It’s just a week and a bit now until November 5, when we’ll be announcing the first year’s programme for National Theatre Wales. If you are wondering where your party invite is, it’s coming this week, but it’s not for your usual kind of party! In line with our digital, eco-friendly approach, our season launch will be an online event – with everything announced in a livecast at at 12.30 on the 5th. We’ll be doing the announcement from our office; there’ll be some press there to ask questions, and artists there to answer them, but the main focus is in cyberspace - for the first ever online launch of a national cultural organisation. Do join us. Invite friends round and have a lunch-launch party! Or buy yourself a nice bottle of cava from Tesco’s and write the afternoon off!

It’s about time! It’s nine months since I arrived in Cardiff to get things going, and in the nicest possible way it seems a lot longer! There’s been a fair amount to do, and folk on this network have seen evidence of a lot of what’s been going on – from staff joining us, to our housewarming, to try outs of projects like Debate and Respond, to reports of visits across the country. However, there’s also been a bunch of work that has, of necessity, been less public – the conversations and negotiations with artists, companies and venues as we’ve worked on developing the best possible programme for our launch year. It will be a relief to be able to let you know the results!

You may wonder why we’ve been so hush hush about the final programme decisions when in general we have tried to be as open as possible about the way we work. There are three reasons. One is that it isn’t fair on artists or companies to let everyone know about ideas when they are still in development: artistically it can mean that the idea gets fixed too soon, and contractually, until the deal is done there’s nothing to announce! The second reason, and possibly the most important is that we’ve always wanted people to think of our whole first year of work as our launch, rather than, say, just the first show. With a huge variety of work planned, it would be daft to point to only one show as somehow summing up National Theatre Wales; announcing 12 months of shows all in one go allows us to demonstrate the kind of company we want to be. The third reason for keeping the details secret is that it’s a lot more fun that way! If we told you about the shows in a slow dribble of information we wouldn’t get half the impact we get by holding it all for one big bang!

So, from November 5 things will be very different. You’ll know what we are planning, and we’ll be focussing on production of the shows. We’ll be distributing the info far and wide (look out for our lovely new ‘newspaper’) and we’ll be working to develop local support and enthusiasm for each of the shows in the locations where they’ll be taking place. Teams of artists will be pushing themselves into exciting new territory. Teams of advocates will be recruited in each of our locations – to support, engage with, and publicise the work (let us know if you want to be involved – particularly if you see a show announced close to home on the 5th).

This website will be changing too. The lovely NTW online community (that's you) will still be here – just one click away from the home page (and of course if you want to go straight to this familiar page, you can just bookmark it) but we will also be launching our full website – with details of shows, company info, and all the stuff that audiences will need. The site has been designed to interact dynamically with our online community, and I hope you will all enjoy the way that the community will inform the content of the site. Bit by bit, as the shows start to come to life, a new range of people will also start to engage with our online community activity – audiences, partners in projects, students – adding to the range of voices. And I hope we will all use the site to share thoughts on the work, and on what we should do next.

See you on the other side of the bang!

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Comment by Gary Owen on October 30, 2009 at 1:10
Everything I know about free running, I learned from Lee Mengo. Domo arigato, sensei.
Comment by Tim Price on October 29, 2009 at 23:58
What a lot of you don't realise is that Gary is a Cardiff parkour legend. There isn't a piece of street furniture he hasn't totally dominated, so interpretative dance is small fry to man so physically fluid.
Comment by Rhiannon Davis on October 29, 2009 at 23:14
I spotted Gary Owen in WMC last night - I was there to see Matthew Bourne's Dorian Gray. Given his earlier comments, I was wondering whether he was there:

a)because he'd been advising Matthew on choreography and wanted to see the fruits of his work; or
b) to steal some ideas for his big choreography challenge for the coming year!!
Comment by National Theatre Wales on October 29, 2009 at 3:40
This man in these pants All emblazoned with green dotted boxes. Now try telling me that's not culture!
Comment by Gary Owen on October 28, 2009 at 8:21
I openly hugged Marc Rees on Cowbridge Road East last Saturday night. He thinks it was congratulation for his Cultural Olympics success. Oh no. It was pre-emptive commiseration. Because when I bring MY interpretative dance moves, Rees and Ladd and Tuan John and all those guys are just going to GIVE UP out of SHAME at how LAME they are. We text-based guys are sick of you movementy freaks pushing into turf: so now we're pushing back. I'm lanacaining my thighs, I'm strapping up my ankles, I'm sliding into my attack pants - and I'm gonna take back the sprung-floored studios. By myself if I have to.

Warned, bitches.
Comment by Sharon Murphy on October 27, 2009 at 23:19
Best of luck John. Cant wait to see the programme and participate.
Comment by National Theatre Wales on October 27, 2009 at 14:01
Tim, you spoiled it!
Okay, here's the announcement then - there are twelve plays by Tim Price, but they are all VERY DIFFERENT as they all explore VERY DIFFERENT aspects of the life of a young Welsh writer, as he travels to VERY DIFFERENT areas of Wales, and has interesting thoughts about DIFFERENT kinds of things, while arguing with important people in his life and growing in many VERY DIFFERENT ways. Exciting already eh, but here is the really juicy bit. Each piece will incorporate an interpretive dance by Gary Owen in which Gary uses the international language of movement to respond to the rich and varying landscape of the country in each of out twelve VERY DIFFERENT locations. See - it was worth waiting for wasn't it!
Comment by Sheree Tams on October 27, 2009 at 9:30
Best of luck with your launch!
Comment by Kelly Page on October 27, 2009 at 8:51
Great news guys! I know you are all working really really hard and have been for months for this moment! Big big smiles for a great launch! Kelly :-)
Comment by Rhiannon Kemp on October 27, 2009 at 3:24
Ooooh how all very exciting!!!

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