Tim Price talks to Nick Payne in the Q&A for Dirty, Gifted and Welsh
Yesterday, Saturday 19 October, the Park and Dare in Treorchy buzzed with the voices of writers.
These voices resonated through discussions, play readings, pop up performances, help surgeries, debates and connections over coffee: Wales' talented and passionate writers were the focal point for Dirty Gifted and Welsh, a celebration of this vibrant and vocal community. I was inspired by the work on show and the generosity everyone showed in abundance to each other.
I started the day with a synthetic-cream donut from Greggs. (This was always my mum's treat to me on a Saturday when we used to meet my Bamps in the Kwik Save cafe).
And from there, the day just got better, starting with raw talent from Write Stuff, the Bridgend and Valleys Kids young writers group. Dirty Protest Greatest Hits showcased the diverse range of eloquent and funny voices represented at our shorts nights over the last 5 years. Dirty Protest Plays in a Bag took over the building with our latest work: monologues performed at the Royal Court and Almeida theatres this past summer.
Nick Payne's Q&A and the wonderful panel discussion about women writers were provocative and insightful. The Rhondda Leader Rapid Response brought to life 7 real-life happenings from the Rhondda that week. New National Theatre Wales commissions were explored by the gorgeous 13-strong group of actors, GEARED by Matthew Trevannion and BEFORE I LEAVE by Patrick Jones (watched over by the group of Elders, who had driven from Merthyr especially to see Patrick's piece).
The day closed as it began, with final performances by the next generation of writers: new Write Stuff pieces by the young people of Valleys Kids, who had been coached and supported by Rachel Trezise, writer of TONYPANDEMONIUM - the play that most of us then went to see as soon as Lisa Maguire and I took to the stage to thank everyone for coming. And I got to channel my inner Whitney Houston.
So, what's next?
Throughout the day, there was lots of chat about doing this event again.
The collaboration between Dirty Protest and National Theatre Wales, two very different companies in some senses but with some shared core values, really made this event work: we needed each other to make this day happen.
But what should we do if we were to do this event again? What should we keep and what should we expand on? What is useful? What do writers desire from an event like this and how can we match that with an experience that also speaks to wider audiences?
What's next for Welsh writers?
If you were at Dirty, Gifted and Welsh, share your experiences and thoughts below. Let us know!
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