I am so happy with this year’s fringe and the abundance of
solo female shows. Something that I have always wanted to do myself, it is
great to see such confident, talented and inspirational women storming the
stages of Edinburgh.
This is no exception of Roisin Crowley-Linton. Physically
and figuratively, Crowley-Linton bares absolutely all to us on stage.
Crowley-Linton works with teenagers, and this brings her to compare her teenage
years with those of today; to be honest about the risky and at times sensitive
events she has been through, and at the same time, giving great advice.
Stand up, meets spoken word, meets music and cabaret,
Crowley-Linton has put together a meaty show. But it does not feel at all
overwhelming. Everything moves swiftly and smoothly into one another, drawing
on each story to involve the next. We feel like we are experiencing a story,
but as if we are also there having a chat with her.
There is plenty of audience interaction, but stating from
the start, Crowley-Linton is not here to ‘take the piss’ out of us, nor is she
here to call us out. She asks us questions such as a song that reminds us of being
a teenager, or where our first kiss was. We also are encouraged to talk to one
another, becoming close friends and being honest with strangers. It feels like
a safe space, and she always makes sure we are okay.
Crowley-Linton is also completely hilarious. Perhaps
relating more to a generation in their mid to late twenties with specifics of
their teenage era, there is still an abundance of ages in the room who resonate
with the themes and with her as a person.
Teenage Kicks is not just a performance. It is a friendship group. It is relaxed, honest, raw and Crowley-Linton is an incredible woman to bring a piece to stage where she opens herself up to us, unashamed and with complete humour.
Adding to the ‘Death at the Fringe’ sector this year, Fine
Mess Theatre bring us a death celebration.
When a young woman finds herself dying, all she wants to do
is celebrate her life and go out with a bang. Not so much an unusual tale in
today’s modern age, funeral parties before the death of someone is becoming
increasingly popular – However, Fine Mess Theatre take this subject on with
great intent and a refreshing approach.
The combination of scripted performance and audience interaction
is equally measured. We are invited as guests; we are not made to feel like the
audience but part of a really exclusive group of friends – given party hats and
sweets, asked for our suggestions and addressed by names, (on a name tag we
write at the beginning, but somehow the performers never make it seem as if
they are reading them) we feel a part of this woman’s life. We feel the
emotions and we feel the love.
The script is perfectly natural. Perfectly rehearsed, it
does not feel scripted and if we were not at the fringe, it would be hard to
guess that this is indeed a play; the performers interact and project their
lines as if it was real life. The only theatrical break is when we are involved
in the party and so there is a dramatic turn to the in depth and naturalistic
scenes on stage.
And while partly heart breaking, partly realistic, there is
some comedy to it. And these parts are not dramatised. Again, this is part of
the script, naturally approached and so beautifully humorous, as one would find
in a normal conversation among friends.
A Wake in Progress is true to life, deeply thought out and well executed. While a funeral is not something to find joyous, this celebration is worth the attendance.
What happens when three thieves break into a gallery, the
same night, to steal the same painting? A hilarious series of events full of
comedy, gasps of close calls and complete chaos.
Art Heist by the company Poltergeist, in partnership with
Underbelly and New Diorama Theatre, bring us a high energised and full of
calamity production featuring three thieves and a gallery guard. All have
different motives, different personalities and bring their own humour and likeability.
At some point the characters are all bound to bump into each other, but there
is a sense of a tense atmosphere while waiting for this, along with near
misses. Once they do, the interaction is surprising, well thought out and full
There’s hardly a break in this production for anyone – reminiscent
of Monty Python, come Mischief Theatre’s ‘Comedy about a Bank Robbery’ with a
hint of alternative reality/game culture, the narrative and actions are both
fast paced and with quick thinking, yet perfectly accomplished with every
comical intent hit.
Each character narrates their actions, sometimes with
interaction from the guard who throws spanners in the works. This reminds me of
watching a video game, with planned out thoughts that not always come to
The staging and lighting is simple – characters are always
on stage but always engaged. We get different levels away from the main action,
without a single person breaking character.
Multimedia is used with cameras, sound effects, lights e.t.c. to give
the emphasis of a gallery but also to layer the action.
