Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

WMC: Character, Clarity, Candour

National Theatre: Comment

Wales Millennium Centre & National Theatre of Wales , Theatre Communications , March 9, 2023
National Theatre: Comment by Wales Millennium Centre & National Theatre of Wales The article of 2nd February, unusually for a theatre reviewer- looked at Quality Management. The framework- asserted but not applied- by the Arts Council of Wales, is in essence a recursive information model. Data flows, which embrace variation, create a virtuous circle of ever enriching data. It is to be hoped that a new management at the governing body might blow the dust off its management documents.

The first article on corporate communications, as embodied by the Torch, declared its principles:

"Character, candour, clarity.

These are not taxing principles for recipients of public subsidy to abide by when communicating with their public."

Three revenue-funded companies issued communications at the beginning of 2023. The Wales Millennium Centre issued a diary of its 2022.

It featured 8 YouTube links and 7 photographs. It was open with numbers: 1224 people saw “The Making of a Monster.” 1219 attended “Anthem.” 16075 people saw “the Boy with Two Hearts.”

The text from WMC read:

“2022 brought us firmly back together and saw the first waves of change which we can’t wait to enjoy with you next year. We showcased so much and welcomed such a variety of crowd-pleasing touring productions that there’s almost too much to mention… but let’s look back at some of our proudest moments from this past year.

“JANUARY – FEBRUARY

We continued to connect with you from afar as January saw the building close once again but in February we happily reopened our doors and launched a new free youth theatre programme, giving 14–17 year olds the opportunity to learn exciting theatre and performance skills in a friendly, inclusive space.

“MARCH

Welsh National Opera returned with a powerful production Jenůfa, and we celebrated St. David’s Day with a full day of events on our Glanfa stage including Pelenna Valley Male Voice Choir and Cwmdare Voices, the Oasis One World Choir and year 5 of St Mary's Catholic Primary School in Cardiff. We even livestreamed the event so that everyone could take part.

“APRIL

Luke Hereford burst out of his Grandmother’s Closet and filled the Weston Studio with iconic pop music, laughs and a lot of heart as his autobiographical musical adventure took on Broadway, his very first Pride event and finding the perfect shade of lipstick. Don’t miss out when it returns next year in our new Cabaret venue.

April saw the return of Life Hack at The Factory in Porth with Valleys Kids. It was hosted by Luke McGrath from our Together Stronger programme and Tia Camilleri from our Youth Collective and Design Group.

“MAY

The sparks of transformation appeared as we launched our Making Spaces project. We aren’t just a place to watch incredible performances and art, we’re also a creative learning hub. Collaborating with young people and communities, we began to establish new spaces in the building that will host free and inclusive workshops.

“JUNE

Summer saw the Hijinx festival visit and fill the building with a programme of live music, theatre, dance and post-show events. A joyous celebration, it’s one of Europe’s largest inclusive arts festivals and the only one of its kind in Wales.

“JULY

Our first ever Welsh language musical Anthem raised the Weston Studio roof. It was a raucous Wales Millennium Centre original production set behind-the-scenes and on stage during Wales’s biggest (fictional) singing television contest.

“AUGUST

The Butetown Carnival returned with a burst of culture and pride. The Bay saw thousands enjoy the famous parade as well as live music stages, showcasing the best multicultural arts experiences, and our spaces were the perfect setting for community activities, talks and memorable closing night performances.

“And Luke Hereford’s closet could not be contained, as it travelled to Edinburgh to mesmerise audiences at the Fringe festival.

“SEPTEMBER

The next stage of our refurbishment was revealed as we enhance the building to become an even greater space for everyone, and there’s plenty more to come in 2023. Our brand-new dedicated space for immersive experiences and extended reality (XR) Bocs launched just as August closed and September saw its first full month of free experiences for visitors. The first was Ripples of Kindness, which accompanied the return of our original production The Boy with Two Hearts.

