(5 / 5)
Cardiff’s New Theatre was packed to the rafters with a dazzling array of glitter and sequins last night for the first performance of La Cage aux Folles. The musical adaptation of French playwright Jean Poiret’s script is largely recognised as one of the greatest modern musicals. The stage production, directed by Martin Connor, is a throwback to the old glamour and glitz associated with the French Riviera but also has a very key message in the story.
One of the leading characters, Georges, is played by the US TV and Broadway actor Adrian Zmed who greets the audience with a heartfelt welcome to La Cage. There was something a little different about this cabaret, however, in the form of all the main performers in the cast being men dressed as women.
‘La Cage’ is a drag cabaret club in the heart of Saint Tropez, run by Georges and his very flamboyant husband Albin who is played by West End actor and former Eastenders star John Partridge. As the audience are waiting for Albin’s arrival on stage we are first greeted by the appearance of his on-stage alter ego Zaza. John Partridge creates an impressive character as he struts across the stage in a robe and a pair of high heels. He wins over the audience from the beginning and really gives the part his all.
The story unfolds when Georges and Albin’s son, Jean- Michele, (Georges’ from a previous relationship) arrives to tell his father that he is engaged to Anne, the daughter of a French politician who is well-known for his conservative views. Jean- Michele played by Dougie Carter drops a few bombshells on his dad. Including that of breaking the news to Albin that he can’t be there when the parents come over for dinner at their home.
Albin is horrified when he hears the news and his disappointment leads to a spine tingling performance from John Partridge of the musical’s most iconic number ‘I Am What I am’. Georges and Albin soon make up and it’s easy to like the two contrasting co-stars who have a brilliant on-stage chemistry with each other which could be compared to that of Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi in the ITV series Vicious. The arrival of Dindon, the French politician, and his apparently conservative wife raised the bar once again on the entertainment as Albin comes up with a hilarious plan to meet the in-laws to be.
John Partridge’s performance as Albin and Zaza is absolutely superb and while the audience cheered and got to its feet for the entire cast, the largest applause and cheers were saved for him. During the performance John Partridge fell down some of the stairs on stage but being the true professional he is, kept in character and even made a joke about it. He carried on with the rest of the show and came on for the second act. Following the show John Partridge had to go to A&E and I really have to applaud him for being so professional and continuing with the show despite being in pain.
All of the cast were amazing and really very talented especially during the tap dancing scenes in which the male dancers very skillfully danced in high heels and gowns. A special mention must also go to Samson Ajewole who played Jacob and was exceptionally funny. He delivered a very strong performance and was one of the stars of the evening. As too was Marti Webb who played Jacqueline and created a very likeable character for the audience.
The stage sets used during the show were simply divine. All of the scenes in the show were very well thought out and the sets changed seamlessly. My personal favourite set design of the show was that of the stage at La Cage. The show saw a theatre stage constructed within a stage which is shown in the picture below and worked really well as it gave the audience the perspective of watching a whole different theatre on stage.
La Cage Aux Folles is a brilliant and moving, feel-good production that will be guaranteed to leave you smiling as you walk out the theatre doors and taking a whole new look on life. I urge everyone who get’s the chance to see the show to go as you will not regret it!
La Cage Aux Folles is currently on a UK tour so make sure you visit the New Theatre website in the link below and book your tickets before its too late.
(5 / 5)
This weekend Cardiff has had the luck of the Irish as Michael Flatley’s worldwide phenomenon ‘Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games’ has played in St David’s Hall. The tour is one of the biggest the UK has ever had and has currently been seen by 60 million people in 60 different countries on every continent. All of the stops are pulled out in this Irish Dancing Extravaganza with dancing that is simply mesmerising.
I have been looking forward to watching this show for a long time and being a tap dancer myself can appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into this form of dancing. I knew from the opening sequence alone we would be in for a good night. As the first half of the show begins the audience are greeted with a projected Michael Flatley and a giant clock alluding to the opening of the show.