The performers themselves are hysterical – fully involved in
their characters, there is freedom to ad lib and go with the chaos, especially
when the audience are encouraged to interact. The simple ‘guard training’ that
the audience undertake is hilarious in itself; again, it is simple but well put
Art Heist will steal your heart and rob your laughter – coming away, there is admiration of the energy of these performers and great smiles at how much fun we have in just an hour.
How does one express themselves without being able to speak
The Words Are There tells the story about Mick and Trish,
their meeting, relationship, the most important moment of their lives, but with
the underlying issue of domestic abuse. Mick himself suffers from a stutter and
so we see the impact this relationship has on bringing him out as a person and
then shutting him back down.
This piece is fascinating. Using only sound cues and music,
The Words Are There is a fully physical theatre production with only props to
help us along the way. It is fast paced, intricate and full of energy, even at
times of stillness. At times this is a little hard to keep up with and also a
mystery to how Ronan Dempsey manages to keep going in this one man production.
While there in minimal narrative, with our reliance on the
sound cues and the physicality, we are able to imagine our own scenes for Mick
and Trish – triggers for the good and triggers for the bad are all available
that we cannot help but get swept into the drama.
It seems comical when Dempsey makes Trish out of household
items – but how he interacts with her and makes her move, we soon forget she is
just an object and really believe in her and her personality.
The production is slow starting but somehow this works into
bringing us to curve balls and climaxes. It feels like a build-up and we enjoy
the ride; getting to know these two characters and developing love/hate
feelings towards them.
The Words Are There is an energetic and emotional piece. Slow to start, we do engage intimately in these two characters and our feelings immediately change with the theatricality of the narrative.
Now this is going to be a hard review to write. How do you
write a review when everything goes wrong, no fault of the performer?
Unfortunately for Ange Lavoipierre, technology was the devil
for her tonight.
Final Form is a comedy show involving a cello, Lavoipierre’s
past and present, her likes and dislikes as well as being open, raw and
entirely loveable. Her approach to making her life comical is absurd but
likeable and unlike any other.
But this was severely tampered with with the consistent tech
malfunctions. Lavoipierre does well to laugh it off, continue when possible and
use her natural comedic talent to keep the ball rolling. Her interaction with
us is constant, warming and we are all there rooting for her.
From tales of snail massacre, to what she really wants in a
man, Lavoipierre’s sense of humour is dark, unapologetic and damn right funny. We
feel apart of a group and her friendly and confident personality makes us feel
safe in her cocoon of an unusual life.
She’s not afraid to be vulnerable when things go wrong; but
when they go right, they are excellent.
She has a fresh approach to female comedy, which is great to
see; touching upon relationships, marriage and children, somehow it feels more
fresh and a little less of what many female comedians can fall short with by
bashing ticking clocks and men in general.
Ange Lavoipierre is lovely, friendly and definitely funny. It was just a real shame that tonight was when everything went wrong for her. I urge you to check her out, as her recovery over these obstacles shows that she has a real talent for comedy.
Have you ever been on hold? The irritating music. The
repetitive recorded voice. The infuriation. But when we reach the end and
someone answers, aren’t we polite.
The Sensemaker is a predominantly multimedia, choreographed
piece, responding to sound and music, with repetitive, but also different
gestures and movement throughout.
We are there to question what is happening, and what would
we do for the right opportunity. Some parts of the performance are comical –
the performer continues to smile but her eyes and her glances away insist she
is nothing but happy – a relatable response to being on hold; and others are unfathomable.
Would you really do THAT if you were asked? If your opportunity depended on it?
While the piece is simple, there is a sense of Sci-Fi to it.
The recorded voice and the reactions are relatable to anyone who has been stuck
on hold. But the responses that are required e.g. ‘Clap 6 times for English.’ ‘Crouch
down and take one step to the right …(for analyses)…’. e.t.c is demanding and
unusual, making this process the performer goes through feel all too much like
a potential future reality.
It feels funny but it also feels dark and unnerving –
reaching some points when you really question what she is working for and
whether it is worth it. But who are we to question when we may be in the same
predicament and willingly do the same things.
With almost 99% pure movement with sound and music queues,
The Sensemaker is a really interesting piece; being able to bring something so
deep across with only the minimal is quite a feat and a very clever response.
The Sensemaker is good fun, but also dark. It throws up a lot of questions about ourselves, our World and the Future. And watching something very ‘mime’ orientated was a breath of fresh air through the Fringe.
