Theatre in Wales

Commentary and extended critical writing on theatre, dance and performance in Wales

SORTED SYMPOSIUM: WELSH WRITING IN ENGLISH

This article appears in association with New Welsh Review; the best of English language writing about Wales.
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Organised by Sorted Productions, this London event was well attended by a delegation including writers, actors, dramaturgs, directors and academics.

Introducing the event, Sally Ann Gritton gave a brief overview of Sorted Productions’ work in recent years exclusively profiling Welsh artists and Welsh writing in English. Speaker Jeni Williams began by raising issues of voice, acknowledging the bilingual nature of theatre in Wales and the tradition of non-text based performance.

Championing the vocal power of text-based theatre she argued it as a tool for Wales in a British Theatre context, preventing muteness or invisibility. Discussion of historical perspectives followed, examining the differences of an English presentation of Wales onstage versus a Welsh representation in English.

To illustrate the range of existing work, selected extracts (directed by Sally Ann Gritton) were performed throughout the day: ‘Small Change’ by Peter Gill, ‘Gas Station Angel’ by Ed Thomas, ‘In Sunshine and In Shadow’ by Alan Osborne, ‘Little Sister’ by Sian Evans, ‘The Rabbit’ by Meredydd Barker (Clwyd Theatre Cymru, dir. Terry Hands) and ‘Waiting at the Water’s Edge’ by Lucinda Coxon. Actors (Ben Abell, Dafydd Emyr, Siwan Morris, Bronwen Price, Oliver Ryan, Clr Stephens) were cast across extracts, helping to illuminate preoccupations and stylistic tendencies of the writing.

In the afternoon session Simon Harris, Artistic Director of Sgript Cymru spoke of their company ethos citing its mantra ‘discover, develop, produce’.

Simon later led a rare platform conversation with Peter Gill and Gary Owen. Both writers discussed early theatre memories and how they started as writers. These anecdotes gave a new viewpoint on their writing and complemented their subsequent conversation on being ‘Welsh’ playwrights.

Sian Evans, Meredydd Barker and Lucinda Coxon gave insightful introductions to their work and the overriding impact on the day was the obvious quality of writing from Wales in English; powerful writing that defines a diverse voice, transcending accusations of insularity in the construction of Welsh identity onstage.

author:Sally Ann Gritton, Artistic Director, Sorted Productions

original source: Sorted Productions
28 July 2002

 

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