'Slideshow': A Waleslab project at the Park and Dare


The story I'm telling is about a family. It is a mystery of sorts. There is a disappearance, and there are secrets. There are thwarted dreams, buried like unexploded bombs. The storyteller is looking for clues, and invites you to join in the search.

I am so excited to soon be embarking on my week of development with Waleslab at the Park and Dare Theatre in Treorchy on my project 'Slideshow'.


The inspiration for this project came from a visit to my parents' house, where I came across boxes and boxes of photo slides. It got me thinking about the old fashioned slideshows people used to put on in their homes before the days of the internet and photo sharing sites. The bedsheet pinned to the wall, the pictures carefully selected and ordered in the carousel, the drinks served and seats settled into before the lights went out. There was a real sense of performance about them. In retrospect they seem poignant and fragile, with a mysterious potency. I started to imagine how a theatre performance could be constructed around this device.

This is a picture of us. My dad, Jim, the dreamer. My mum, Esther, the mystery. And me, Ray. At the time we're talking about, I'm eleven years old.

This is our house. You can just about see it, right down the bottom of the track, the other side of the wheat field, by the edge of those dark trees. I'm not sure why we lived here, in this lonely place, so set apart from everyone. Perhaps it was so that Jim could get a clearer look at the stars. Perhaps Esther was running away from something. Maybe my parents were just hiding from the eighties.



The train journey from Cardiff, where I live, to Treorchy, takes you out of the city and through some very wild and beautiful rural landscape. In many ways this route reflects the story that I want to create. The tale begins in a city, with a family outing to a museum.


Only fragments of that day remain. A park with horses, and flowers like giant collapsed tissues. Eating spaghetti in a restaurant with green and blue glass windows. And the last ever sighting of my mother, walking ahead of us in a museum, her rust coloured coat moving amongst the dinosaur exhibits like a bird gently bobbing away on a sea floating with bones.

From the city of the disappearance we travel into deep rural isolation, where father and daughter struggle to hold their life together, always with an eye to the horizon, looking for signs.


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Comment by Simon Coates on February 10, 2014 at 10:50

Hi Catherine, beautiful blog post. the images are so ethereal.

Looking forward to your next post!


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