My name is Lee Marable and I am a third year Architecture Student at Cardiff University's Welsh School of Architecture. I was wondering if I could get some of your opinions...
Our current project is to create a theoretical masterplan for an area of the City of Brecon. I am very interested in National Theatre Wales, particularly the stated approach to education,
and was wondering what benefits a company like this could provide a
community like Brecon, where there is both a private and state
schools, how can it aid community cohesion?
One of my initial ideas for the area is to create a series of buildings which could act as both a satellite theatre for
the existing Theatre Brycheiniog, largely for community
rehearsals/small scale productions, (for use by both Christ College
and Brecon High school) and as a centre for NTW; a
place where sets can be made, possibly with community help, plays can
be rehearsed, and theatre troupes from around Wales could come and
reside for periods whilst rehearsing and to interact with both
students and the community. Is there anything else which you feel cold be of benfit?
Brecon is a city in the centre of Wales, so a good position for the NTW, and with a strong arts background - a
jazz festival, baroque festival and fringe festival, perhaps a
theatre festival could also be suggested.
On the website it says: 'We will centralise learning and participation in all of our activity. When we make work for young people it will be part of our
core programme. Community engagement and participation will be a
feature of every single piece of work we make. We aim to forge
partnerships with learners, educators, schools, colleges and
academies on the broadest scale: from making work for babies to
co-sponsoring a PhD.'
I was wondering if anyone has any ideas on this, the way performance art and theatre can impact a community and education?
Is there the capability of people such as drama graduates to participate in this kind of scheme as people running the facilities?
Just to reiterate this is a purely theoretical project.
Any information or feedback you could give me would be invaluable.
Many thanks :)
It's an interesting piece about place and doing activities in a place and not in another. My viewpoint the idea represents a subject approach to work and in a way a traditional silo approach. I think Ken Robinson's viewpoint of things might be able to be a bit more eloquent than mine.
What I think would be great it to look at how things already exist and how they can be improved to create impromptu meetings/events etc, as apposed to making new.
Just a thought
Hi Lee Just a very quick response to selected areas of your inquiry. More a further set of questions
I am Bill from Small World Theatre in West Wales. We work with Theatre for Development and so often people look for the indicators of regeneration solely from architectural solutions. We seek real regeneration of communities via cohesion; self-empowerment and we achieve this through theatre projects, often with scant funding but with tangible results such as paths to education and accreditation, training and jobs. Not always jobs in the arts and theatre area but also using skills acquired through our projects that lead to confidence building and other transferable skills. The trick is to also make that theatre intervention of high quality, be accessible and if possible locally generated. We have found that after 30 years of peripatetic work having a purpose built building has consolidated this process.
Remember there is a fine balance between participation and vision.
It also seems that the education and theatre benefits you are looking for should be coming from Theatr Brycheiniog or enshrined in their mission statement. They should also have the space you need and the infra structure to support graduates and community. If you seek to construct an alternative building where could you find the funding? Why is it not already on their priority list? What would be needed to work systemically with the existing structures and encourage them to fulfill your goals and fulfil theirs? Does ACW need to look at its remit for this sort of work so it can support this re focusing? Are we all lobbying hard enough for this outcome across Wales? Are we letting the agenda be hijacked and a divide and rule strategy force the " Pure Artist" and the "Community Artist" even further apart, each jealous of the others funding and support?
SWT has a long history of Arts and Culture for Development in Wales, Africa, Asia and the Middle East that could be found on our old web site. Our new site is consuming a lot of time re entering this international data but in a few weeks the 32-year history should enter the archive. Examples where theatre changes lives and policy are many with SWT's work and also many other companies. I hope it is of interest.
Go Wales used to support graduates getting this experience of work; it may still be doing so.
Thanks for the responses, it's an interesting topic, and it seems clear that you are all very passionate and knowledgeable about this area, ultimately people like yourselves will make a much bigger difference than any new building.
I think this says a lot about architectural education, and the lack of real clients in the process. Your input has been invaluable to me, and, although the project has finished now, I think this kind of consultation has taught me a great lesson.
Thanks again for the help.