Childs Play with NTW on The Beach in Prestatyn

When was the last time you went to the beach? The last time you played a game? Acted like a child? ... escaped the chaos of everyday life, the mess and disorganisation that is the reality of our worlds and had good old childish fun? With a narrative that makes you feel you are part of something much deeper and bigger then yourself ... a focus on 'we' not 'I' ... The Beach hits home!

For me I did this last night, played games on a beach in Prestatyn, and lost myself in the production. I'm now currently sat in the Scalia Centre coffee shop, in Prestatyn typing this, reflecting on the experience of participating in NTW latest show, The Beach (NTW05).

I've been following TJ and Charlie in the last few weeks, connected to them as friends on Facebook and amid the chaos that is my life and the time I had to view, comment and listen ... I was intrigued and confused by what to expect. What I would experience and find in Prestatyn when I visited on the 29th July 2010? ...

Myself and three students from the university came with me. We came to participate in a NTW production, to see how NTW is challenging the boundaries of the stereotype of what many (esp. those who are not in the creative industries) think when they think of theatre. To overcome the possible challenges of geography (Prestatyn is 4 hours on a train from Cardiff), the Welsh weather and an air of mystery created through the digital and offline journey in the lead up to the show ... be it from NTW cast and crew on the NTW Community Group: The Beach or the characters, TJ and Charlie themselves on Facebook ...

Ultimately, we came to experience the vision that Catherine Paskell and her team have spent months crafting ... So how do I feel today?

If you notice I say 'feel' not 'think' ... People are all about emotion, and it's our emotions and how we feel that truly motivates us (if it wasn't I wouldn't have had that piece of sponge cake last night at the after show party). So to me theatre as an attendee or participant, is all about the emotive experience, the deeper emotive connection you experience be it with the cast, the crew, the venue, the story, or the people you go and experience it with ... what you feel, not what you think! And it's this emotional connection that gets people talking about it, sharing it online ... it's called an 'I like' button on Facebook for a reason ... theatre is not just 'entertainment for an evening' ... it's an emotional experience (e.g., the success of Ghost Stories in London, wherein fear is an emotion, is evident of that).

So from childs play on The Beach ... how did it makes me feel, and what do I feel today! Connected, moved, happy, inspired ...

If could bottle the feeling and share the shows core message (I'll blog about that next week, so as not to spoil it for others) with those who couldn't come ... especially those in the local community within which this production, message and venue was heavily embedded, to which it's narrative has a deep emotional connection and meaning ... I wouldn't just write it in the sand, I'd also put it in a bottle, write it on a postcard to share with friends/family back home, and encourage TJ and Charlie (and the NTW TEAM) to travel Wales ... sharing it ...

To to the director, Catherine Paskell :-) and creators Rhiannion Cousins, Bethan Marlow, Carl Morris, and many others in cast and crew ... standing ovation guys!


If you couldn't go, and want to know more follow Catherines blog posts and the NTW05 search feed on the community. But I have to say, nothing in the digital world can do this production justice ... you have to experience it to feel it!

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Comment by Andrew Filmer on August 2, 2010 at 7:37
Hi Kelly, interesting to read your thoughts. I found I didn't enjoy the show as much as you did and one of the things I was left wondering about was the connection between the show itself and Prestatyn. Tom, in your comment you mentioned that the show left you 'feeling connected to the place we were in'. I'd be interested to know how you felt connected. I loved the position on the beach - the view up towards Liverpool, the cloud banks gathering over Snowdonia and Llandudno as the sun set, and the wind farms in rows out off the beach, but all this was left as backdrop and didn't have much to do with the games or the conceit for the show. I guess I could say the same about Prestatyn: I didn't find out much about the town itself, why there's a 'missing generation', who the 'curtain twitchers' might be, or even where the places depicted on the billboards were (apart from the Nova Centre, of course). Sure, the games were fun, but the connection between them, the place we were in, and the overall issue that the production seemed to be addressing were very flimsy.
Comment by Rhiannon Cousins on July 31, 2010 at 10:59
Thanks guys, it's a real reward to hear how much you enjoyed what we created. x
Comment by Jean Paskell on July 31, 2010 at 9:25
Right-on Kelly - its rare and truly magic for complete strangers to meet up - form into a really great team - totally immersed in the purpose and emotion of the event; the energy levels, laughter and sheer fun was amazing. We might be unable to bottle what we all experienced - however, having seen what such an event can achieve - lets have more of them.
Thanks to my fellow team mates for contributing to a brilliant experience and congratulations and well done to the NTW, the creative team and in particular Catherine Paskell, Charlie & TJ for creating such an innovative and human experience - whilst being on the winning team made a great end to the evening - it is the interaction with the people that made it special - so if any of you are still undecided - get down there to Prestatyn for a truly human and real experience.
Comment by Way on July 31, 2010 at 8:27
It's definitely a unforgetable experience ! full of fun!
Touring the show to other beaches in Wales and spread the fun ?
sounds a really good idea XD
Comment by Tom Beardshaw on July 30, 2010 at 19:41
Great post Kelly. It left me feeling connected to the place we were in too, and that's kudos to the creators. Lots of fun, a break from the norm :)
Comment by Kelly Page on July 30, 2010 at 16:49
The fact I was part of a winning and very creative team probably also helped! :-)
Comment by Carl Morris on July 30, 2010 at 14:45
Thanks Kelly, superb write-up!

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Rydym yn elusen gofrestredig, ac yn dibynnu ar roddion gan unigolion, busnesau ac ymddiriedolaethau a sefydliadau i barhau i greu theatr anhygoel ledled Cymru a thu hwnt. Dysgwch ragor am sut i Fuddsoddi ynom Ni 

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