Tagged: community development

South Africa , Wales – Mzansi Cymru

Grand finale of Cultural Olympiad production of Torchbearers

A Smörgåsbord of Welsh & South African talent

 

Waiting for the Olympic Torch in Treorchy

Waiting for the Olympic Torch in TreorchyCommunity development charity, Valleys Kids, gave me the experience of a lifetime and a challenge that became a pinnacle of Alpine proportions. Firstly as a writer, to create a piece with a cast of hundreds that would span two countries, Wales and South Africa, and would fill my every waking moment for four years.

Community development charity, Valleys Kids, gave me the experience of a lifetime and a challenge that became a pinnacle of Alpine proportions. Firstly as a writer, to create a piece with a cast of hundreds that would span two countries, Wales and South Africa, and would fill my every waking moment for four years.

Somehow on a vertical ride over Llanwonno mountain, I plucked an idea out of Valley altitude that included Zulu, Nelson Mandela and the London Olympics that gathered momentum and rolled into a spectacular piece of theatre on the Donald Gordon stage, WMC in Cardiff and Artscape theatre in Cape Town.

For me, the simple but hugely ambitious idea ballooned and blossomed into a runaway vehicle for talents and skills I was barely aware I possessed, let alone had the confidence to use.

Firstly, my comfort zone as a writer was exploded, when in the blink of a scene shift I had to adapt from writing for five actors to writing for a youth theatre, two circus groups, three dance groups, giant puppets, professional actors from Wales and South Africa and the lyrics for a specially written song cycle .

I took my mind off this task by also taking on the role of Artistic Co-ordinator, mainly as I was the only person who pretended to fully understand the whole concept and premise of the project. When the wood was closing in on the trees, I diverted attention from my growing deficiencies by deciding that I would also be overall Artistic Director of the piece. I only got away with this act of outrageous megalomania by surrounding myself with experts in every field and now and then standing on a box and declaiming in a vaguely inspirational fashion like a Welsh Genghis Khan. Lame attempts at being funny also helped. That, and having several friends and members of your family was also a bonus.

In the end it was hugely uplifting, unbearably emotional, physically exhausting, sporadically traumatic, ceaselessly surprising, fundamentally life- changing. It was something you couldn’t repeat, and something I would do again tomorrow.