This may be an odd title for a 19 year old to name his show.
Why would you retire comedy at such a young age?
Andrew White opens up to us, and becomes vulnerable before
our eyes with the truth about his title. After a bad gig, admitting he was not
right for that audience and of which was due to a booking mistake, White
explains to us through honesty and comedy about how this has rocked him,
leaving him to consider whether comedy is for him or whether a stint in
University is more sensible.
We learn a lot about White – his personal life, his ever
changing fight with his own confidence and we see him battle with this on stage
as he produces his acceptance letter to do communications at Cardiff
At first this reveal of the letter and his sub sequential
decision to pursue comedy instead, seems very premature into the proceedings
and feels as if he has already revealed his trump card. But this continues onto
a series of ever changing decisions, revealing more and more letters, said to
be his acceptance. This is a fun approach, and feels as if we are contemplating
the decision with him.
White does seem a little nervous on stage. Understandably,
stand-up comedy and at the fringe where there is much competition is a tough
business and again, we forgive the lack of confidence but will him to continue.
Unfortunately this therefore makes his delivery feel more of a TED talk than a
comedy set, but we are interested none the less, with comical interludes.
Andrew White: Retirement Tour is an interesting comedy set – we follow him on his battling life decisions and feel honoured to go through this sequence with him. With some great jokes involved, White could go a long way with a little more confidence in his delivery.
Do you recognise the title? Here Comes Your Man comes from a
famous Pixie’s song to which our comedian for the night thought was all about
love. Yet he has a sore realisation that it is about a murderous homeless
So how does he turn this around? Matt Hoss the hopeless
romantic bears his soul to us for comedy, telling us about his relationship
fails and his hopes for the future.
Matt Hoss is a rapid speaker and at times it we lose the
train of thought slightly. This can only be put down to nerves, which we
appreciate and are happy to stick with for a funny man.
You cannot help but feel for Hoss – we have all been there,
and it being rare for a man to feel so much and to be romantic – any lady would
be happy to have him. But his tales are not unusual, but the way he has twisted
it and to create a show from it, is.
To turn this into comedy for our enjoyment is brave; he is comical, lovable and fun to be in a room with.
With a little more confidence, Matt Hoss could go far. He is worth checking out for all those who have loved and lost, and need that pick me up!
No matter what age, we all grew up with lashings of ginger
beer, while slapping our raised knee. Not one person does not know about Enid
Blyton and her wonderful tales.
But what happens when you take the Blyton theme and
A whole lot of fun.
Bumper Blyton, an improv group, interact with us and let us
take control. We give our suggestions and they help to influence how the team
bring the story to us. Each time is different, each joke is different and so
each show is unique.
Playfully labelled as ‘Enid Blyton for Grown Ups’ – it sure
is! There are jokes that are only for the adults, and at times even flummox the
performers themselves; this is not a bad thing. One thing I think is brilliant
is when performers in these types of performances quite obviously enjoy what
they do and find it as funny and exciting as the audience. And it is clear they
do. This makes us laugh even more and feel included and part of the group.
Improv is a clever performance technique and so to come up
with an interesting and mysterious story on the spot, keeping to character is impressive.
Bumper Blyton is lashing of fun, a slap on the knee of enjoyment and a show we all feel included in. If you want a break from the festival to sit back, laugh and enjoy something new each time, ensure you check them out.
Hi Owen great to meet
you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
I have been a Playwright for almost 20 years. My plays include ‘Benny’, ‘The Wood’, and ‘Richard Parker’. I have a lifelong love of storytelling and the rhythm of words. How the dialogue sounds to an audience is always as important to me as the strength of the narrative.
The play I am best known for is ‘Grav’, a one-man show about the life of Welsh cultural and sporting icon, Ray Gravell. This year saw ‘Grav’ complete its 100th performance and counting.
I grew up on a farm in Mid Wales where my parents still live and work. I
now live in Tongwynlais on the edge of Cardiff. I am married to Amelia, and we
have twin daughters, Sofie and Brooke. I love swimming and running and, for my
sins, I am a fanatical supporter of Tottenham Hotspur.