The cast are very well cast and all of the characters within the show work well as a dance unit. The perfectly balanced ensemble of male and female dancers help to give depth to the story and in the dance sequences when they are all in a line and coordinated it really is something to admire. Their collective talent is unbelievable and there are moments where your jaw is in your lap watching their feet move almost as too fast to comprehend. The main lead Lord of the Dance was played by James Keegan and the Dark Lord was played by Zoltan Papp.
The show seemed to have a variety show feel to it with all of the acts being very diverse. They all managed to hold attention of the audience due to their frequent costume changes and the cleaver projections that portrayed Ireland as an Idyllic place filled with Unicorns and rainbows. The plot follows a little Spirit with a magic flute who battles against evil to save Ireland from being taken over by evil cyborgs. Along the way the Spirit meets different dancers as well as a Black Swan like love triangle that threatens to turn the head of Ireland’s saviour, the Lord of the Dance himself. The show culminates with a big fight for the title of Lord of the Dance.
You can’t help but have a big smile on your face when the full ensemble cast fill the width of the stage at St David’s Hall and with their legs kicking and tapping in perfect sync. The show’s best section and what will always be their most iconic is the ‘Lord of the Dance’, and the skill of the cast is amazing in which they gave four Encores at the end of the show of that very dance which was met with a standing ovation from the whole audience at St David’s Hall.
If you’re a fan of this type of dancing and the Irish music and culture this show is without a doubt the show for you to attend next. It provides a 5-star evening of entertainment with lots of ups and downs within the story. In my opinion this show is something everyone should experience once in their lifetime as it will enthral you.
For more information about the tour of the Lord of the Dance please visit the official website to see where the tour will be heading next. http://www.lordofthedance.com/
Get the Chance recently had the opportunity to run some free critical workshops as part of takepART 8 at Venue Cymru, Llandudno. takepART is aimed at the 0 to 18-years-old age group, but its open to parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents who all get involved in workshops and craft sessions that take place throughout Venue Cymru.
Get the Chance was just one of the organisations running a series of free workshops during the weekend.
The Get the Chance staff had the opportunity to chat to some of the members of Young Critics North Wales who are supported by the venue. Young Critics North Wales is based at Venue Cymru, Llandudno. It is supported by the Arts Council of Wales and is the first scheme of its kind in North Wales.
We can recommend the scheme and If you would like to be a Young Critic please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We can also recommend the work of the Document Conwy who ran a free newspaper and photography workshops called The Daily PlanART
The pop-up newspaper returned to Venue Cymru’s take pART arts festival where young people were given the chance to learn some of the skills of a journalist and news photographer. Under the guidance of Editor Joann Rae, Chief Photographer Paul Sampson and Chief Reporter Tim Moxley, young people were assigned a story to cover and photographs to capture from all of the exciting events at take pART! All the work below has been created by the young journalists and photographers of the Daily PlanART
It was a very welcome opportunity for Get the Chance to develop its critical network in North Wales. We thank the Arts Council of Wales for funding this opportunity.
(4 / 5)
As the name says, the Roundhouse is a circular venue that is full of possibilities. My first visit here was many years ago for a concert, so to come back and see it full of staging, rostra seating and a world of possibility was a refreshing new view.
Perfect for such a story as The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Taken from the famous stories by Lewis Carrol that we all know and love, Zoonation have taken the narrative and slightly changed it to Wonderland being a safe haven for those who suffer a range of psychological disorders. This begins in an insane asylum, with an introduction to each character and their specific notabilities being explained to being more real and likely mental health issues. This I thought was a great way of bringing such a serious collection of issues and illnesses to the forefront of our mind and turning them into positives and acceptance with the dance and humour to lighten the story.
Of course, it is notable that Zoonation is a dance company and so it is right to make a conversation on their abilities. And of course, they were talented, skilled and flawless. To move from just dancing to acting through movement is extremely well done and practiced to perfection.
The costumes, set and use of the space is so inspiring and as flawless as the performance that I felt lost in the world in front of me and to a point forgot that I was there to critique, and instead just purely enjoyed it. The set, the lighting and the atmosphere was unique and interesting, humorous and enjoyable. The performers purely fantastic and the whole concept well thought out – throw in a live band whose repertoire ranged from soul to dance to acoustic, it complimented it well, leaving us wanting to join in the Tea Party.
