On Tuesday evening I sneaked out of the back of tech rehearsal for A Provincial Life and called Abdul who was in Aberystwyth. "The choir are still singing, just popped out to answer, will call you back" he whispered into the phone. For anyone who experienced NTW's 11th show, Outdoors, you will know exactly where Abdul was. For those of you who missed this often touching, sometimes frustrating, always intriguing piece of art, well, too late - because the reason I was calling was to say congratulations and thank you to Heartsong Choir (who created Outdoors for us with legendary German experimentalists Rimini Protokoll) on the night of their last perfromance - a performance in which they clearly ended up singing an extra few rounds for good measure!
Eventually Abdul called me back. He was there with Mike, Donna and Jen - more than a third of NTW's staff team up in Aberystwyth to experience Outdoors one last time and to pop some bubbly with the choir, with the fantastic staff from Aberystwyth Arts Centre who looked after the show for us, and of course with that night's audience. Outdoors performed once a week almost every week for a year for just 13 people, so each Tuesday night that it happened there was an opportunity for everyone involved to get to know everyone else by name!
This week it has felt like the grand marathon that was NTW's launch year is finally coming to an end. Mundo Paralelo (our 12th production, with the amazing Nofitstate Circus) has been on the road, and finishes its tour at Theatr Brycheiniog this weekend. I caught it at Riverfront, Newport last Saturday and it had really developed and matured as a show. I also went to Aberystwyth a couple of weeks ago to say my own goodbyes to Outdoors . In a weird way that show, which features no live performance until the very end, had also grown - it felt like the video-led walk the audience navigates through the town had somehow settled into the place, become part of its fabric.
And this week also we finally finished a short video we've had in development for a while - a kind of retrospective trailer of our launch year It was really quite moving to watch and to send out, particularly for the memories of place and people that it stirs up.
But theatre is meant to breathe for a moment and then linger in our minds, and saying goodbye is part of what we do. As one body of work turns to memories, another arrives in full force. This week we open A Provincial Life, and once again, from now to September, we will be in our familiar rhythm of monthly openings, perpetual rehearsals, and production meetings for an upcoming show in a forest being held at the back of rehearsals in a nightclub! Hurrah!
And if you want one more chance to remember - don't forget our Passion event in Port Talbot this Easter - taking place just as we get ready to open The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning! Maybe in the end it's less about closing and opening, and more about an every complexifying weave of memories and anticipation, theatre of place and of the mind overlapping, a space of possibility.
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