National Theatre Wales' Global Launch
5th November 2009
National Theatre Wales is set to create bold, invigorating theatre in the English language, rooted in Wales, with an international reach.
I set off in good time to be a part of the National Theatre Wales launch - a launch that was taking place at various locations around Wales and on-line so that the whole world could join in, and bring a friend too! I wanted to be a part of the event physically as well as virtually and so I decided to go to Aberystwyth Arts Centre and join in the fun there at 12:30.
I was re-directed around Machynlleth because the heavy rain, combined with the high tide, had flooded Dyfi Bridge. A 12 mile detour. On the approach to Bow Street a large crane pulling a car from a field was blocking the road and this added another detour to my trip.
So, I arrived late - only by 15 minutes mind - but too late for the champagne - that had already been squaffed. I did get a bit of cake though and, as there wasn't much happening, and I was at a loss as to how to cover the event for Culture Colony - Y Wladfa Newydd, I photographed it.
Keith Morris was there - looking for a photograph too. He pointed out that most of the people in the bar were there for lunch. Of the people who were there for the launch, and not arts centre or National Theatre staff, there was Keith and I and two others. So how come all the champagne was gone? That's more than a bottle each for the genuine punters! I was driving anyway - so either way I would not have partaken.
Regardless of the numbers physically there and the amount of champagne drunk per person this was an important event and I was glad to be there and feel a part of the beginning of what will become a major and important Welsh Institution.
John E McGrath and Lucy Davies broadcasting live to all four of us in Aberystwyth.
Two monitors brought us live pictures from the internet so that we could see what was going on at the NTW omphalos in Cardiff. And other live feeds from around Wales gave the launch a truly Welsh feel - at one point there were shots of tractors on the screens for some reason, but it felt right. There were two highlights to the launch for me, oh! - three if you include the cake. One was Mathilde Lopez Gomez half way up Snowdon struggling with the weather. Somehow the wind, added to her thick French accent, made it even more wonderful, exotic and international, and at the same time very Welsh and inclusive. My other highlight was the arrival of No Fit State Circus on the roof of the Cardiff venue. As the wobbly cam made a very wobbly pan around to show us, live around the world, what was going on, we were thrilled to see a lovely woman with hula hoops.
So, they were the highlights for me from my experience of the launch. The important thing to remember though is not what was happening to me but what the event today was launching. And that is exciting.
This is a new national institution and it's setting out to be exactly that. There is no building to call the 'home' of NTW. This organisation has embraced the potential offered by new technologies to enable a Wales wide structure, and from the beginning to be as inclusive around our country as possible (although, from first inspection of the new theatre map, Mid Wales - especially Radnorshire and Montgomeryshire - still doesn't exist - must be the same map that BBC Wales uses for 'national' coverage).
There are 13 events for us to look forward to taking place all over Wales from now until spring 2011. The final event we're promised will be a 'spectacular finale'.
To find out more - and there is a lot more to tell - visit the web site www.nationaltheatrewales.org where you will find all the information as each project develops.
CONGRATULATIONS NATIONAL THEATRE WALES and thanks for the cake!
‘For once wouldn’t it be great if the audience leaves town and goes in the forest to see a show or up on a cliff or wherever – we could meet in Wales’
Stefan Kaegi, Rimini Protokoll