Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Full-blast at 30 Years Old

Agor Drysau/ Opening Doors

Arad Goch , Aberystwyth Arts Centre & Other Venues , March-19-19
Agor Drysau/ Opening Doors by Arad Goch Arad Goch and Mid-Wales Opera. The two companies have offices on the same latitude geographically. They have both chalked up thirty years of public service across Wales. Otherwise, they might seem to share little in common. Not so: in the things that matter they have everything in common. A powerful belief in the art-forms they pursue, the quest for quality, strong governance; these are all good. But they are only as good as the purpose to which they are harnessed, to get shows out in front of audiences for their delight.

“Agor Drysau–Opening Doors” is Wales’ International Festival of Performing Arts for Young Audiences. Arad Goch is the host, presiding spirit and management force of the Festival which takes place every two years. This, the ninth, has a special significance. Those who have travelled to Ceredigion include companies from Spain, France, Belgium. The sponsors are many. They include county and town, Mercator and Arts & Business Cymru. The colourful, excellently produced brochures display the blue background and yellow stars that is the symbol of Europe.

The atmosphere in the Arts Centre is ebullient. Ten foot figures roam auditorium and outside terrace. On the opening day these giants on stilts have loaned themselves challengingly to the weekly life drawing class. They are from Bangor-based Circas Cimera

The many volunteers are high in enthusiasm. Director Jeremy Turner and team have put the call out for festival stewards, assistants for the international artists, administrative assistants, helpers with marketing and promotion. Young film-makers and photographers are required as are set designers and artists. The volunteers too are of Europe, Catalans and Bulgarians among them. Aberystwyth has been a huge beneficiary of the Erasmus Programme emanating from Brussels.

The Festival comprises 19 shows and among them the first three illustrate the tone, the breadth and the internationalism. “Qui Pousse”/”Pwy Sy'n Gwthio”/”Who's Pushing” comes from Compagnie Lunatic. The set is a moving frame of bamboo and cotton, animated with aerial acrobatics and music.

“Un Tout Petit Peu Plus Loin”/ “Tamed Bach Ymhellach”/ “A Little Bit Further” is the work of Collectif H2Oz, with credits to Wanze Cultural Centre, d’Engis’s Cultural Centre, l’écôle de la Retraite du Sacré Coeur school supported by the Fédération Wallonie. Their dance-music piece is played out on a cube that emerges from a moving sea. Out of this egg-like square emerge two, then four, then six feet, ready for first tentative steps in this vast world.

“Refugi”, which I saw, is by Clownidoscopio Teatre from Illhis Baeleric. It also comes with many supporters: Teatre Principal de Palma, IEB i Conselleria TCE, Sa Xerxa de Teatre Infantil i Juvenil de les Illes Balears, Teatre Principal de Maó, Ajuntament de Santa Eularia des Riu (Barruguet), Consell d’Eivissa, Limfjordsteatret Denmark.

It is the most archetypal of tales. A stranger is met with slammed doors and shouts of “no!” He meets an obsessively tidy house-owner. The differ and fall out, they are bonded by art, adventure, sport, the nourishment of a fragile plant.

The trousers are big and baggy, the clownish shoes long. Movement, gesture and facial expression are of an international standard. The score is eclectic covering a mosaic of moods. Theatr y Werin is packed and the audience adores “Refugi.” In the spirit of this festival without borders rien plus à dire, nichts mehr zu sagen.

The web design for the festival is of very high quality and includes trailers for all performances. “Agor Drysau” continues at Aberystwyth, Builth Wells, Felinfach & Talybont until 23rd March.

All performances can be seen at:

Circas Cimera at

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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