Interested in theatre, dance, visual art, gigs, poetry, film and more?
Want to access a free workshop which will give you an insight into the role of a critic?
Then, this is for you!
You will take part in a 1 hour workshop with Guy O’Donnell Director of online magazine website Get the Chance getthechance.wales
During the workshop you will be given an insight into the role of the arts critic. You will be given instruction on how to create a review and upload your response online. Participants will look at blogging, video, social media and much more! All workshop participants will get the opportunity for their reviews to feature on the Get the Chance website.
If you have one please bring a laptop, tablet and/or smartphone.
Workshops are on Saturday the 14th at 11.30 and 1.45 pm at Venue Cymru as part of Take Part 2017
In the article below our members choose a range of productions and events they are looking forward to in 2017.
Young Critic Amelia Seren Roberts
Rosalind Dance 4/James Cousins Company
“I’m looking forward to a production called ‘Rosalind’ by Dance 4 and James Cousins Company at Nottingham Lakeside Arts”
“I am looking forward to hearing more from Artes Mundi, and to see Castle Ruins (a show by artists rejected from the Nottingham Castle Open).”
“The New Art Exchange has an interesting show coming up called, ‘Untitled: Art on the conditions of our time”
“Leon Sadler has a show coming up at Syson Gallery that I think is definitely going to be something worth going to see:”
Young Critic Beth Clark
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!”
I, Daniel Blake the film at Chapter Arts Centre
“I am so relieved that Chapter are doing more viewings of this as I have read epic reviews of this over last few months by some established critics. Always a good sign!”
Drones Comedy Club at Chapter Arts Centre
“Operating monthly at Chapter Art Centre and rated in the the Big Issues top ten things to do in Cardiff it is definitely a Friday night option and something I am looking forward to throughout 2017.”
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’.”
Anton and Erin and Lord of The Dance/Riverdance
3rd Act Critic Chris Howell
Sunny Afternoon at the Wales Millennium Centre
“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”
Community Critic Emily Garside
Killology by Gary Owen
“I am looking forward to another new work from one of Wales’ most interesting playwrights.”
Young Critic Kat Leslie
“I’m looking forward to seeing Thunder playing live in March.
I’m also going to see Footloose performed in June at the Wales Millennium Centre
I am also going.to a festival that I go to every year in August called ‘Solarsphere Astronomy and Music Festival.”
3rd Act Critic Barbara Michaels
“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. “
Young Critic Lauren Ellis Stretch
“I am looking forward to Killology at the Sherman Theatre and Funny Girl at the Wales Millennium Centre . The Other Room’s Spring season also looks thrilling!”
3rd Act Critic Helen Joy
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.
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.”
How lovely to dress up for a night out! Even lovelier to be asked to attend something as special as this: a Christmas Fundraising Gala for the National Dance Company Wales!
Guided into the dark, starry-lit heart of the school, its stage, we are invited to mingle before sitting at beautifully festive tables to watch the show. We are at the front of the stage, level with our hosts and muddled up with dancers, board members, sponsors, families and friends. It is delightful. It is the entirely predictable warm welcome from this Company which we all value so highly.
Now, this is a night with a purpose. A showcase of dancing wares to one end – to raise awareness and support for the dancers, their Company, their outreach work and their hopes and aspirations for themselves and others.
And so it begins.
Marc (Rees) compered the evening in tremendous style and humour. Caroline (Finn) and Paul (Kaynes) are practised and fluent with the passion for their business they so want us to share. They say,
We have a responsibility to take dance across Wales, so as many people as possible can experience what it is to dance.
They choose tonight to share with us –
The invisible work that we do, the beautiful and valuable work that we do.
They want to sustain and develop this work, react to people’s needs, make a difference and look after their dancers, keep them well for the hard work they do – and we get it.
We are shown videos, evidence of NDCW dancers working with children, adults, people living with Parkinsons –
I know it’s cheesy but dancing makes me happy.
