How can 'theatre' happen in 'small' spaces throughout Wales?

Romy Shovelton, 7 July 2012

Present: Mike, Matt, Davinda & Jen from National Theatre Wales; Rhodri; Romy Shovelton (convenor)

This conversation builds on the ideas and intentions shared in ‘How do we make theatre a force for social change".

Romy opened by acknowledging a personal interest in sharing her dream for using the ’amphitheatre' space at the Wikima retreat & gathering centre growing at Romy's home outside Carno, mid Wales (SY17 5JU). The space is dedicated to conversation, creativity and play.

The aim of this particular D&D conversation is to grow the ‘theatre’ possibilities in any ‘small’ interesting space around Wales.

We spoke of ‘theatre’ in the widest experience sense - all shapes, sizes, places and people. Experiences that surprise, amaze, renew, inspire and connect people.

Matt's role in NTW includes finding interesting spaces & places in which to make & show theatre. There are indeed many fabulous smaller spaces of potential in Wales.

The group are particularly passionate about pieces growing from the communities

themselves - their stories, knowledge and experiences. Then animated with the help of actors, musicians, poets, directors etc. cf NTW's brilliant Mountain Sand and Sea in Barmouth.

We talked of the potential of several pieces being created / held around an area eg. Machynlleth/ Carno - pieces with a thread connecting them. One top of mind thread idea = “the places and spaces that attract people to pass through and to stay” - Mach as the ancient capital of Wales + Owain Glyndwr + drovers using the Drovers Roads etc etc. The power of the land to draws people to pass through and also to stay.

We spoke of the practical need to imagine & plan for attracting the audiences that may wish to come. eg. local people engaged in the project + their networks; traditional advertising and PR in local papers (including photos & interesting stories about the pieces and how they came to be); encouraging people to ‘sign up’ to come to the whole series (eg. 3 shows); linking people along the train line (eg. Welshpool to Aber / Pwllheli), to come to the ‘venues’ (eg. Mach and Carno), by train - with special transport from the stations of Mach and Caersws (eg. historic buses).

A key need is to find local animators who will hold the focus and energy for the project in each place - to grow the engagement of local people; to find the stories; and to continue the relationships and learning that emerges from the project.

This conversation will be continuing..... “When it's not over, it's not over”.....


places, local stories, Machynlleth, animation, Carno, audience attraction, spaces, engagement