NDCWales & Literature Wales’ Plethu/Weave project sees poignant poetry and movement film created to reflect Wales’ involvement in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Words by Poet Marvin Thompson / Movement by dancer Ed Myhill

On Sunday 23 August, in respect of International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, National Dance Company Wales (NDCWales) and Literature Wales announced its next short film release from their poet and dancer project, Plethu/Weave, which focuses on Wales’ involvement in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, started by UNESCO, is now held annually across the world on Sunday 23 August, which offers an opportunity for collective consideration of the historical consequences of slavery.

Wales based Black Poet Marvin Thompson, and NDCWales dancer, Ed Myhill who is of White British heritage – as part of NDCWales & Literature Wales’ new innovative cross-art form digital collaboration project, Plethu/Weave – will look at Wales’ involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Triptych which will be released on Thursday 3 September uses Marvin’s words together with a new sound scape and movement by dancer Ed Myhill to convey the injustice, the communities and the people affected in a powerful poetic letter.

Poet Marvin Thompson said, “Ed Myhill and myself have created a film inspired by my poem ‘Triptych.’ This poem is a response to a plaque in Brecon that commemorated a slave trader. Ed Myhill took the first section of ‘Triptych,’ an open message to Brecon Town Council, and remixed it over a soundscape that he composed. The film incorporates images of cornfields, the sea and the movement of our bodies to amplify themes of ecological destruction and enslavement.”

Triptych is the third video of eight from the Plethu/Weave project by NDCWales and Literature Wales. The new digital film project, Plethu/Weave sees dancers from NDCWales and the independent sector, partnered with some of Literature Wales’ commissioned poets to create eight short solo film performances during lockdown.

The first two films, Hirddydd by Mererid Hopwood and Tim Volleman and Ust by Ifor Ap Glyn and Faye premiered as part of the National Eisteddfod’s Online Digital Festival at the beginning of August and are now available to view on NDCWales / Literature Wales’ websites and social media channels.

Lleucu Siencyn, CEO of Literature Wales, said, “Literature and the arts can guide us towards a better understanding of difficult and important issues. Through poetry and dance, Marvin Thompson and Ed Myhill openly and honestly examine Wales’ involvement in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and Literature Wales is very proud to support this work in partnership with NDCWales. The Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is an occasion where everyone around the world – including the citizens of Wales – should pause to reflect the atrocities of the past.”

Chief Executive Paul Kaynes said, “Dance is an artform which relies on deep collaborations – with choreographers, composers, designers and often with writers. Two Wales-based artists – a poet and a dancer – are collaborating to make a work for and about Wales, reminding us of our past in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and challenging us to reflect on how Black Lives Matter, then and now. The power of the work they have made is a testament to them as artists, and the relevance of their subject”

Triptych will be broadcast on NDCWales/ Literature Wales’ social media channels from Thursday 3 September and will be available to watch for up to 12 months. The next five new short films from Plethu/Weave will be broadcast every fortnightonline as part of KiN:Connected, NDCWales’ digital programme. NDCWales has been showing many of its productions online for the first time for audiences to watch for free as part of its online programme KiN:Connected, including Dream (Christopher Bruce CBE), Rygbi: Annwyl i mi/ Dear To Me (Fearghus Ó Conchúir) as well as a live streamed Zoom version of Ed Myhill’s Clapping.

Full details of KiN:Connected can be found at ndcwales.co.uk and on social media channels over the next week @NDCWales

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