Recently I’ve been working on Project Hush, a new site specific theatre piece by Papertrail Theatre Company. Sited at the Rhydymwyn Valley Works (an old WWII chemical weapons factory), it tells the story of the war through the eyes of a (fictional) young woman who worked at the factory.
This is the Research & Development phase made possible by a large R&D grant from Arts Council Wales that will culminate in a private showing at the end of May (with a view to a full-scale production next year) and I’ve been working on developing the community cast through a series of outreach workshops and meetings supported by National Theatre Wales TEAM. The local stories that have come from this engagement are fascinating, deeply enriching my understanding of the history and people of this region and I’ve also enjoyed sharing the history with the drama students at Glyndŵr University and Theatr Clwyd who have shown a genuine interest in this production and the stories woven together.
This is a new way of working and I’m enjoying the challenge of learning new skills and seeing how a large-scale production is devised from the grassroots up. The opportunity to work with the hugely talented Yasuro Ito from Japan is a real highlight. As well as meeting people who used to work at the factory, their children and wider families, I’ve had the chance to meet with the Rhydymwyn Valley History Society whose hard work recently saw the opening of the old tunnels there.
Also my heart swells to see a place that birthed such devastation return to nature, and be well preserved by the wonderful people at North East Wales Wildlife.
The final showing for this phase is 20th May 2017, but Project Hush is being developed with the support of NTW so I'm hoping this project evolves into a full production next year because it's a gorgeous site, and, given current world events, it's a story that needs to be told, now more than ever.
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