Following a fantastic final show in our latest tour of The Old Woman, the Buffalo and the Lion of Manding, followed by a hectic, energising week at the amazing Village Storytelling Festival in Glasgow, Adverse Camber sped on to Wales last week, to work with storyteller Michael Harvey, singer Lynne Denman, musician Stacey Blythe and director Paula Crutchlow in Cardiff.
The team are working on a new performance telling the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, the story set in North and South Wales written down in The Mabinogion in the 1300s, a story filled with themes of transformation, magic, honour and justice, featuring such mythic characters as Gwydion, Math, Blodeuwedd and Arianrhod.
“There are some stories that fell out of fashion some time ago … which is why people now know Mabinogi mainly through books…”
Dafydd Davies-Hughes, Project Manager Felin Uchaf
We’re delighted to report that Adverse Camber’s partners in North Wales, the visionary social enterprise Felin Uchaf – a centre infused with the spirit of story – has secured a £20,000 grant of R&D funding from Arts Council Wales to fully co-commission this performance with Adverse Camber and Aberystwyth Arts Centre in West Wales.
In Cardiff last week, the focus of the work was meeting, working with and being inspired by sculptor and theatre designer Sophia Clist and director Paula Crutchlow. Sophia makes sets, installations and objects which artists and audiences inhabit, manipulate and transform. This is the first time she has worked with storytellers. She has designed shows for Told by an Idiot & Kneehigh, companies which draw on similar, spontaneous, audience-engaging styles as the storytelling form, performing in indoor, outdoor and sometimes unconventional spaces. Michael, Lynne and Stacey are working with Sophia and Paula to explore ideas around incorporating objects into the performance, drawing out the themes of magic and transformation at the heart of the story.
“This is an attempt to re-establish the oral tradition, not to revive something that was once lost, but to explore that anew – as modern human beings … what (these stories) mean to us now, and how they inform our communities now.”
Dafydd-Davies-Hughes, Project Manager, Felin Uchaf
Our first public staging post is Beyond the Border International Festival on Sunday 3 July, when a first performance of the piece will be presented – followed by further work at Felin Uchaf over the Autumn and then an official premiere at Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival in March 2017. The team will also be exploring plans for participatory and site specific work as well as performances in arts centres and festivals.
This project follows on from 10 years of collective creative development and touring of Hunting the Giant’s Daughter, which Adverse Camber toured to village halls in Somerset and Wales in 2012 and 2013, following tours in England and repeat performances at both Festival at the Edge and Beyond the Border Festivals. A huge thank you to all of the people who supported Felin Uchaf’s application for funding, including Professor Sioned Davies, Peter Stevenson, Jemma Bezant, David Ambrose and Becka Rickard from Beyond the Border Festival, Gill Ogden from Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Elen ap Robert from Pontio in Bangor! We’ll keep you posted as ideas develop.