We are delighted to announce that Felin Uchaf, one of our Welsh partners, has been awarded an Arts Council Wales grant which lights the blue touch paper on the research phase of a new Adverse Camber production drawing from the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi as source material.
This week, the three artists that created and performed Adverse Camber’s hugely successful and popular show, Hunting the Giant’s Daughter – Michael Harvey, Lynne Denman and Stacey Blythe – head to Felin Uchaf, a visionary social enterprise in the Llyn Peninsula, for a residency that will sow the seeds for a brand new show.
Michael, Lynne and Stacey will be working with Director, Paula Crutchlow and Adverse Camber Producer, Naomi Wilds to explore story and music materials and the landscape associated with the narrative, from the cosmology of the stars to the archeology of key locations.
“This work is amongst the most exciting, stimulating and satisfying that we do”, Michael Harvey says, in response to news of the award, “and it’s wonderful to have the chance to work with Felin Uchaf, connecting to new generations of audiences who bring different perspectives to the story. We’re all raring to go.”
The project will benefit from the support of Sioned Davies, professor of Welsh at Cardiff University, whose translation, The Mabinogion is being used as a key source for the show.
The Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, the richest and most mythical of the four branches of these Welsh legends, is set in Gwynedd and the Llyn Peninsula. Felin Uchaf, situated in the heart of the story’s landscape and a site of exchange and trade through the centuries, is a natural partner for this early stage of work on this show.
Felin Uchaf is just beginning work on a new building that will be dedicated to storytelling and cultural studies; the design of the building will be partly informed by the Mabinogi and other Welsh stories, creating potential for the development of the show to act as source and inspiration for the students and workers involved in this new purpose-built stone, oak and earth building.
During the residency the three artists, producer and director will be visiting sites in North Wales that are associated with the Fourth Branch as well as heading out with Felin Uchaf’s Project Manager, Dafydd Davies-Hughes, to explore archaeological sites connected to the stories.
Traditional Welsh narrative very often has an intimate relationship with landscape, no more so than in the Fourth Branch. Landscape and story and how they connect to each other and to people, are central to this project. As with Hunting the Giant’s Daughter, there may be outdoor versions of the show which are developed, as well as indoor performances with partners across the UK.
This residency will be the first opportunity for the team to try out new musical ideas and compositions alongside traditional Welsh songs and think about how the show might look. Filmmaker, Gavin Repton will be dropping in during the residency, so we hope to have some footage to show you very soon.
The residency and indeed the whole project is helping to strengthen Adverse Camber’s partnerships and relationships in Wales. Bringing a new interpretation of the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi to audiences throughout the UK is a key aspiration of Adverse Camber’s ongoing touring programme.