent example of this is the upcoming Marvel Movie Doctor Strange. Tilda Swinton plays an Asian character in this film. Essentially the film will be a “white woman teaching a white man Asian culture.” There is no debate on the capabilities of Swinton. She is a talented actress but she is simply unsuitable for this role. If people of colour are losing non-white roles to white actors, then what hope do they really have?

An argument against diversity is that it is too much of risk to cast minorities. Studios fear losing viewers and money. However diverse televisions shows and films are advantageous to studios and have a track record of being successful. Television shows that have a diverse cast have higher ratings. Examples of this include ‘Scandal’, ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ and ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’. Films coincide with this. Those with diverse casts make notably more money. For example, the extremely popular ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise. The summer blockbuster ‘Suicide Squad’ saw found that 39% of its ticket buyers were Black and Hispanic. The movie boasted a diverse and multi-cultural cast.

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The cast of Suicide Squad

We know that diversity does work and that it is not a risk. So why does Hollywood remain white?

An Interview with playwright Kelly Jones

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Playwright Kelly Jones

Get the Chance values the role playwrights living and working in Wales bring to the cultural life of our nation. Here is our second interview in this series with  playwright Kelly Jones.

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

I’m Kelly, a playwright and occasional performer based in Cardiff. Originally a Dagenham girl, I’ve lived in Wales since 2007. I moved here to study the final year of my degree at Swansea Met and never went back. My course was mainly performance based but after graduating I realised this wasn’t something I wanted to do, so I began writing. I took part in various writing initiatives to hone my craft and develop my voice and I got asked to write for a few shorts nights.

In 2013 I decided to leave my full time job in a betting shop to go full time freelance. It was the scariest and most exciting thing I have ever done. I’d been offered a place on NTW’s summer camp, however, my work said I couldn’t have the time off to go so I quit – It was a real now or never moment.

Since then I have won the Wales Drama Award with a play of mine called TAMMY, got an agent and have been offered commissions from various theatres. Oh and I also got married, which was very exciting! So that’s me.

So what got you interested in writing then Kelly?

When I was at university we did a unit called ‘ Writing for performance’ – I hated it. But after graduating I started writing parts for myself to show work at scratch nights and I caught the writing bug! It developed from there

I suppose the main reason I wanted to write was because I never felt there were parts for me; that said what I wanted to say about the world that I lived in at that time.

In my work I like to write life and put real people that I know at the heart of the action. Growing up in Dagenham I was led to believe that a career in theatre wasn’t meant for a girl like me by both peers and teachers. Fortunately I grew up in a very supportive family full of natural born storytellers and as a result I love to tell stories, of course I was meant for theatre! I like to challenge the idea of who theatre is for and often find myself using my upbringing in London and rooting in Wales as start points for my work.

You were part of the Sherman Theatres Young Writers Programme, how did this work?

Yeah, so not long after I moved to Cardiff I got involved with the Sherman’s Company 5 drama group, ran by Jason Camilleri and Llinos Mai. We did a performance piece of monologues we’d written about things that had happened to us. I wrote a comedy piece about when I came out as gay to my family. Llinos  really liked it and put me in touch with Sian Summers who used to be the literary manager at the Sherman and she invited me to be on the program. The program was so great! I learnt a hell of a lot and just being surrounded by other writers was motivating and inspiring. Alan Harris was a great teacher!

I think it’s incredibly important for writers to meet other writers; being a writer can be a lonely job and sometimes it just helps to have someone else to chat to.

As a playwright a lot of your work is funded through grants and the like have you ever approach the Arts Council of Wales or similar organisations for funding or support?

I have a good relationship with Arts Council Wales and have been very fortunate to receive funding from them. They’re approachable and friendly as an organisation and are always happy to help if you have questions.

I’ve found getting venues to produce your work is difficult in Wales and if you don’t self-produce sometimes unfortunately your work won’t get on.

As funding is limited I always try and seek it from other sources or contribute my own funds so that the amount I’m asking for is less. Sometimes this isn’t always possible but it’s important to get to know what else is out there.

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Kate Rowland (BBC Writersroom), Kelly Jones, Faith Penhale (BBC Wales Drama), John McGrath (Ex Artistic Director National Theatre Wales)

You were the winner of the Wales Drama Award 2014 that’s a brilliant achievement!, can you please tell us more about this award.

I still can’t quite believe it to be honest! It’s been nearly two years and it has opened so many doors for me. The award is a biannual prize given to a writer in Wales, supported by NTW/BBC Wales and BBC Writersroom. I submitted the first time it was launched in 2012 but didn’t get anywhere and to be honest the play was awful. I wrote what I thought the judges wanted which is not a good idea.

Before I submitted in 2014 I attended the session about the award hosted by the Sherman and it was during that session that I had the idea for my play, TAMMY. I submitted a real rough and ready first draft and never expected to get passed the first round. When the email came through to say I’d be shortlisted to the final 4 I laughed then cried then phoned my mum.

The next stage was an interview with the judges at Roath Lock, where we had to pitch two ideas- it was scary! I pitched a play and a TV series; the play is now a seed commission with NTW and the series in development with BBC Wales. I really enjoyed the interview process. Post winning; Lucy Gannon was appointment my TV mentor and Sherman Co produced a reading of my winning script TAMMY with NTW. There have been so many great things to come off the back of the award and I am excited for the next winner to start their journey.

 As a playwright award-winning playwrights Tim Price and most recently Katherine Chandler have mentored you. Why is this mentoring process important for playwrights? Do you think this support is something that should be funded for playwrights in Wales?

I think it is so important to have a mentor no matter what stage you are at. Mentors are a support and resources. Whether you want to talk something through with them or get them to read something of yours, that’s what they’re there for. Both Tim and Kath were great for me at different stages of my career.