So, what got you
interested in the arts?
urge to write was always there. My earliest inspiration was my Primary School
Headteacher at Bronllys Primary School, Mr Dave Cooke. He was also a writer and
would occasionally play us a radio play he had written. I was transfixed by the
idea that something you had written could entertain people. This was where the
idea of being a writer took root.
went to a secondary school where drama wasn’t taught and with no history of
school shows. One day I asked the Head if I could write a play and put it on.
The result was a rather strange effort called ‘Where Have All the Foxes Gone?’.
It was staged as part of the Christmas concert and the reception to it, as well
as the buzz of writing dialogue for actors, was instantly addictive.
was my first love, and I had some poems published whilst at school. I won some
prizes for my writing at local eisteddfods. In my recent writing I feel I am
returning to my poetic roots, and my new play, ‘West’, is certainly the
most rhythmic and lyrical play that I have written.
wasn’t until I was living in London that I had the confidence to stage a play
professionally. One day I rang all the Pub Theatres in the phone book
pretending I was a successful writer looking for somewhere to stage my new
play. The Hen and Chickens in Highbury and Islington offered me a weekend in
December 2003 and the result was my first play, ‘The Dead of Night’.
Your background is in education. I believe you left teaching to
work full time as a writer? This must have meant some risk for you in terms of
you career, why did you feel the need to make this move?
I was a Head of Drama in various schools for almost 20 years and I thoroughly
enjoyed the job. I still do some Freelance teaching at venues such as Welsh
College. But, in my own life, as with so many other people, there had been a
few reminders that your time is finite, and that if there is something you
really want to do then sometimes you just have to go for it. Carpe Diem. I
thought about making the leap for many years, and felt I had enjoyed enough
success to encourage me to go for it. But yes, it was a huge decision and one
that I didn’t take lightly.
Playwriting is my passion. It is the job I have always wanted to do. I
wanted to give myself the opportunity to see how good a writer I could be if I devoted
myself to it. So far, the decision has proved to be the right one. In the past year
I have written two new plays, ‘West’ and ‘The Night Porter’. ‘The
Night Porter’ is a life-long ambition, a good old-fashioned ghost story in
the vein of ‘The Woman in Black’. I am delighted that the Arts Council
of Wales have granted me a large research and development grant to bring the
play to life in January 2020. We have an amazing team lined up I can’t wait to
bring a chill down the spine of Welsh theatre very soon.
You have successfully written plays based around the lives of
Benny Hill and the Welsh Rugby player Ray Gravell. How do you approach
transposing these real lives to the stage?
I have always been fascinated by the lives of real people. The key to bringing a life to the stage is thorough research. There is a huge responsibility in ensuring that you do your homework and present an accurate depiction of your subject matter. When ‘Grav’ was launched at Parc Y Scarlets there was a moment of genuine terror just before Gareth first took to the stage to showcase an extract. The Chief Executive of the Scarlets jokingly said to a room full of dignitaries, ‘well, I hope you’ve got his right, because there’s an awful lot of people in here who loved and knew Ray.’ I went white. Thankfully the reaction to the scene was great.
Finding the voice of a person is crucial. This comes from watching all that you can, and meeting people who knew what they were like. Ray’s widow Mari and his daughters Manon and Gwennan were incredibly supportive. The trust they placed in me to do justice to someone who was so loved by them personally was the primary thought kept at the forefront of my mind.
With Ray Gravell it was easier in that he was a well-loved figure. I
chose Benny Hill precisely because he is more of a marmite figure. I wanted to
get under the skin of a more divisive character, and to explore the impact of
society changing around a person. I have always been interested in the lives of
old comedians. With Benny Hill I was intrigued by how a man who was the most
famous comedian on the planet for a time had become airbrushed out of popular
culture. There was some hostility when the play was first unveiled, but
thankfully this dissipated when people saw the play, and Liam Tobin’s skilful central
performance as Benny.
I am just about to start writing a brand-new play about another
much-loved Welsh icon. The team behind it are excellent. It is somewhat under
wraps at the moment so watch this space.
You frequently work with the same collaborators, Peter Doran, Artistic
Director at The Torch Theatre and most notably the actor Gareth John Bale. How does this relationship work?
