Theatre in Wales

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Award-winning theatre-makers collaborate on new play for babies & toddlers     

Award-winning theatre-makers collaborate on new play for babies & toddlers Babies and toddlers in Caernarfon will be the first audiences in Wales to experience a new theatre production created by two of Wales’ leading theatre-makers for young people, Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis.

“Out of the Blue” – now translated as ”Allan o Nunlle” in Welsh – for audiences aged 6-24 months (and their grown-ups) - will be performed 3 times on May 16th at Galeri in Caernarfon, as part of a day of activities for babies including massage and signing with song sessions.

The performances will be at:
11am – “Allan o Nunlle” – Welsh
1.30pm – “Out of the Blue” – English
4pm – “Allan o Nunlle” – Welsh.

“Out of the Blue”/”Allan o Nunlle” is performed by Kevin Lewis, Artistic Director of Cardiff’s Theatr Iolo, the recent recipient of a Beacon Award from the Arts Council of Wales in recognition of the company’s excellence and innovation. Kevin has worked for almost 30 years as a director and actor in Theatre for Children and Young People and community theatre. In 1981 he joined Theatr Outreach/Theatr Clwyd in North Wales as an actor, and became Artistic Director in 1987. He moved south to Cardiff in 1990, to join Theatr Iolo.

The character Kevin plays in “Out of the Blue”/”Allan o Nunlle” loves playing with paper – scrunching it, tearing it, ripping it, rustling it, and wrapping things up in it. And the babies who have seen the production have loved watching the captivating images and listening to the intriguing sounds Kevin makes while at play.

As the mother of Oliver (aged 10 months), said,

"My son was spellbound from start to finish! His face was full of amazement for the whole 25 minutes, as were the faces of his friends."

At the end of the show, the babies and toddlers then have a chance to play with paper themselves. As Kevin, a man in his 50s with very little hair, says of the experience of sitting on the floor, surrounded by a dozen or so babies and toddlers,

“I was struck by the difference in age between us, but by the similarity in hairstyles!”.

In 2006, Sarah Argent, the show’s director, received a coveted Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales to research theatre for babies and toddlers; an artistic movement still very much in its infancy. Sarah travelled around the UK and to mainland Europe where she saw productions, took part in workshops & seminars, and shared ideas with other artists working for this very young age-group. As a result of this research, in 2007 she was one of only eight theatre practitioners and companies to receive an award from Small Size (a pan-European network for performing arts for the very young) which, along with in-kind support from Theatr Iolo, led to the creation of “Out of the Blue”.

“Out of the Blue” premiered at Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, London, last November and has been invited to festivals in Bucharest and Vienna. Prior to the performances in Caernarfon it will return to Polka Theatre and also visit the Sticky Fingers Festival in Newry, Northern Ireland, an international celebration of arts for the very young.

Sarah is the only director to have been invited to bring two shows for two separate companies to the Sticky Fingers Festival. The first show delegates will see is “Out of the Blue”. The second show, “Circles in the Sand”, sees Sarah collaborating with Tam Tam Theatre’s Artistic Director, Belgian puppeteer and performer, Marleen Vermeulen. For a slightly older age-group (1-3 year olds), “Circles in the Sand” is about exploring, discovering and playing in sand.

As Sarah said,

“I am very new to this world, so I am thrilled that my first two productions for babies and toddlers will be seen at the Sticky Fingers Festival, alongside the work of some of the pioneers in this field who have both inspired and mentored me – it’s a great honour”.

Sarah Argent  
web site

Friday, May 8, 2009back



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