Once again we’ve put together an eclectic programme of work, which will, hopefully, fulfil the needs of our very diverse audiences. We always aim to produce work of the highest standard possible, which will entertain and stimulate our audiences whatever the genre and whoever those audiences may be.
Spring Production 5 May - 2 June
Our first production this year will be Brêcshit, a new Club Show – a brand unique to Bara Caws in the world of Welsh language theatre. This time around we’ve invited some stalwarts of the genre, along with one unsuspecting newbie, to co-write the script. So Iwan Charles, Manon Ellis, Llyr Evans and Gwenno Ellis Hodgkins have already been scribbling away under the eagle of eye of John Glyn Owen, who takes on the rôle of dramaturg and director. 4 actors but tens of characters — lots of laughter, provocation, satire and, most definitely…filth…
“Doris Morris’s family has been farming at Bryn-Cwd-yr-Arian for generations, but following the Brexit referendum, poor Doris has had to find alternative means of making ends meet. By now she is running a therapeutic clinic which is also a haven for people with all sorts of problems. Will this new business venture keep the wolf from the door? Will Doris succeed in securing her inheritance? And how healthy is colonic irrigation if truth be told? – We’ll see!”
Summer Production August 3 - 11
In August we will be re-staging Gair o Gariad – (a Welsh language adaptation of Uninvited Guests/ Fuel’s Love Letters Straight from your Heart), which we have already performed locally in 2016. Therefore, following the great feedback and in response to great demand, we will be working with the National Eisteddfod of Wales and Chapter to perform the piece again during the Eisteddfod week in Cardiff this August. When you buy your ticket you will be given the opportunity to send in a request for a song for someone/something/somewhere which means something special to you, then that request will be woven into whichever show (anonymously if you wish) you come to see. The only requests played each evening are written by the audience members present for that particular performance, ensuring that each show is unique and relevant to that audience. The range of requests we received last time around was extraordinary — poignant, emotional, funny, cheeky, to lovers, (and ex-lovers), husbands and wives, parents and children, to pets, a community, and one or two had actually written a request for themselves! You DON’T HAVE TO send in a request but from the feedback we received, those who had not were sorry that they hadn’t done so, or were sorry that they hadn’t written more detailed requests…there will be further information, including some examples (with permission of course!), on our website during the next few months.
We are thrilled that the National Eisteddfod has invited us to contribute to the festival once again, and are also thrilled that Chapter are keen to work alongside to ensure the best possible experience for our audiences. Very rarely have we mounted a production when the audience have been so slow in exiting the auditorium, all wishing the evening could carry on so that they could share memories and experiences — what better location than Chapter?
“Well, what a journey — of experiences, of uncontrollable laughter, of pure embarrassment, to rediscover long-lost memories…Everyone went home with shining eyes and a huge smile on their faces…”
(Lowri Haf Cooke)
Please note — there are only 40 tickets for each performance, so be sure that you buy yours as soon as they’re put up for sale.
Although this is a Welsh language performance, due to the nature of the piece it’s very accessible to non-Welsh speakers and to learners.
Autumn Production October 9 - 27
In the autumn we will be producing Dwyn i Gof by one of Wales’ most important modern playwrights, the late Meic Povey. Meic had sent us the play last year, and we’d just started e-mailing and texting back and forth to discuss the project further when he became gravely ill. He’d written to me a while back stating that he was keen to cut back on his work load, especially for television, but in his words, “… theatre is a different kettle of fish…”. I was in a quandary. As we don’t have the opportunity now to question and discuss and thrash things out — a part of the process of working with a dramatist which I treasure — should we work on the play or not? Then a couple of days after he died I received a card from him, sent by Catrin his daughter, and in his own inimitable way, challenging me to get to grips with the work asap — and as Catrin said — “Who are we to ignore that?”. Dwyn i Gof is a challenging, darkly humorous play about losing one’s mind, about the sins of the fathers, and about the revealing of secrets. I’ll miss the opportunity to discuss, debate, and challenge, but it will be — as ever — a privilege.
Research and Development
In partnership with Dawns i Bawb we’ve recently completed a short period of R&D on Angharad Tomos’ book, Wrth fy Nagrau I. The central image is striking — patients in a ward for the mentally ill, the patients being women from the Welsh literary tradition who have all experienced some kind of trauma. From Heledd to Monica, from Gwladys Rhys to Mrs Prichard. The main theme in itself deserves its place on public platforms, and the work also highlights the failures of a system where the patients and the medical staff don’t share a common language.
The arts should never stand still, and we must work constantly to offer new challenges to practitioners and audiences alike, so with this project, we were keen to explore when words are no longer adequate to convey emotions. As a company we place great emphasis on developing the skills of practitioners, and through giving actors, who usually work through text alone, the opportunity to explore theatre of a more physical nature, their creative practice is developed. Investing in practitioners is vital for the continuation of the industry in Wales.
Following the fortnight’s R&D Catherine (DiB), myself and Carys, Gwen and Mari (the 3 actors who took part in the workshop) are confident that we’ve discovered the beginnings of a process which will realise our vision for the piece. We will be exploring the project further during the next few months, and are pleased that Angharad herself will be working with us on adapting her book for the stage.
Working with Urdd Gobaith Cymru
Since we won the tender to work on a new production for the Urdd’s Youth Theatre Company, the scripting work has already begun. The aim of the scheme is to nurture a talented team of young people who will then be responsible for every aspect of the project, under the mentorship of Bara Caws’s Management Team and other experienced practitioners e.g. Dyfan Jones, Catherine Young. Three young writers from Gwynedd, Elan Grug Muse, Sara Annest and Mared Llywelyn Williams, have been invited to co-write the script, under the guidance of Dr Manon Wyn Williams, Bangor University. Meilir Rhys Williams has been invited to direct, Ifan Sŵmani to lead on the musical elements, Cêt Haf as a Choreographer, and Erin Madox will be Designing the Set and Costumes. We will audition for cast members, musicians, and anyone who is interested in design, marketing, publicity etc later in the year.
Please note that this whole project will be conducted in Welsh, and you must be members of the Urdd to apply.
1st Draft - Scripting Scheme
Everyone is welcome to contact Bara Caws if they wish to write for the Company, but please note that we only produce work in the Welsh language. We have been operating a 1st Draft Scheme for many years when we explore and commission new work. Through this scheme we have secured a diverse canon of plays, such as Garw, Hogia Ni-Yma o Hyd, Allan o Diwn, No Wê, Raslas Bach a Mawr! and Yfory.
For a writer, the benefit of the system is that it offers financial and professional support in a safe, stress-free environment, with analysis and advice integral to the scheme. It’s a constructive process even if the result doesn’t always lead to a full production.
For the Company the benefits are twofold. Firstly is aims to ensure that the plays we eventually produce are of a high standard, and are relevant to our programme of work. Secondly it has a financial benefit as it ensures that the funds available for new authors and work is spent wisely and monitored carefully.
A New Home
We continue to look for a new workplace for the company, which will take precedence during the next few months. Securing a building which is fit-for-purpose would enable us to place the Company on a sound footing for the future (both figuratively and literally), and would also enable us to develop the creative space to a greater extent, where we could nurture, develop and support new partnerships. We are aware that the economic climate isn’t favourable these days, but we greatly appreciate everyone’s good will, advice and support. Be aware that we may come begging before long…