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A Warm Space at the Torch: Drama Cymraeg

This Friday half term, Elena will be hosting FREE Welsh language family drama activity here at the Torch as part of A Warm Space, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. The drama activity starts at 1pm. We sent Anwen to find out more.

So, you’ll be hosting free Welsh language drama lessons here at the Torch, tell us a bit about what people can expect.

Well, people can expect to have lots of fun. Drama is about having fun, using your imagination and getting to play. We'll explore devising skills, characters, using our bodies to create characters and tell stories. We might even explore some famous Welsh characters from stories such as Ysbaddaden, Olwen and Pwyll from the amazing eight!

Tell us a bit about your background in theatre and what you do?

I've worked in theatre and the arts for 10 years. I first started performing at the age of 10 in my nearest amateur dramatics society in Barmouth, north Wales. Since graduating I've worked for companies such as WNO, Sherman Theatre, Warwick Castle in open air productions of Midsummer Night’s Dream and Wars of the Roses. I've also worked as an assistant director and movement director.

Who or what inspires your creativity on stage?

I'm inspired by so many amazing creatives that it's really hard to pick just one or two! But I've always loved the work of Frantic Assembly as I really enjoy how they blend the physicality of their work with the script and storytelling - the two almost become one! I am also inspired by the amazing creatives here in Wales. We have some incredible female talent, such as Chelsey Gillard, Francesca Goodridge and Kate Wasserberg, I can't wait to see what they’ll all do next.

Some people get very anxious when you mention the word ‘drama’, but these sessions will put people at ease won’t they?

I completely understand how you could feel nervous, but drama is and should always be a safe space to explore your imagination, stories and how you express yourself in a playful and fun way. 

Do you think that there’s a need for Welsh language drama lessons here in Pembrokeshire?

There's a need for Welsh language sessions everywhere. The Welsh language is itself a creative, and it's so important we continue to voice it and give it space in creative settings. This allows Welsh people to explore their creativity in their own language, whether it’s your first or second language. 

And how important do you think the Welsh language is in the arts here in Wales?

Wales has a rich history of storytelling, and we have a skill of passing on and sharing these stories. That's why the Welsh language should be a part of our theatre.

If someone wants to become an actor or actress, how do they go about it?

There is no one way, but getting involved in local drama clubs is a great way to start building your confidence and working on your craft. Alongside this, watching theatre itself is a brilliant way to learn, and this doesn't mean trekking all the way up to London all the time. Connecting with your local theatre is a wonderful way to explore theatre!

What’s the best Welsh language theatre production that you’ve seen and why?

There are some exciting things happening in Welsh language theatre, but if I had to choose one, my favourite would be Theatr Genedlaethol’s production of 'Gwlad yr Asyn' based here in west Wales!

Do you still have butterflies when you perform on stage and how do you settle your nerves?

I definitely still get butterflies, and learning to embrace that feeling and finding ways to harness that feeling of nervousness and excitement is part of my love for performance. It's those moments that help us grow and make us feel brave, and the more you do it the more you realise that those butterflies can be a really good thing. Whenever I get those nervous feelings, I remind myself to take some slow breaths, and that doing new things such as shows or experiences or meeting new people can be a really good thing. 

Can you remember your first ever time on stage?

The first time I remember being on stage was for the Urdd where I was singing "Dau Gi Bach" and I was so nervous. Not a single word came out of my mouth, and at the end the pianist turned to the audience and said "well I'm sure if we could have heard it, it would have been lovely". Thankfully, since then, I've become a bit better at handling my nerves.


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