Theatre in Wales

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Dirty Protest looks to the past to leave a legacy for the future in Pembroke Dock.     

Dirty Protest looks to the past to leave a legacy for the future in Pembroke Dock.
Wales’s acclaimed new writing company celebrates tenth year in style as landmark production ‘comes home’ and culminates in community arts festival for the Pembrokeshire town in which the play is set.
Dirty Protest Theatre Company are celebrating their 10th Anniversary year with a production of Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock, a new play by Pembroke writer Mark Williams. The play is touring to thirteen venues across Wales, finishing at co-producer venue, the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven. The end of the tour coincides with May the Fourth and to celebrate this and the wonderful town at the heart of the play's story, the company is organising a community led three-day festival, Pembroke Dock Celebrates, sponsored by Valero.
Pembroke Dock Celebrates will involve a series of workshops and creative community activities that
will culminate in a locally-led festival on the weekend of ‘May the Fourth’ (unofficially celebrated worldwide as Star Wars Day), celebrating the area’s unique history and future. Workshops and masterclasses in local schools and Pembrokeshire college on 3rd and 4th May will build up to a large- scale community celebration day in the town on Saturday 5th May.
Producer Jennifer Lunn said: “Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock is inspired by the real-life construction in Pembroke Dock shipyard of the full-size Millennium Falcon spaceship, used in the film ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’. We really wanted to bring the story home to Pembroke Dock. Through highlighting the town’s role in one of the most iconic film franchises of the last fifty years, we hope to
broaden the aspirations and horizons of the local community by allowing them to see themselves reflected in this based-on-true-events story. The production received a large touring grant from Arts Council Wales. Part of this funding is designated to support the planning and delivery of a community focussed and led festival in Pembroke Dock, the town at the heart of the play. The project has also been supported by Pembrokeshire County Council and is sponsored by Valero.”
The day will start with a procession through the Town Centre. A giant spaceship will be created as part of the project and will lead the parade alongside costumed characters from Star Wars including Stormtroopers. The children involved in the schools’ project will carry the spaceships they have created. They will be joined by friends and family and other members of the community who will be invited to dress up and walk with them. Accompanying the procession will be a band playing the Star Wars theme tune. The Procession will lead to the Market Hall in Pembroke Dock where various locally themed and Star Wars related activities will take place.
These will include a fancy-dress competition, face painting, screenings of a short film about the building of the Falcon in Pembroke Dock, lightsabre combat academy displays and workshops, Star Wars space ships and gun replica display, Star Wars Green Screen activities and showcasing of past
and current work in the dockyard by local companies and stakeholders.
At the end of the event there will be buses available to take ticket holders over to the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven to see Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock and to bring them back afterwards. The aim is to offer/subsidise reduced tickets for residents of Pembroke Dock so that the show is more accessible to those less able to attend the theatre.
The festival has been created and planned in collaboration with local stakeholders including Dilys
Burrell, Town Council, Stuart Berry, Pembroke Dock Heritage Centre, The VC Gallery and the Pembroke Town Team.
Dilys Burrell said: “The Pembroke Dock Town Team have often talked about the potential associated
with their link to the Star Wars films, so they were delighted to hear of Dirty Protest Theatre's plans for the 'Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock' production (they provided a letter of support for the Arts Council Wales funding application). They have also told us there have been few community arts events in Pembroke Dock in recent years, and they are hugely excited by the potential of the Dirty Protest Theatre led community event to inspire similar celebrations in the future, as well as build pride amongst the community in Pembroke Dock in their unique role in making amazing things since the town's creation in 1814.”
During the event volunteers will be collecting contributions towards the development of a new Town
Centre Space for the VC Gallery.
Led by Artistic Director Catherine Paskell, the production Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock is designed by Cadi Lane, lighting design by Ceri James and Sound design by Dan Lawrence. The full cast for the play will be Keiron Self, Jack Hammett, Sian Davies and Dick Bradnum. Keiron and Dick will both be well known to audiences across Wales for their numerous television and theatre appearances including My Family (Self), and High Hopes (both actors). Pembrokeshire-raised Sian will be known to Welsh speaking audiences from Pobol Y Cwm. Jack is a relative newcomer to the theatre scene, but has already racked up performances with Dirty Protest, The Other Room and Volcano Theatre Company.
Pembrokeshire born writer Mark Williams said: “In 1979, I was too young to be aware of the rumours that the Millennium Falcon was being built on my doorstep in Pembrokeshire. Learning about it later,

it felt almost too amazing to be true. The thought of actually getting to see it – what that would mean to someone of Sam’s age, and how that might shape his life – was what first inspired Lightspeed.
Some of my earliest memories are of seeing the Star Wars films for the first time. They continue to influence everything I write, in countless ways. For all their incredible effects and thrilling pace, at heart the Star Wars films have always been about underdogs and unlikely allies overcoming the odds stacked against them - stories of family, friendship, and hope”.
Now, Dirty Protest brings Mark’s story to the stage in a production that combines the thrill of 1980’s adventure movies with an intergenerational family saga all of its own.
When Star Wars superfan Sam discovers that the Millennium Falcon is being built in his home town, his life is turned upside down. Determined to get inside the cockpit; his only obstacle is his stepdad Mike, guardian of the secret hangar where the legendary ship is being built in Pembroke Dock. Fast
forward to 2014. Sam’s daughter Lizzie goes missing, forcing him into a desperate hunt to bring her back to safety before it’s too late.
Never mind saving the galaxy, sometimes you just have to save your own world. Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock explores what happens when Hollywood’s best-loved spaceship lands on your doorstep. The production is billed as a story of hope, courage, and how to be a family when it seems the universe is against you.
Starting in Chapter, Cardiff on 4th April, the five-week tour includes visits to Penygraig, Llanelli, Swansea, Newport, Carmarthen, Pontardawe, Abergavenny, Blackwood, Caernarfon, Aberystwyth, and Brecon, before taking the story back to its home in Pembrokeshire, for the performances at Torch Theatre, Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock Celebrates in the home of the Millennium Falcon itself.
A Press Call for Pembroke Dock Celebrates will take place at Pater Hall, Lower Street, Pembroke Dock SA72 6DD, 1pm on Saturday 5th May, there will be a procession immediately afterwards which will offer good opportunities for engaging footage.
There may also be opportunities to film schoolchildren (subject to permissions) showcasing their spaceships on Friday 4th May.
Dirty Protest  
web site
Stella Patrick
Wednesday, March 28, 2018back



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