Wales Millennium Centre launches artistic journey across Wales
- Wales Millennium Centre teams up with award-winning outdoor performance company, Walk the Plank, to create epic visual journey
- 3 Lloyds Bank Awen Schools train outdoor art professionals for the future
- Creativity of Wales to be gathered into the artistic furnace of Wales Millennium Centre
Thursday 26 March 2015 will see the launch of Ar Waith Ar Daith – a journey of Welsh myth and magic, an epic 5 month artistic journey across the length and breadth of Wales by Wales Millennium Centre, the national centre for the performing arts.
Created by outdoor arts experts Walk the Plank, Ar Waith Ar Daith takes as its inspiration the history and mythology of Wales. It will encompass outdoor theatrical performances, street celebrations, pyrotechnics and procession.
At its heart is a symbolic cauldron, designed to hold the creative inspiration of artists, musicians, poets and storytellers from around Wales. Beginning in Caernarfon, through a partnership with Galeri, the town’s art centre, the cauldron will start a five month journey that will culminate in an outdoor spectacular at Wales Millennium Centre on Saturday 12 September 2015. Along the way, three processions will symbolise the arrival of different gifts: the riches of the Sea, the Earth and the Land. Children and communities from each of the four regions of Wales will participate in a programme of digital/creative activities during the five months leading to the finale.
The launch: The Riches of the Sea, Caernarfon, 26 March 2015, 7.30pm, Galeri, Caernarfon.
Ar Waith Ar Daith will include 100 children in a night-time, outdoor procession through the ancient streets of the walled town of Caernarfon. Carrying scallop-shaped paper lanterns representing the area’s shellfish industry, and accompanied by flaming torches, the children will make their way from the Galeri arts centre, in Victoria Dock, down to a footbridge over the river Seiont by the Slate Quay. There, in the shadow of Caernarfon Castle, the cauldron will be set alight whilst a local fishing boat sits in the sea off the quayside.
A giant scallop shell lantern on the boat’s decks represents the riches of the North Wales seas. The procession will watch the boat as it navigates its way through the treacherous waters of the Menai Strait to cross the Caernarfon Bar, like so many boats before it carrying slate and fish, and onwards in its pilgrimage towards Cardiff.
The entire event, which is free to watch, has been created by Walk the Plank. North Wales artists Ben Davis and Jude Wood have been commissioned to work with local schoolchildren from the town’s high school, Ysgol Syr Hugh Owen, and primary school Ysgol Y Gelli to create the lanterns. The procession has been created by artists from the first Lloyds Bank Awen School for outdoor arts, as a culmination of their week long training.
Lloyds Bank Awen Schools
A key aspect of Ar Waith Ar Daith is the development of adventurous training in outdoor arts for creative practioners in Wales through the Lloyds Bank Awen training schools. Taking place across three sites in Wales, the schools reflect different aspects of ‘place’ and heritage in Wales and take their inspiration from different artistic traditions. The schools are supported Lloyds Bank, Gwynedd Council and the Arts Council of Wales.
The word ‘Awen’, which means Inspiration, is taken from part of Gwyneth Lewis’ inscription on Wales Millennium Centre: creating truth like glass from the furnace of inspiration. The Lloyds Bank Awen training schools are a wider legacy for Wales Millennium Centre’s 10th anniversary programme, and part of the Centre’s remit to nurture creativity right across the Welsh nation..
After Caernarfon, the further two Lloyds Bank Awen Schools will similarly culminate in public-facing events. The next event, ‘Spinning a Yarn’ at Castell-y-Bere near Abergynolwyn, in Mid Wales (Friday 1 and Saturday 2 May). This will feature Awen trainees and will celebrate landscape and storytelling from Mid-Wales, in association with Cadw, Wales’ national heritage organisation.
‘The Earth beneath our Feet’ at Newport, South Wales, on Saturday 30 May, is inspired by the industrial heritage of South Wales and the work of the training school, Riches of the Earth. It will form the finale of the Big Splash festival.
Walk the Plank
Walk the Plank are outdoor arts experts, who create powerful events with mass appeal. The Return of Colmcille was Walk the Plank’s landmark event for Derry~Londonderry as UK Capital of Culture 2013. Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, who wrote Danny Boyle’s extraordinary London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, The Return of Colmcille featured over 1,000 local people and won Best Outdoor Event at the 2014 UK Event Awards. Other significant projects in the organisation’s 24-year history include the closing ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games and the opening of Turku 2011 European Capital of Culture in Finland.
Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director at Wales Millennium Centre, comments:
“One of our key ambitions at Wales Millennium Centre is to inspire the whole of Wales and to facilitate the burgeoning creativity of our nation. With Ar Waith Ar Daith - a journey of Welsh myth and magic we are bringing Wales Millennium Centre out of its iconic building and gathering up the artistic energy of Wales into our furnace of creativity.”
Liz Pugh, Artistic Director, Walk the Plank, adds:
“Although the first idea for this journey of Welsh myth and magic came more than a year ago, it wasn’t until I was walking along the Wales Coastal Path on the Llŷn Peninsula that the ancient stories and the contemporary life of Wales began to mix together: from the cliffs near Nefyn I could see fishing boats dredging for scallops and hauling in whelk pots, and when I stepped over a stile and into a field, I startled a hare – one of the animals that appears over and over in our legends, but rarer now in real life. I hope that the voyage which begins in Caernarfon helps to connect people with the fiery excitement of live theatre that you can taste all around Wales, as well as whetting everyone’s appetite for the finale at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff in September.”
Follow the journey at #Awen2015