On a personal level we are all good friends with a lot in common, but more importantly there is a huge amount of trust between us. That is essential. As a writer you have to be prepared to hand over your work to a creative team who may well suggest cuts and alterations you may or may not agree with. If you have an open and honest relationship, then this is far less painful. I have worked with people in the beginning of my career who would put a line through writing I had spent hours pondering and shaping. This never gets easier, but if you trust the people share the same vision and passion for the project then these decisions become much easier.
The journey we have been on as a creative team has been incredible, taking us from an initial conversation about ‘Grav’ at the Torch, to New York and our performance this year for the Welsh Rugby team. I can honestly say that throughout this process we have never had a cross word. We all believed in the project and each other. Peter and I went on to work on ‘The Wood’, a play commemorating the Battle of Mametz Wood in World War One. I was incredibly proud of this play and I hope that Peter and I will collaborate on another project in the near future.
Gareth and I have worked together for over a decade. We were first introduced
through the excellent Script Slam at the Sherman Theatre. I had a 10-minute
play called ‘The Window’ in the final and so was randomly paired with
Gareth as the director. We hit it off immediately, and our relationship has
seen us work on a wide range of projects. He is a very skilled director as well
as actor, and we complement each other perfectly in the rehearsal room. My
family often joke about how often I ring him. Usually once a day, often more. We
have lots of plans for the future as Bale and Thomas, and are shortly heading
out to the United States with a new play.
Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public
to access cultural provision. Are you aware of any barriers to equality and
diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists?
Encouraging diverse voices to feel empowered to share their stories on
stage is key to this. People from all walks of life who live in 21st
Century Wales need to feel confident enough to share their individual stories
and experiences. We live in strange and somewhat divisive times at the moment.
Theatre has always had the ability to hold a mirror up to society and pose
questions. In my opinion the importance of cultivating awareness and
understanding of other people’s lives and journeys has rarely been so relevant.
New plays by diverse voices can play a key role in inspiring discussion,
generating understanding and engineering social change.
There are a range of organisations supporting Welsh and Wales based
writers, I wonder if you feel the current support network and career
opportunities feel ‘healthy’ to you?
Generally, yes, but there are a few areas where there could be some improvement. I developed as a writer through opportunities such as Script Slam at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff.
I think there is room in Wales for more events like these for up and coming writers. Writing is a very insular activity, and the chance to see something you have written actually performed on stage is incredibly important in your development. Seeing actors perform your story and hearing your dialogue spoken aloud, as well as having an audience respond to your work, is key to helping you find your style and voice. These early opportunities were fundamental in teaching me how to craft dialogue, and introduced me to some of the most important people in my writing career.
If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be
Funding for youth provision is essential. Growing up I never had access
to Youth Theatre or drama lessons. Having taught the subject for so many years,
I fully understand the benefits that drama can have on a young person’s life. I
have set up my own Youth Theatre in Tongwynlais which is great because I also
get to teach my own daughters. There are about 25 members at present, and to
see the growth and development in them over the course of the first year has
been really exciting. It is essential for the lifeblood of our industry that we
nurture our future performers and equip them with the transformative skills
that performance can provide. It is essential that drama continues to empower
and embolden young people.
Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas come from?
Ideas come from a range of sources. I have always enjoyed people
watching, and indeed was inspired to write ‘The Night Porter’ after
glimpsing a haunted looking man sat behind a hotel front desk through a window
on a gloomy night in Edinburgh. Sometimes, as with ‘Grav’ or ‘The
Wood’ I am lucky enough to be approached. But it has to be something I am
going to enjoy researching or something I am able to give my own unique slant. I
will often research a play for ages before I start writing, building up a
thorough knowledge of the subject in my head.
For ‘The Night Porter’ I wanted to properly get under the skin of
how to make people scared and so I enrolled in some night classes on Ghost
Stories in Literature at Cardiff University taught by the fantastic Dr Juliette
Wood. Through that academic process I was able to improve my understanding of
the genre, and this will hopefully add to the scream count in the audience.
I always begin a new play by free writing, getting a load of ideas down
on the screen before saving it and leaving it for a week or two. I then re-read
and delete the vast majority, but in there I often find the elements I want to
develop and expand. I draft and redraft many times until I am satisfied. ‘West’
has undergone five drafts, with ‘Grav’ it was many more. I always try to
hear an early draft spoken aloud having long understood that something might
look great on the page but sound awful when spoken aloud. Failing that, I read
it to the dog in the shed.
