2016 Cultural Highlights from the Get the Chance team

intro
Members of the Get the Chance team have selected their own personal highlights of 2016. Their first choice is that of three cultural events that they have reviewed  Their second is something they have personally experienced which has resonance for them as an individual.
3rd Act Critic Helen Joy
1 Tom Jones, The Musical Theatr na nÓg
Local boy made good in spectacular style by a local theatre company, brought alive through the lucky chance of sitting next to the daughter of the publican 
Review Tom: A Story of Tom Jones, The Musical by Helen Joy
2 Animatorium – Dance on the pavement with NDCW
getthechance.wales/2016/12/16/gala-night-national-dance-company-wales/
3 Kiss me Kate
“A feast WNO”
getthechance.wales/2016/12/09/kiss-kate-wno/
Personal Event of the year
“Being published, in a very minor capacity, in Country Smallholding magazine three times this year – and the latest article seemed to give so much pleasure to the group I reported on at the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival.”
Young Critic Amelia Seren
1. Clear-Cut @ M.A.D.E:
“The opportunity to catch a diverse range of artists or performers mid-thought, and to witness the creative process so intimately is valuable and rare. Clear-Cut is a must-see.”
getthechance.wales/2016/08/16/review-clear-cut-6-amelia-seren-roberts/
2. Cardiff Contemporary: Festival of the Visual Arts in Cardiff. [Especially the work of S. Mark Gubb at G39 and the opening of TactileBosch].
3. Sticky Intimacy @ Chapter: Works by Katie Cuddon, Emma Hart and Nicholas Pope.
Personal Event of the year
My personal highlight of 2016 has been graduating from Cardiff School of Art & Design with a First Class Masters Degree in Fine Art, [MFA]. I am extremely grateful for the knowledge I’ve developed whilst studying in Cardiff, as well as the opportunity to have gained valuable work experience in the arts in South Wales.
Community Critic Emily Garside
1. Romeo and Juliet Taking Flight
“For taking a classic Shakespeare play that is perhaps overly familiar for some and making it fresh and new by putting inclusive art at the centre of creativity rather than an add on or afterthought.”

TAKING FLIGHT THEATRE: ROMEO & JULIET | STAGE REVIEW


2.  Meet Fred Hijinx
“A clever, touching and at times hilarious look at life and the obstacles it throws at us (literally at times) through the eyes of two foot high puppet Fred”

Theatre | Meet Fred


3. A Good Clean Heart Neonatopia at The Other Room
“How could you not love a play that has a Dizzy Rascal rap in Welsh?”

Highlights of the Year 2016 Part 1


Personal Event of the year
‘My most important happening/event would be the Brexit vote, for being something that is likely to impact our lives (including cultural) but also for uniting people in the face of divisions as well.”
Young Critic Lauren Ellis Stretch 
1 Scorch Primecut Productions at the Sherman Theatre
“Scorch is electrifying. It alights, and it shocks, it launches you, and it takes no prisoners. Never have I wanted an actor to look me in the eyes more than Amy McAllister. She was fierce without anguish, and she was light without compromise. She is your friend.”
getthechance.wales/2016/09/07/review-not-i-scorch-sherman-cymru-lauren-ellis-stretch/
2 Bird The Sherman Theatre/Manchester Royal Exchange
Never have I experienced such encompassing performances. Bird holds  up a mirror to the real world and the audience are almost blinded by the familiar reflections.
getthechance.wales/2016/05/18/review-bird-sherman-cymru-lauren-ellis-stretch/
3 The Weir the Sherman Theatre/Tobacco Factory
“A classic of contemporary theatre; empathetic, voyeuristic, and unnerving”
getthechance.wales/2016/10/16/review-weir-sherman-theatre-lauren-ellis-stretch/
 