Is there a finer accolade? One line tells us all we need to know. What these remarkable, dedicated people do benefits young and old alike. Speaking of young, we are now given a performance – This is a Really Difficult Interview, created by Karol Cysewski and performed by the NDCWales Associates.
It is 13 minutes of difficult and complex dance performed perfectly by a large group, aged between 14 and 19. It is not hard to see that nurturing the future talent in dance is worthy for many reasons but what is surprising, is that they demonstrate their professionalism and ability so comfortably.
I hadn’t expected anything so wonderful. I don’t know what to say. It’s so emotional
– says someone next to me, clearly struggling with her responses.
It’s very competitive, says another, it’s very hard to get in, you know. Not enough boys, it’s harder for the girls. They are good, aren’t they?
Now, to make a difference, you can’t just tell people about things, you have to make them experience them too. And blow me, Lee (Johnson) has us all on our feet… some braver than others and on the stage while the rest of us toe tap around our chairs! What a hoot!
How clear it becomes that in dance there is activity, laughter, companionship and effort. A simple coordinated routine and we all feel on top of the world – and we all sit back down, renewed and ready to listen.
We are also here to learn about new projects. Andrew (Miller) and Marc (Rees) tell us about R17 and P.A.R.A.D.E. :
An immersive and radical reimagining of Ballets Russes’s 1917 Parade,
And it is to be a participative and flamboyant dance event through the streets of Cardiff to the stage of the Wales Millennium Centre to the glorious cacophony of Satie’s music. There will be Dr. Who, there will be Revolution at the Senedd, there will be oranges thrown.
This is a major collaboration between NDCW, WNO, WMC and the RCMD which marks the centenary of the Russian Revolution. Tickets are on sale now at https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2017-2018/DonaldGordonTheatre/Parade/
Lastly, before the Christmas carousing closes the evening, we are treated to Animatorium. Ok, so I am biased. I saw this in rehearsal and on the pavement outside. I feel the inner thrill of recognition and anticipation. I am excited to see this again. I do not expect the reactions around me:
Ooh, I’ve gone all goose-pimply, says one, rubbing her arms and wiping an eye.
Cheesy, goose-pimply – this work is incredible; the work these dancers and their team do is incredible. Do not take my word for it – please go and see them, learn to dance with them, help them continue what they do best –and let them develop their influence, making people happy.
They do all this through public funding, supporters, sponsors and ticket sales; but you can help too:
In the New Year, NDCW will be launching LIFT, a new supporter scheme. Information will be available at http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/about/support-us/our-current-supporters/ where other means of donating are available as well.
In the meantime, please get yourself a ticket. You won’t regret it.
Caroline Finn – Artistic Director
Paul Kaynes – Chief Executive
Lee Johnston – Rehearsal Director
Andrew Miller – Executive producer of R17
Marc Rees – Director and Curator of Contemporary Performance and Installation
Reviewed, Saturday, 2nd December, 2016
I am a woman who is rarely lost for words. I have no idea where to begin on this one.
So, let’s go with my first thoughts:
I witnessed an opera audience splutter and stutter into laughter and whoops of delight as a show became progressively funnier and livelier and more and more colourful.
My dear, this isn’t opera… it’s, um, a musical.
Shock horror! The Welsh National Opera does musical all right. It’s borderline panto.
It is singing, talking, dancing, ballet, tap – it is Baltimore, it is Shakespeare, it is Cole Porter.
We rush from dusty backstage to technicolour onstage with a rapacious love for the piece which infects everyone in the building.
There is even a stuffed mule.
Not funny, dear.
Oh it is. It is carry me out of here laughingly funny! It is a showcase for this multi- talented cast and how much they seem to enjoy their moments in the spotlight. Revelling in the bawdiness, the burlesque and the slapstick.
Asses seem to have quite a prominent role, one way and another.
It reminds me at times of The Good Old Days, vaudeville at its finest, people laughing at themselves in the story, in the audience. I fancy we should all be wearing doublets and bodices. A round of the Old Bull and Bush at the end wouldn’t go amiss, such is the atmosphere.
