Theatre in Wales

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

Sgript Xplosure! 3

A look back at last weekend's events in Harlech

Sgript Xplosure! 3 was the culmination of three month's work in Harlech and the surrounding region. The project began in early January with an initial week of visits to schools, colleges, community centres and amateur theatre groups, presenting an introductory taster workshop reached well over 100 interested people. Community Writer, Aled Jones Williams, worked through writing exercises developing open-ended scenarios and leading the participants to create their own characters and dialogue.
Over the three months, Aled has inspired a remarkable body of work in progress working one evening a week. Alternate Tuesday evenings were dedicated to writers working through the medium of Welsh or in English. The first half of the evening is devoted to teaching craft and working through exercises. The second half of the evening offers reading and criticism of work in progress either generated within the workshops or 'from the drawer'.

Open access workshops followed featuring professional actors reading extracts from work that writers brought along.

Aled defines the importance of the work: "Working locally is important, but through the professional focus provided by Theatr Ardudwy and Sgript Cymru this work has a national potential. We are drawing out what clearly is already there and providing the time and space in which people can risk being heard."

Gwyn L Williams, Director of Theatre Ardudwy adds: "This first quarter project has exceeded our expectations at Theatr Ardudwy. Not only has the scheme attracted many people in both languages, it has also kept hold of themů The entire scheme has attracted considerable support from both communities in our catchment. We have students, professionals and retired people attending: in short an excellent cross section of our potential audience. Needless to say, the scheme is, in addition to its own goals, raising the profile of what we ourselves are doing in the community. It is very much what we are about: that is reaching out to our community to raise awareness of the creative arts.

The two day Sgript Xplosure! at the end of March featured readings of both scenes and complete works produced by writers during their three months work. In addition two works in progress were given their first public reading. Dic Edwards' 'Franco's Bastard' is an English Language commission from Sgript Cymru examining the dark side of nationalism and issues of identity and parentage. By turns it is both bleakly humorous and shocking in its revelations. Sera Moore Williams' 'Mab' is commissioned by the Eisteddfod from Y Gymraes in association with Sgript Cymru. It's power was apparent even at this early stage of work. It deals with the disappearance of a child, a true story, in a layered and profoundly theatrical style that stays with you long after the last words have been spoken.

Earlier in the week in Cardiff Jonathan Lloyd, Associate Director of Soho Theatre lead a workshop examining stylistic alternatives to naturalism. A group of writers most of whom already had experience of writing for the stage, had a very enjoyable afternoon examining the possibilities of everything from expressionism to mime!

You would have had to have been a well-travelled Sgript Xplosure member to see all the week's work, but they would have come away with a profound impression of the sheer range of possibilities for contemporary theatre writing in Wales.

The works given a first showing over the weekend were:

'Rhodd Mam' by Nia Medi
'An untitled play' by Mair Tomos Ifans
'Lleng' by Gwynne Wheldon Evans
'Yr Angel a'r Diawl' bach by Mari Emlyn
'The Last Revolutionary' by Arthur McCrail
'Emily' by Nicholas Kearne
'Jolene' by Linda Turner
'Bobbed Hair' by Christine Rees
'Sorry but we only like Nescafe' by Karen Dolen-Smith
'Time Warp' by Andrew Chapman

author:Bill Hopkinson, Sgript Cymru literary director

original source: Sgript Cymru
01 March 2001


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