I spent the early part of the morning attempting to arrange an over sized Welsh rugby shirt on a rather disappointed six year old. My daughter explained that the other children don't play with her when she doesn't dress as a Welsh lady. As this only happens once a year and is already an identifiable pattern in her short school life, I figure that the emotional scar caused by not dressing like a Welsh lady might stay with her well into adulthood. I therefore commit to fully entering into the spirit of the day next year by which time the other children will probably not want to play with her for the opposite reason.
As an Englishman from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk I live vicariously through my daughter's developing Welsh national identity. Despite my having lived in Aberystwyth in mid-Wales for almost 13 years I am acutely aware that her connection with this landscape is already very different to my own. She will perform her national identity in school and at home, in theatres and churches, on beaches and in buildings and at locations that will develop meanings from the experiences she has in them. And it is with this in my mind that I begin. Or at least have begun to begin this research project into the NTW's first year of located performances. I have signed my registration paper work and made the obligatory journeys up and down the steep hill between the coastal town of Aberystwyth and the University campus that watches over it from above. I have talked to librarians about library cards, but at this stage it is not much more than talk, and I have met with Adrian Kear, the head of the Theatre, Film and Television Department and one of my four supervisors, from whom I recieved reassurance that at this stage my experience is fairly typical. My over riding feeling on the first day of this research project is one of dis-location. There is no desk, no office, no clear departure point. All I have to go by is a feeling that as long as I keep moving I will achieve something. It's not a bad feeling by any means and I don't think that I am alone in feeling it. A great many theatre makers must share this apprehension as we enter into this first year of performances. This is most definitely the beginning of something.