In terms of funding it’d be great if their was funding for peer-to-peer mentoring.

I often get asked to read writers work and am more than happy to do it. However I’m not able to always give it the time it needs. I think funding could help free up some time to devote to it. A nurturing mentor program for writers would be great to help develop the next generation of talent.

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 Your play Blud was performed at the Other Room, it was set in the world of female football, which isn’t often seen on stage. Is presenting diverse views of the world important to you?

For me BLUD felt like a play about where I grew up. The women in my family are more into the football that the men and girls like Rita are ones I used to go to school with when I was a teenager.

I’d say it’s important to me that the world I know is represented on stage and with authenticity. I get very annoyed when I see something that plays to all the ‘poverty porn’ stereotypes. Especially when they’re written by someone who grew up in Chelsea who ain’t got a clue about growing up in a council house. I feel similarly about LGBT characters. A lot of my community work is with LGBT organisations and gay representation is very important in my work. I write and volunteer for LGBT organisations is to combat this. Authentic representation is very important and I would never attempt to write something I didn’t fully understand or have a personal relationship to.

 In your personal opinion what sort of support networks are there for playwrights in Wales, can more be done?

I think the biggest support network for writers in Wales is other writers. I think more could be done; I’m not quite sure what but maybe a writer led discussion would help to tackle this.

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To bring us up to date this autumn your play Snout will form part of A Play A Pie and a Pint and be performed at the Sherman Theatre/ ÒRAN MÓR. The synopsis of the play sounds intriguing! I wonder if you can tell us more?

Yes. The inspiration came from an article I read about fashion designers who we’re tattooing pigs and posthumously using their tattooed skin to make handbags, that sell for thousands of pounds. I began reading of farmers who were also doing this but using the pigs as blank canvases to advertise local businesses and help local economy. I found this fascinating and began writing. I was particularly shocked at this heightened level of exploitation to satisfy the demand for a handbag made from a tattooed animal. Animals are voiceless and as one of the most intelligent animals, pigs don’t have a say in this. It made me think of parallels to slavery, exploitation of some communities and modern day sexism.

So, the play is set in the back of a van on its way to the slaughterhouse. It shows the last hour in pigs Viv, Coco and Lacey’s life as they make plans to escape the chop. I wanted to question whether they have the right to escape when they were breed to be slaughtered and whether it’s right to kill animals for fashion that changes so often. I certainly wouldn’t want to end up as a jacket for Kim Kardashian.

Aesthetically, I wanted to play on the whole ‘Pie’ part of the evening and have the play feel like they audience are watching their dinner before it becomes their dinner- if that makes sense? The van is quite claustrophobic in a bit of lobster tank way and I want the audience to really feel for them whilst being surrounded by the smell of pork pies. It’s been amazing working with Oran Mor, Sherman and director Kenny Miller, it’s really allowed me to be bold in the choices I’ve made and write something really exciting. The first draft I submitted was quite different and Kenny really encouraged me to be braver and his support has been invaluable. I can’t wait for you all to see it

http://www.shermantheatre.co.uk/performance/theatre/a-play-a-pie-and-a-pint-november-16/

Thanks for your time Kelly!

 

Review Swarm, Fio by Corinne Cox

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A reminder that we are all human.’

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

 

As we congregate outside Butetown History and Arts Centre, our identity stripped back to little more than the number in our hand, Fio invite us to consider what life might be like if we were forced to leave everything we know and love behind in order to escape war and violence.

Civil war has broken out in the West. People are dying at the hands of the dictatorship and escape is the only option. The East can provide opportunities for some, but the fast track is only available to those with the right papers and the desired skills and experience. With our social media and newspapers plastered with news and images of mass migration to Europe, it is this reversal of roles which makes Swarm particularly interesting, directly provoking the audience to consider ‘What happens if this happened to us?’

“You’ve got a swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life” ­ David Cameron, July 2015

A defining feature of the media narrative surrounding immigration has undoubtedly been that of the dehumanisation of migrants. Swarm captures this brilliantly through Cara Jayne Readle’s portrayal of a Media Representative, reporting on the ongoing tragedy in the war struck west for the no doubt passive consumption of those back home.

As we are herded into the overcrowded transit centre where we wait to be processed, tensions run high amongst overstretched medical staff. Natalie Edward-Yesufu’s heart-breaking performance of a young nurse as she struggles with her feelings of hopelessness to change the devastating tragedy around her and the possibility of hope and a new life in the East.

As we navigate our way through the building certain aspects of the set create a particular degree of poignancy; a section of Ruth Stringer’s #2868 boats installation, a paper boat to represent the life of every Syrian refugee drowned or missing attempting to cross the Mediterranean so far in 2016;  children’s colourings created by members of the community cast as part of the performance created on pieces of paper bearing statistics of the unbelievable scale of death and devastation that the East has faced; screens with images of the horrifying conditions migrants face and the overplay of refugee voices all add to this already captivating narrative which examines how people in these situations are forced to act and interact with the circumstances placed upon them.

This timely and poignant site-specific performance reminds us, if we really needed reminding, that this is a human crisis.

Cast: Mathew David, Christina Dembenezi, Natalie Edward-Yesufu, Natalie Paisey, Cara Jayne Readle
Director: Abdul Shayek
Assistant Director: Chantal Erraoui
Producer: Alan Humphreys
Designer: Lizzie French
Stage Manager: Katie Bingham
Filmaker: Kym Epton
Community Cast: Jasmine Camilleri, Sahara Camilleri, Tia Camilleri, Josie Harding, Mira Lukawiecka, Stefan Lukawiecki, Donna Males, Geraint Stewart-Davies, Ananya Upadhyaya, Ayushi Upadhyaya, Akram Yasseen, Amani Yasseen.