“OCTOBER

The Boy with Two Hearts is a story of hope from Afghanistan to Wales, and the production itself became a phenomenon from Cardiff to London as it transferred to the National Theatre in the English capital where it received incredible reviews.

Back in Cardiff our annual Festival of Voice regenerated into Llais. Our international arts festival, which includes a mixture of free and ticketed events, presented a programme of adventurous live music, playful experiences and thought-provoking performances including John Cale, D Double E and Abdullah Ibrahim and a Cardiff City of Sound exhibition.

“NOVEMBER

We produced our first ever grime-theatre mash-up The Making of a Monster, the autobiographical story of the Children’s Laureate of Wales Connor Allen’s complicated childhood and search for identity and belonging. Inspired by grime music, the five-star show merged spoken word and poetry with movement, live music and rap battles.

“DECEMBER

We didn’t slow down, even in the final month of the year, as December brought the first Radio Platfform Porth graduation ceremony and party and the launch of our Cabaret season.

Still taking place is the winter celebration exhibition Azadi, by artist Naz Syed of Ziba Creative, celebrating community and Persian culture and heritage through beautiful pom-poms. Plus, we have our Christmas cabaret show The Lion, the B!tch and the Wardrobe – a hilarious cacophony of drag, aerial performances, burlesque and more which is wowing sell-out audiences every night.”

URL Source: https://www.wmc.org.uk/en/what-we-do/news-and-features/2022-a-year-to-remember

* * * *

The National Theatre of Wales issued five press releases in the whole year. As reported no press were at its November production. The company closed its year with:

“2022 had us stepping into our role as change-makers. Exploring how we can use theatre to really make a difference, well beyond the next year. Together, we journeyed into space with a delightful, yet dysfunctional family in Petula on an otherworldly trip that combined English, Welsh and a little French.

“We headed deep into Chepstow Woods with FRANK to look at the story of one man’s journey through nature and grief. We shared song, movement, memories and stories in Butetown for Circle of Fifths.

“We travelled to Newtown to test out Kidstown and see what happens when we encourage children take charge. We looked at ways to remain hopeful for the future in face of climate change with GALWAD, venturing between Swansea, Merthyr and Blaenau Ffestiniog. We wrapped up (in both senses of the word) in Wrexham for our TEAM production A Proper Ordinary Miracle, which placed local stories firmly at its heart. It’s been a good one.”

URL Source: NA

Its length at 158 words is economical. It should have been 159 words but a word was omitted. It is a company tradition that public statements not be proof-read. It came without pictures or videos.

No numbers were reported. The company management has led itself to a position akin to the 45th President and his tax returns. Numbers are undisclosed because it is essential that they be privately held. It is not a wise strategy; the longer they are kept secret the higher the curiosity as to what they might reveal.

The historical record of the National Theatre of Wales 2016 onwards of world-leading low productivity is established. Although not disclosed the company spent around 340 nights in 2022 not performing.

In information theory a communication is defined as a difference that makes a difference. This release contains no new information as the content is already held in the public domain. In information theory this is redundancy.

As an information item it suffers from several errors on the part of the authors. Communication is also marked by what is not contained. Going back to the beginning of information theory, the Shannon–Weaver model, information in communication is not just related to what is said but to what could be said. This measure of freedom of choice in selecting a message introduces an ethics of communication.

As for clarity the phrase “2022 had us stepping into our role as change-makers” is obscure and of no meaning to a public readership. As it does not feature in the Articles of Incorporation the Board should instruct the management that the phrase be deleted.

The corporate culture of the company will not permit any comment in response. If the Arts Council of Wales, which has a fresh management, wishes to participate, comment is welcome at editorial@theatre-wales.co.uk

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

back to the list of reviews

This review has been read 424 times

There are 57 other reviews of productions with this title in our database:

 

Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © keith morris / red snapper web designs / keith@artx.co.uk