Theatre in Wales

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Creative collaboration places Wales at the forefront of Spainís cultural coast.     

Creative collaboration places Wales at the forefront of Spainís cultural coast. mes:a, Wales’ unique performance collective, in collaboration with Safle and Laboral Escena in Spain are gearing up for a project of unique scale and presence in Gijon, Asturias, northern Spain. En residencia which runs from 28th February to 8th March 2009, is curated by Marc Rees, produced by mes:a International Performance Collective and jointly funded by the commissioning client, Laboral Escena in Spain and Stiwdio Safle, with additional support from Chapter and Wales Arts International.

En residencia will see 10 artists from Wales join forces with 8 Spanish artists, to create interventions which respond to a unique site. The walls and open spaces of a vast architectural complex, Laboral, City of Culture, which once served as an orphanage and convent provides the context and will be transformed again through En residencia.

The artists from Wales include Marc Rees, Cai Tomos, Simon Whitehead, Holly Davey, Anthony Shapland, John Rowley, Richard Morgan, James Melville, Simon Mitchell, John Collingswood and Tanja Raman. The project will also premiere in Gijon alongside the British Council who will be presenting their first site-specific showcase, and will form the opening event for S.P.A.C.E UK, providing international delegates with a taste of the exceptional quality of work they can expect throughout.

Marc Rees said, “Curating and delivering this project with mes:a and our partners in Wales and Spain is a unique and wonderful experience. When I visited Laboral I was immediately struck by the scale and atmosphere of the space and its location but also by the enormous potential this project presented for artistic interchange between Welsh and Asturian artists. The site is unique and is an inspirational gift and provides everyone involved with a truly international stage.”

Wiard Sterk, Executive Director Safle said “Our Stiwdio Safle programme is specifically aimed at supporting this kind of collaborative venture, bringing artists from Wales together with their international counterparts. We are particularly pleased to work alongside mes:a, WAI and Chapter to support this opportunity and to strengthen links with Laboral Escena.”

Artistic collaborator and dramaturge for the project Benedict Anderson added, “This fascinating project will form an on-site laboratory where each artist can respond personally to a particular space of unique character. It might be a narrow corridor or a large open plaza and the stimulus for their intervention may be drawn, from the specific space itself or from random artefacts abandoned in the environment. Audiences will be invited to experience the work and navigate the locations, over a two hour period starting at midday. The nature of the project allows the free exchange of ideas and creative dialogue, between the Welsh and Spanish artists but also with the wider Asturian community. For them, it will be the first time for public access to be granted and they will experience for the first time, sites which have remained untouched for many years.”

Laboral Escena Programme Director Mateo Feijoo said, “The multitude of spaces at Laboral make it a unique place for works related to the building, spaces and historical memory. With mes:a and Marc we are able to to explore the place and facilitate exchange between local artists and Welsh artists with the aim of confronting their differences and recognising similarities.”

Eluned Haf, Director Wales Arts International, commented that the project will enrich the practice of Welsh artists and directly impact on their future work by providing a prism through which to view their usual place of practice, be that Wales, Asturias or further afield. “Importantly the project brings together emerging artists, still developing their approach and individual artistic language, with more established artists who have a strong trajectory of exhibited work nationally and internationally.”

 
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