Siop Stori Walk the Line
25th March 2010
National Theatre Wales has set itself the objective "to create invigorating theatre in the English language, rooted in Wales, with an international reach". Creating a 'Theatre Map of Wales' the intention is to bring theatre to parts of Wales that might not have an association with international contemporary theatre, and into venues that at first glance appear inappropriate for a theatrical experience. An exciting proposal that is very apropriate for Wales and one that can truly be called a 'National Theatre'. And so far so good, 'A Good Night Out In The Valleys' has already taken place receiving high acclaim.
"National Theatre Wales gets off to a strong start... the show is blessed with great generosity of spirit – and some terrific jokes."
The Daily Telegraph ****
"NTW proves that it can attract fine actors — and that it clearly means to take a hard look at Wales and the Welsh as well as to celebrate them."
The Times ****
"What a debut production it proves to be... Make no mistake - a first class start to this long overdue venture has been made."
In April the second residency shows the fruits of their labours as 'Shelf Life' opens in Swansea. Throughout Wales there are projects underway where artists, writers and performers are rediscovering, revealing and reimagining our nation.
In Barmouth international artist Marc Rees has begun work, he's got a team together and is listening to the people of the town. Marc and fellow artist Holly Davey have not simply been listening this week, they've also been thoroughly imersing themselves in Barmouth and have come out the other end totally accepted as townsfolk themselves. Even if Marc does speak Welsh using those strange southern words he's been befrended by these 'Gog's'.
‘It all started with an opportunity to explore the Welsh seaside – we went on a tour of the coastline of Wales and chose Barmouth. Apparently Darwin wrote part of the Origin of Species here and John Ruskin and Wordsworth came here, so you have this fantastic arts and literature connection. Along the high street, there are many chapels which are now ‘Pound Shops’ – there’s one with a cash register in the pulpit and you’ve got inflatable crocodiles hanging from the gallery and the church organ – you can almost hear the congregation scream in horror! We’re hoping to find a chapel we can use for this production and we’ll encourage the international performance artists to take people on guided tours of Barmouth.’
Marc Rees, Curator
Marc Rees’ artworks are known for their flamboyant, humorous and often extreme interpretations of history, culture and personal experience. In addition to working with some of Britain’s foremost physical theatre companies (Brith Gof, Earthfall and DV8) his own body of work through his company RIPE (Rees International Projects Enterprise) has been premiered throughout Europe and the UK. He recently won the Wales bid for the Cultural Olympiad project ‘Artists Taking the Lead’ for which he will transport the fuselage of a DC9 aeroplane across Wales as a mobile art space. But this week he and Holly have manned the Siop Stori Shop at the Dragon Theatre in Barmouth.
A cunning plan was hatched to get the local townsfolk to open up and spill the beans about their shared histories at the story shop when Marc and Holly attended Hugh's Views, a 3 monthly gathering where old photographs and stories are showed and discussed, and the regular 'Line Dancing' event.
Marc listens to Barmouth locals as they remember people and events from Barmouths past.
Hugh Roberts has been collecting photographs from the townsfolk for the past few years, scanning them and putting them on line. Every month there is an upload of images and people can use the internet to see them and reminice and every three months people gather in the Dragon Theatre to go through the images and remind each other of the stories and the characters in the photographs. This has been very important in helping Marc formulate his plans for the events that will take place from the 25th of June to the 10th of July this year.
Holly Davey asking Gwynfor Owen about his Barmouth stories.
Marc talks to Tom Hughes.
And then of course there was the Line Dancing........
You can take the National Theatre Wales Challenge – see every single show in the first year programme and, if you do, they will reward you by refunding the total cost of your tickets.
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See you at the theatre, on the streets, at the beach, in a factory....
Also See -
Marc Rees profile
Walking the Line video
National Theatre Wales' Global Launch news item