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I'll Be There Now

Susan Kingman's one woman show takes the Afan Valley actress back home in a semi-autobiographical play that's touring Cardiff, Merthyr and Swansea.

Fiona s in the rugby club, pulling pints and grappling with being back in the village after ten years away. She s missing Barbados. She s missing LA and maybe she s missing the point. After all, as 50 Cent said,Sunny days wouldn t be so special if it wasn t for the rain. Then again, he also saidIf you die in an elevator, make sure you press the up button. Well the lift s out of order and it s pouring with rain, so why not come in and have a few? You never know perhaps tonight is the night when something finally happens.

Based on real-life interviews with real-life people, I ll Be There, Now mixes live theatre with film installation to explore the choices we make and where happiness might really lie. The show explores a young woman s attempt to escape from the supposed humdrum life of the valleys to the glamour of the world beyond, and examines our relationship with the place we call 'home' and what happens when we leave. Kingman grew up in the village of Glyncorrwg in the Afan Valley. The show began life as an audition piece for National Theatre Wales' The Passion and was developed with the encourgement of its star, Michael Sheen.

Kingman says of the piece:I couldn t wait to get away from Glyncorrwg when I was younger, and became an air hostess to quite literally fly away from it all! I travelled the world, then settled in London for quite a long time, before eventually returning to Wales early last year.

"Whilst the story is not my life exactly, it does trace my journey through university and eventually to moving to London and working as an air hostess. It explores the sort of identity crisis that I went through; one that I think is fairly common for anyone who has left the place they are from and attempted to choose something different."

Parts of the piece are based on first-hand testimonies from and interviews with members of the South Wales Valleys communities, including Dr Julian Tudor Hart, who established the country s first medical research practice in Glyncorrwg, and members of Maesteg Male Voice Choir. Kingman explains: As part of the research process I met and talked with a number of people from the Valleys, most of whom were of my grandparents' generation. We were invited into people's homes, the local elderly residential home and even to the Male Voice Choir rehearsal in Maesteg. As the day went on, and people generously shared their stories with us, I felt a sort of reclamation process taking place as my attitude towards my home village changed and I began to appreciate the character and sense of community in the area. These stories now feature heavily in the piece. More recently, students from Merthyr College have also contributed towards the process, offering a younger generation's perspective on growing up in a Communites First area."

I ll Be There, Now opens at the Park Conservative Club in Cardiff on the 9th and 10th Dec, before going to Redhouse Cymru in Merthyr on 11th & 12th Dec and finally tours to Volcano Theatre in Swansea on 13th Dec.

Tickets for the Park Conservative Club and Volcano performances can be booked from Chapter Arts Centre

Written and performed by Susan Kingman Directed by Elise Davison Original music and film installation by Jonathan Dunn Dramaturgy by Daniel McGowan