Can you describe your writing day? Do you have a process or a minimum
I tend to be at my most productive first thing in the morning. I get up early and go for a walk or a run to clear my head. Then I make a pot of tea and head to the shed for 9. I tend to keep going until ‘The World at One’. The afternoon is often spent reading, researching and editing.
Music is very important, and Spotify is a godsend. The right mood can be created by who you have accompanying you in the background. Richard Hawley is one of my go to artists for this. His lyrics and music are very inspiring, and his latest album, ‘Further’ is just beautiful.
I used to set myself very strict word targets, but after a while I found
I was getting more concerned with the number of words I was writing than the
quality of them. As long as I leave the shed with a scene or some dialogue that
didn’t exist before I went in there then I am happy. A good day could be one
page or five pages – it is the quality of the writing that is important.
Is there a place you go to write?
I am lucky in that I have a shed at the bottom of the garden. It has a desk, a chair, bookshelves and pictures all over the wall. I like to be surrounded by postcards, paintings, and photographs, for inspiration. There is no WIFI in the shed which is very important. With a good WIFI connection it is very easy to disappear off into a digital rabbit hole instead of actually writing.
If I want company then the Park and Dare in Treorchy or Chapter are both
great places. But mostly, and fuelled by a steady stream of tea, I am content
to lose myself for hours in the shed.
What excites you about the arts in Wales?
I am currently working for ‘Pick of the Fringe’ at the Edinburgh
Festival. It is so exciting to see such a wealth of terrific Welsh companies
showcasing exciting, innovative work across the city. Companies like Dirty
Protest, Clocktower and Volcano, to name but a few, are just superb.
My wife is a graffiti artist and spoken work performer called Amelia Unity. She is part of a collective called ‘Ladies of Rage’who are working hard to address the lack of opportunities for female performers in Hip-Hop, grime, drum & base etc. To see how inspired and empowered they are as a group, including firing up the imagination of my own teenage daughters, is terrific.
Gareth Bale and I have recently set up ‘Rebel Rebel Comedy’, a monthly comedy night at Tiny Rebel in Cardiff. I’m really enjoying getting to know the stand-up comedy scene in Wales, and through our wonderful MC, Steffan Evans, we are being introduced to the huge depth of talent that is out there. Stand-up comedians are fearless performers and I love watching them work.
Music wise, I am always in awe of Gruff Rhys. His career is so inspiring and organic. I am always excited to see what he does next. From his very early days he has yet to record an album that I haven’t loved, and his imagination is something I am very envious of. To work with him in some capacity is a long-term ambition of mine. That would be a dream come true.
Finally, after the incredible impact of Rachel O’Riordan at the Sherman, I am very excited to see where the newly appointed Artistic Director, Joe Murphy, takes the theatre to next.
What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would
like to share with our readers?
I grew up in the Britpop era and have always loved going to gigs. I am a big fan of 6 Music and recently happened to hear ‘Kebab Spider’ by the Sleaford Mods. I fell in love with it and them on the spot, and went with my wife to see them at Cardiff University earlier this year. On stage were two men in their mid-40’s, one with a lap top and one with a microphone. It was the most unbelievably visceral, and exciting live experience I have had in years. To lose yourself in a crowd and feel the joy of being in a mosh pit was something I thought I had left behind long ago. I am going to see them again in London in November and I cannot wait. Jason Williamson is far and away the best front man I have seen in years, and I would urge you to check out their documentary ‘Bunch of Kunst’ if you want to know more about them.
And finally, I believe you are about to have your new play ‘West’
premier in America. How do you think American audiences will react to your
Last year we were invited to the North American Festival of Wales in
Washington DC with ‘Grav’. The play was well received and so I was asked
to write something original for this year.
‘West’ explores the lives of the first Welsh settlers who went over to America. It is written largely in verse and stars Gareth Bale and Gwenllian Higginson. On a superficial level it is a love story between two people who make the decision to uproot their lives. On a deeper level I wanted to explore the theme of immigration, and to hopefully show the audience that we all originated from different places. I am very proud of it, and delighted it will premiere in America.
Many thanks for your time
are very welcome.
Creating opportunities for a diverse range of people to experience and respond to sport, arts, culture and live events.