As we packed away after the Leeds Storytelling Takeover, and many of the artists involved headed off to projects around the world, we hinted at some exciting international news of our own…
We are now delighted to announce that after Easter, the Dreaming the Night Field team are heading to Australia for a 3-week tour and residency that starts in Sydney at Riverside Theatre Parramatta, includes rural towns such as Hill End and Lithgow, workshops with a range of different communities and artists, plus a trip to internationally renowned Parkes telescope and finishes with two performances of Dreaming the Night Field at the Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre.
If you have been following Adverse Camber’s journey in recent years you will know that two of our most recent, major projects – the creation and touring of Dreaming the Night Field, and Stars and Stories (our engagement project with Derbyshire Virtual School) – are deeply connected with themes of the stars, stories, landscape, people and transformation.
Arts OutWest, major partners in this Australian residency, have developed their own ‘Big Skies’ project in recent years, celebrating thousands of years of studying the stars on the inland planes, to share stories about people’s relationship with the cosmos, especially as experienced from Wiradjuri country, in central western New South Wales. This project also links with the 50thAnniversary of the Moon Landing, the footage of which was broadcast through the Parkes radio telescope (made famous in the film The Dish). The parallels between the Big Skies project and the creative approach of Dreaming the Night Field, drawing on Welsh myths which connect with constellations such as Cassiopeia and Corona Borealis, led to them inviting us to work with them on a collaborative residency in their region.
There are also strong connections around working with dual languages. We have toured Dreaming the Night Field in both a bilingual and a fully Welsh version of the show. Welsh is thought to be one of the oldest living languages in Europe, with the number of native Welsh speakers constantly growing, in part due to the Welsh government target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050. In Australia, indigenous languages are also severely under threat. Of the estimated original 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, only around 120 are still spoken and 90 per cent of these are endangered – there is a wave of activity amongst these people to maintain, preserve and strengthen their Indigenous languages. In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly International Year of Indigenous Languages, we look forward to working alongside Arts OutWest and their communities, to share our experiences of working bilingually to celebrate, revive and ensure indigenous languages are passed on to the next generation.
This tour and residency has been made possible thanks to our partners Felin Uchaf, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, and Cardiff University School of Welsh and of course, Arts OutWest, with funding from Wales Arts International, with the aim of showcasing and advocating for the inspirational quality of Welsh culture on an international platform.
When we return to the UK, there are a few more dates to complete the Welsh tour of Dreaming the Night Field at Theatr Clwyd and Felin Uchaf – these final performances are bound to be infused with something extra special, inspired by this out-of-this-world Australian experience!