Theatre in Wales

The latest theatre, dance and performance news

Welsh theatre and performance at the 2003 Edinburgh Fringe     

The fourth British Council Showcase takes place between 18th and 23rd August. As ever, it is focused on small and small to middle-scale theatre
work and provides a high quality snapshot of some of the most interesting British work that is available to tour internationally over the next couple of years.

This year's programme contains a number of specific threads; new writing from, amongst others, the Traverse Theatre , Out of Joint and Paines Plough; a live/performance art strand including Duckie, lone twin and Good Cop Bad Cop and visual and physical theatre from artists like Cartoon de Salvo, Peepolykus and Kaos. There is also a definite trend towards the creation of theatrical installations and work in unconventional spaces.

Finally, we are very pleased that in the Showcase this year we have a BAC (Battersea Arts Centre ) strand, or more accurately, four exciting emerging companies whose work has been developed at the venue .

We expect over 200 delegates to attend this year's Showcase which features 33 theatre companies. The Welsh groups participating - all of which you will know - are Good Cop Bad Cop, Eddie Ladd and Volcano. Information on the shows they are presenting is below:

Good Cop Bad Cop

Good Cop Bad Cop is a Welsh performance company drawing on its members' various fields of expertise: dance, film, photography, sound and visual art as well as live performance. John Rowley and Richard Huw Morgan, who have Devised and will perform Sound Effects, were core members of Wales's influential experimental performance company Brith Gof and John is a regular collaborator with Forced Entertainment. The company's work, as well as reflecting these multiple influences, is often preoccupied with the relationship between performer, audience and environment, and frequently takes place in unconventional sites; in this instance around, beside, below and outside of the usual performance spaces at Theatre Workshop.

Described by the company as a "sound promenade", this 40-minute piece takes the form of a guided tour of the host building, incorporating small choreographies and accompanied by a soundtrack created from 'found' sounds: commercial sound effects, pre-recorded instructions, ambient field recordings. This is relayed to the spectators via headsets creating an unsettling, intimate soundtrack to the collective activity and making familiar spaces appear distorted by the soundscape. Recently performed in Montreal, where the promoter described the piece as "fascinating" and "captivating"; the spectators' awareness of the strangeness of their apparently silent procession makes them both conscious of and amused by their role at the centre of the performance.

Eddie Ladd

Ex-member of the internationally renowned Brith Gof and now one of Wales' most charismatic and innovative solo performers, Cardiff-based Eddie Ladd is a cross-disciplinary artist producing both theatre-based and site-specific work. With resonant themes such as cultural imperialism and the survival of small nations, her performances bring together movement, Welsh and English text, music and bold visual imagery, and appeal to audiences with a healthy interest in experimentation.

Based on Sam Fuller's 1963 B-movie Shock Corridor - which focuses on Trent, a black inmate of a mental hospital, whose delusion is that he is white and a member of the Ku Klux Klan - Club Luz is an atmospheric, speculative essay with electronic music on the future life of Wales. In the film, Fuller's hospital is a metaphor for a nation and Trent the expression of self-loathing learned on the wrong side of colonialism. At Club Luz, the film becomes the stage set, while Trent becomes a white female with a haunting singing voice, whose songs are expressions of alienation,
aspiration, grief and, ultimately, the redemptive power of pop.

Volcano

Established in 1987, Swansea-based Volcano has toured world-wide with productions such as Macbeth: Director's Cut, The Town that Went Mad, How to Live, L.O.V.E and Private Lives. The company's reputation for producing uncompromising, provocative and intelligent physical theatre has made it one of the most challenging and unpredictable companies working in Britain today.

This Imaginary Woman is a musical/theatrical collaboration between Volcano's artistic director Fern Smith, and composer and musician, Patrick Fitzgerald.
It showcases the extraordinary charisma and physical presence of Smith in a penetratingly personal evocation of the loss of her mother. Using piano,guitar and the human voice to sing and storytell a journey from loss and mourning to resolution, the performance is inspired by the European tradition of cabaret. Dark and dangerously emotional at times, soaring and exhilarating at others, this is a moving, intimate performance guaranteed to affect anyone who has ever lost a loved one.

(In addition, Volcano are also presenting TalkSexShow outside the framework of the Showcase)
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