Young Critic Sian Thomas 
1 The Cardiff Book Festival
“I had such a brilliant time, and I was in my element surrounded by people who share the same interests as me and them being supportive and friendly. Though we were all at different stages of writing while some of us were published where others weren’t, it wasn’t even about that. It was nice that we were all there for our common interest and that alone which built us all up. I loved that day so much.”
2  Wolfsong by TJ Klune
“Definitely the best book I’ve read all year”
getthechance.wales/2016/09/01/review-wolfsong-tj-klune-sian-thomas/
3 Peter Pan at the Everyman Festival
“A truly wonderful production which I wholeheartedly enjoyed and would gladly see again.”
getthechance.wales/2016/08/01/review-disneys-peter-pan-everyman-festival-sian-thomas/
Personal Event of the year
“The most important thing is that I had ages this summer to work on my own writing and used that to my advantage. I was able to write a cohesive and structured 23,000 words, which is so important to me and something I am immeasurably proud of. I’ve continued working on it outside of this and instead in chunks and scenes around schoolwork to build it up before hopefully piecing it altogether soon.”
Community Critic Gemma Treharne Foose
1 Meet Fred, Hijinx at The Other Room
A work of art! A clever Japanese-inspired political puppetry tale of modern times. Completely original and unlike anything else out there.
getthechance.wales/2016/06/29/review-meet-fred-hijinx-theatre-gemma-treharne-foose/
2 Wonderman Gagglebabble/NTW/WMC at the Tramshed
“A jazzy and dreamy musical extravaganza – colour, joy, wit and wonder, inspired by Dahl and extra magic added courtesy of National Theatre Wales and the Wales Millennium Centre.”
getthechance.wales/2016/09/14/review-wonderman-gagglebabble-gemma-treharne-foose/
3 Bird The Sherman Theatre/Manchester Royal Exchange
A spot-on portrayal of growing up ‘in the system’ and the pervasive strength and bond of family and friends. Edgy, authentic and deeply moving. My stomach was in nots and I was a sweaty mess watching it!
getthechance.wales/2016/05/27/review-bird-sherman-cymru-gemma-treharne-foose/
Other memorable ones to note:
The Borrowers, The Sherman Theatre-  “I didn’t review it but saw with my family – completely beautiful production, fell in love with all the characters and cast – laughed, cried and left on a happy cloud. Superb!”
The Hunting of the Snark, The Sherman Theatre: “Again I didn’t review but saw it with my family – poignant and sweet, a funny romp of a tale with stand out characters.”
“The Sherman Theatre  is nailing these family shows, they don’t talk down to the audience, they bring them in for a ‘catch’ and a chuckle instead. There’s substance to the shows without being preachy or basic. I have thoroughly enjoyed the family productions there this year, faultless!”
Young Critic Hannah Goslin
1. Three Penny Opera – National Theatre
Three Penny Opera is a mixture of comedy, escapism and taboo challenging, all combined with fantastic acting, vocal accompaniment and overall, an excellent theatre concept.
getthechance.wales/2016/07/13/review-threepenny-opera-national-theatre-hannah-goslin/
2. Smash It Up – Mr & Mrs Clark, Battersea Arts Centre
“If there is only one thing you do this year, it should be to see any show by this formidable company. Their open and in your face opinion and protest to the state of art leaves you not only thinking but also rooting for them if you weren’t already involved In the conversation. Flying the flag for Wales – The Clarks have easily conquered London.”
getthechance.wales/2016/05/22/review-smash-mr-mrs-clark-battersea-arts-centre-hannah-goslin/
3. Unreachable – The Royal Court
“It was a joy and wonderful to see the actors finding the play just as funny as we did.”
getthechance.wales/2016/07/20/review-unreachable-the-royal-court-by-hannah-goslin/
Personal Event of the year
‘This year I decided to spend two months seeing a glimpse of the World. Travelling through South America, stopping in Canada, heading to Japan, Thailand, India and a quick dip in Abu Dhabi, I went away as one person and came back as a better one. I saw amazing things, met interesting people and found part of who I really am. An experience unlike any other.”
3rd Act Critic Barbara Michaels
1 The Marinsky  Ballet
Superlatives are usually to be avoided when writing a review. There are, however, exceptions. Perfection is the word that springs to mind. 5*

Mariinsky Ballet – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff


2 Mandela by the Cape Town Opera Company at the WMC
A unique piece of musical theatre and a history lesson.

Mandela Trilogy – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff


3 Romeo and Juliet Performed by the National Youth Theatre of Wales.
A cast of talented young actors under a brilliant artistic director daring to add their own interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