Well, I wasn’t expecting that!
Kate sings the songs of the wild and sexy and shrewish, Petruchio was an operatic twinkly eyed pirate, the gunmen do one of the best duets since Michael Ball and Les Dennis in Hairspray; and Bianca and Lucentio are utterly joyous in both song and dance.
It is obscenely good entertainment.
We come out to Christmas trees and misty cold, buzzing with that warm fuzzy feeling you get from a performance well done.
But this is Cardiff, a city, like many others, with a dark underbelly. There, under the lit arches of the Wales Millennium Centre, is a man completing a broadsheet crossword. I give him the change I find in the bottom of my bag – it is a paltry amount but it is the only cash I have. I apologise for my meanness. He smiles and calls me back.
Look at this, pretty lady.
My friend and I turn back and he shows us a magic trick with a 20p coin and wishes us a Merry Christmas.
Event: Kiss Me Kate
Seen: 06 Dec, 2016
Reviewer: Helen Joy for 3rd Act Critics
Running: 06 Dec – 10 December 2016
Cost : Tickets: £7 – £43
Running time: Approximately 2 hour 50 minutes with one interval
5 stars – spectacular
A Welsh National Opera production, sung in English
Conductor James Holmes
Director Jo Davies
Set & Costume Designer Colin Richmond
Lighting Designer Ben Cracknell
Choreographer Will Tuckett
Fred Graham / Petruchio Quirijn de Lang
Lilli Vanessi / Katherine Jeni Bern
1st Gunman Joseph Shovelton
2nd Gunman John Savourin
Music and Lyrics Cole Porter
Book Bella and Samuel Spewack
Critical Edition David Charles Abell and Seann Alderking.
(4 / 5)
Growing up, I have been watching The Snowman and its cousin Father Christmas, every Christmas, every year. When The Snowman and The Snow dog came out, I think my tear ducts weren’t expecting the initiation of another short film to encourage them further.
With one of my brother’s being of the orange haired persuasion, growing up we always joked that my brother was the boy in the film. We even had the bedsheets with him and the Snowman on. And while this was all in jest, what kid did not want to be the kid in The Snowman?
So as you would expect, I know the story off by heart, backwards, forwards, up and down! And so the inner child in me felt nothing but excitement and apprehension of seeing magic come alive on stage.
Boy did it! For those living under a rock, The Snowman is about a boy who makes this frosty creature who comes to life. They spend a short night on Christmas Eve having adventures in his house where his parents sleep and then flying across the world to meet Father Christmas and a range of other Snow men and women.
Many of you may be thinking, it’s November and a little early for Christmas – but once you are taken a-hold of all the joy, the pomp and circumstance of The Snowman on stage, you soon forgive it.
Staging is beautiful – seamlessly moveable into new scenes, when the Snowman and the boy are exploring, everything is a little oversized and cartoonlike which makes it comical and child friendly. To fill out the two hour show, the original content has been adapted, adding a love interest for the Snowman, a bad guy who is triumphed over and some dancing fruit. All of these additions are welcomed and give a more modern twist to the 1982 classic.
As this is the Peacock Theatre, of course it is full of dance. Animal characters, our new villain and damsel in distress are all dancing editions, with the use of classical ballet and contemporary, they beautifully grace the stage, moving with little sound and much grace. Music provided by a live orchestra, it’s hard to not feel ‘christmassey’ with the instrumental sounds and live singing which accompany the stage presence well. We even get a little drum and bass and mixes of the music to again make the piece more modern.
The Snowman is a feel good family show that appeals to all generations – from the young who are being introduced to the story, to die-hard fans like myself and the parents and grandparents who also know the story like the back of their hand – it’s hard not to enjoy and not to come away elated, your inner child bursting to get out.
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.
“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.”
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
“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 Buddies. The project will match people with a learning disability with volunteers who share the same music tastes so they can go to gigs together.”
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.
An online survey was also created to continue this conversations. The survey is till live and we invite anyone interested to complete it.
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.