In September 2006, Adverse Camber took its first few steps as an independent production company, running a four day creative development session at the Voice Box in Derby, with director Rebecca Gould, vocal adviser David Lawrence and designer Carl Davies in preparation for a tour of The Twisting Field. This storytelling and music performance by four of the UK’s leading storytellers Shonaleigh Cumbers, Amy Douglas, Nick Hennessey and Simon Heywood drew on the story of Lugh Lamfhada from the Irish mythological cycle. Adverse Camber’s national tour of the piece, with funding from Arts Council England and the National Lottery, began at the Lantern Theatre in Sheffield in October 2006 as part of Off the Shelf Festival. Over the next eight months, the piece was performed over 20 times to an audience of over 1300 people across England and Wales, from Devon, to Hay on Wye, Cambridge and Newcastle, achieving fantastic reviews from audiences across the country.
Ten years later …. Adverse Camber is embarking on its busiest Autumn yet! We’ve just finished a creative residency week with our North Wales co-commissioning partners Felin Uchaf, an inspirational social enterprise and arts organisation on the Llyn Peninsula. It’s the second time we’ve been in residence with Felin Uchaf, developing a new co-commission based on the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi, created by Michael Harvey, Lynne Denman and Stacey Blythe, directed by the company’s artistic advisor Paula Crutchlow – artists we’ve been working with since 2008.
Felin Uchaf is close to landscapes associated with the Fourth Branch story, including Tomen Y Mur, a hill top fort which looks out over an incredible vista of mountains and lakes in Snowdonia. Tomen Y Mur is the site where Lleu Llaw Gyffes (a bringer of light, like the Irish Lugh) and Blodeuwedd are said to have lived, not far from Gronw’s stone, where a spear is thrown at Lleu and he transforms into an eagle. We traveled to Tomen Y Mur with Adverse Camber’s marketing associate Jenny Babenko and photographer/film-makers Chris Webb and Gavin Repton – look forward to sharing images with you later in the year!
Felin Uchaf has commissioned this performance with Adverse Camber, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Cardiff University School of Welsh, with funding from Arts Council Wales, Arts Council England and Cardiff University. It’s always a delight to be part of developments at Felin Uchaf, watching the new CAMAS building emerge, linked to the Mabinogi in its design and beam carvings, and to rehearse in the warmth of the roundhouse with its cauldron, among builders from across Europe, who are learning heritage skills such as stone walling and thatching. We also began our work with two associate producers in Wales, Sandra Bendelow and Tamar Eluned Williams.
Having returned to earth after such an inspiring week, we’re now looking forward to our busiest touring programme yet! 19 tour dates squeezed into three months, sharing three different productions with audiences across the country. Our tours this Autumn include visits to some of our most long-standing venue partners – including several involved in our very first tour (Off the Shelf, Ilkley Literature Festival, mac birmingham and Exeter Phoenix) plus a host of exciting new venues and partners, from Hounslow Arts Centre in London, to Chester Literature Festival, Liverpool’s Capstone Theatre in the North West, to Leeds Carriageworks theatre, Halifax Square Chapel Centre for the Arts and the Richard Whiteley Theatre in Yorkshire!
There are seven new chances to catch our international co-commission Fire in the North Sky: Epic Tales from Finland (Saatuja Sanoja) with Nick Hennessey and three incredible Finnish musicians Anna-Kaisa Liedes, Kristiina Ilmonen and Timo Väänänen, (over 1,200 people enthused us with how much they enjoyed this last year).
Threaded between these dates, are eleven performances of The Shahnameh: The Epic Book of Kings, created by Xanthe Gresham Knight and Arash Moradi, inviting audiences to breathe in the passion-filled adventure, lust and romance of a masterpiece of world literature, infused with sublime textures of Persian classical music, on setar, daf and shurangiz. This tour includes a performance at the Guildhall Theatre in Derby, the city where Adverse Camber began!
As we pass our ten year anniversary, a huge thank you to everyone who has been part of our journey so far – from audiences to artists, venues, funders, creative teams, partners, mentors, supporters, promoters, board and the growing team of associates working alongside producer/founder Naomi Wilds – we look forward to sharing the next ten with you!