Romeo and Juliet – New Theatre, Cardiff


Personal Event of the year
“As for my own top personal cultural experience – it is yet to come. On Christmas Eve, no less, when as a surprise present my family is taking me to Sadler’s Well’s to see a performance of Matthew Bourne’s new ballet ‘The Red Shoes.’ It has had rave reviews. Will be touring, so hopefully coming to Cardiff in 2017.”
Young Critic Osian Evans
1. Hub Fest
“Hub fest was spot on this year with it’s street party vibe, I wish Womanby street was like that every weekend. Dancing to a silent disco in a courtyard was a highlight for me.”.
2 Cardiff’s screening of Rogue One
3  Swn Fest
“It’s just perfect. It’s a festival that not only showcases the City of Cardiff but also the wonderful atmosphere of the city.”
getthechance.wales/2016/11/01/review-swn-fest-osian-ifans/
Personal Event of the year
“My personal event would be Foyer Sessions on the 29th of April at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. Yeah I chose my own event and what!? That’s the reason it was personal, it was great to see that many people turn up to see some live music and look at some art.”
Young Critic Kaitlin Wray
1. Constellation Street The Other Room Theatre
“The monologues interlinked beautifully. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and would love to be taken on that journey again.”
getthechance.wales/2016/04/23/review-constellation-street-the-other-room-by-kaitlin-wray/
2. Henry VI by Omidaze at WMC
“I would recommend everyone to watch this show, Shakespeare fan or not. Omidaze are challenging theatre conventions even more than we’ve ever seen and you should be a part of this experience.”
getthechance.wales/2016/02/08/review-henry-vi-omidaze-by-kaitlin-wray/
3. Bird – Sherman Cymru/Manchester Royal Exchange
“Outstanding direction, a story that’s so raw I felt like I was trespassing into their private lives”
getthechance.wales/2016/05/22/review-bird-sherman-cymru-kaitlin-wray/
Young Critic Amina Elmi
1 The article I wrote on diversity.
“We know that diversity does work and that it is not a risk. So why does Hollywood remain white?”
getthechance.wales/2016/08/15/diversity-media-amina-elmi/
Personal Event of the year
The most important event of 2016 for me personally Brexit as it is something that seemed trivial to me at first as someone who could not legally vote at the time, but as the result came in that the Britain was leaving European union it became apparent that it was much more Complicated than I previously thought. The rise in hate crime has also been an issue that I care about strongly.”
3rd Act Critic Catherine Parkinson
Personal Event of the year
“A cultural highlight for me this year was the Roald Dahl weekend. I was in the massed choir for City of the Unexpected, so my cultural highlight of the year was singing a medley of Welsh songs at the gates of Cardiff Castle in front of an enormous crowd. It was topped off by the ‘marriage’ event at City Hall that evening with Delibes’ Flower Duet being performed by two Opera Singers on the roof of City Hall with a live orchestra – a real ‘goose-bump’ moment for me, made all the more poignant by the fact that this piece was played at our wedding as I am sure it is many weddings.
In terms of the most important event of the year it has to be the Brexit vote. As an ex Erasmus student that had the privilege of studying in Italy for a year as part of my first degree, and now working in a University Science department, I can’t tell you the gloomy atmosphere that pervaded the University after the result. Our international students and colleagues alike, took it very hard and we continue to fear what the effect will be on science funding and collaboration with our European counterparts in the future.”
Community Critic Sarah Debnham
1. Mamma Mia at The Wales Millennium Centre
“Without a doubt the best theatre show I’ve seen yet!”
getthechance.wales/2016/10/13/review-mamma-mia-musical-wales-millennium-centre-sarah-debnam/
2. The Freddie Mercury Project Sinfonia Cymru at the RWCMD
“I think we witnessed something special in the Freddie Mercury Project, and think that the effort and skill poured into this production did not fail to impress. The standing ovation at both shows we went to echoed this as well I think.”
getthechance.wales/2016/07/10/review-freddie-mercury-project-sinfonia-cymru-rwcmd-sarah-lucy-debnam/
3. George’s Marvellous Medicine at the New Theatre
‘I don’t think there was anything I could fault from this production, the acting was spot on, the scenery and props were amazing and the music and lighting cleverly used.  Many things could have been missed or ignored but weren’t and the attention to detail was brilliant. As everything Roald Dahl seems to be, brilliant!”
getthechance.wales/2016/11/07/review-georges-marvellous-medicine-new-theatre-cardiff-sarah-debnam/
 

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