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Operation Julie - Theatre companies join forces to create a psychedelic stage musical in lockdown

Over four decades ago, rural west Wales was at the centre of the greatest drugs bust in history. The police investigation, Operation Julie, resulted in dozens of arrests and the discovery of LSD worth £100 million. A brand-new musical play from Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre explores the story from both sides of the drugs divide – the police, and the hippies who settled in Ceredigion hoping to spread their ideals in a changing world.

This summer, Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre were due to launch an ambitious co-production for audiences in Aberystwyth. Operation Julie was to be a stage play packed with music, drama and comedy, telling the extraordinary story of what happened in and around west Wales in the mid-1970s when hippies settled in the area seeking a new way of living fuelled by acid and an alternative attitude. When a chance clue is discovered following a car accident, the local constabulary works with detectives from across Britain to uncover what turns out to be the biggest stash of acid ever found, taking out up to 60% of the world’s LSD market at that time.

When the coronavirus pandemic struck it became clear it would be impossible to open Operation Julie to live audiences at Aberystwyth Arts Centre in August and na nÓg and the arts centre made the decision to postpone its premiere until next spring.

Although a huge disappointment for both companies, they quickly decided to make the best of a bad situation, as Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s director Dafydd Rhys explains: “Though we’d prefer to be going into production now, that is no longer an option due to Covid – but it does allow the wonderful cast and team of creatives to get together to do some invaluable research and development work on the script, the characters and the music.”

Due to the continuing lockdown restrictions, writer-director Geinor Styles explains how they went about the R&D activity whilst being unable to physically rehearse together.

“I’m not a director that sits and pours over the script,” Styles says. “I like to get people up on their feet and moving. I believe I can solve things editorially whilst directing. This is probably the most frustrating thing and a real challenge for me because that is not possible over zoom. However there are advantages, the creatives, designers, sound, AV and lighting have been able to drop into rehearsal or listen in without having to physically be in the room. A real treat for us and them. It feels truly collaborative. Having them exclusively while still developing the script is very rare but such a real bonus.”

Geinor Styles, who has been developing the production since 2014 and believes that, due to COVID that the story has become even more relevant: “I feel as we move through this pandemic, that the story behind Kemp’s acid production and 8000 word micro doctrine, becomes more and more relevant to a planet that is being destroyed by consumerism and capitalism.”

She also feels the Operation Julie story is too important to be delayed. “I was astonished how relevant this story was to us living in a time where the climate was changing at an alarming rate,” she says. “That as a species, we needed to change our ways like the hippies of the ’60s and ’70s – their philosophy of wanting to ‘get back to the garden’. This philosophy was emphasised by our protagonist Richard Kemp, a talented scientist, who moved to Tregaron in the early '70s and created the purest form of LSD. He is the source of the whole story – without Kemp, you do not have Operation Julie.”

Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s version of events tells the story from both sides of the law, with Geinor Styles meeting and interviewing a variety of people from the area and of that time, one of the main acid dealers – Alston ‘Smiles’ Hughes, who was a key part of the LSD chain from his modest home in Llanddewi Brefi – and Lydia Jones, the daughter of the late Detective Sergeant Richie Parry, in the Zoom meetings with cast and crew.

Operation Julie is a musical play, a format favoured by the resilient and forward thinking theatre company, Greg Palmer is Operation Julie’s composer and musical director, working with actor-musicians over video call to create the score: “I’ve never rehearsed a show in this way before. My usual method is to be in the thick of things in the rehearsal room working with the actor-musicians in an organic way. This makes the cast feel part of the creative process. That immediacy is impossible to replicate via Zoom so the whole process becomes slower and more laboured.” This alterantive approach, though, has allowed Palmer to discuss LSD dealer Smiles’ psychedelic musical tastes and the records that influenced him during the period of the play. “I grew up as a teenager in the ’70s and listened to a lot of the music that Smiles et al would have been listening to. Smiles has referenced a number of bands from that era – Caravan, Bob Dylan, Steely Dan. I’ve been very keen from the beginning of the process to have the sound world of the play reflect those musical trends.”

Theatr na nÓg and Aberystwyth Arts Centre are confident that this extended development time, will result in a truly memorable production when Operation Julie finally reaches the stage next year. “Operation Julie will be a popular and important theatre production,” says Dafydd Rhys. “We remain totally committed to this uniquely Welsh tale that had an impact throughout the world. It also has the added bonus that the music will be fantastic! We know the audience will be in for a treat – a really good night of quality, thought provoking and popular theatre.”

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Ymgyrch Julie - Cwmnïau theatr yn dod at ei gilydd i greu sioe gerdd seicedelig i’r llwyfan yn ystod y cyfnod clo

Dros bedwar degawd yn ôl, gorllewin Cymru wledig oedd ffocws y sgandal gyffuriau fwyaf mewn hanes. Canlyniad archwiliad yr heddlu, sef Ymgyrch Julie, oedd dwsinau o arestiadau a darganfod LSD gwerth £100 miliwn. Mae sioe gerdd newydd sbon oddi wrth Theatr na nÓg a Chanolfan y Celfyddydau Aberystwyth yn ystyried y stori o’r ddwy ochr - o safbwynt yr heddlu, a’r hipis a ymgartrefodd yng Ngheredigion gan obeithio lledaenu eu delfrydau mewn byd oedd yn newid.

Yn ystod yr haf eleni, ‘roedd Theatr na nÓg a Chanolfan y Celfyddydau Aberystwyth yn bwriadu lansio cynhyrchiad uchelgeisiol ar y cyd ar gyfer cynulleidfaoedd yn Aberystwyth. ‘Roedd Ymgyrch Julie i fod yn ddrama i’r llwyfan yn llawn cerddoriaeth, drama a chomedi, yn adrodd y stori eithriadol o beth ddigwyddodd yn ac o gwmpas gorllewin Cymru yn y 1970au canol pan fu hipis yn ymgartrefu yn yr ardal yn chwilio am ffordd newydd o fyw, ac yn cael eu hybu gan gyffuriau ac agweddau amgen. Pan mae cliw yn cael ei ddarganfod ar hap yn dilyn damwain car, mae’r heddlu lleol yn gweithio gyda ditectifs ledled Prydain i ddatgelu beth sy’n troi allan i fod y cuddfan mwyaf o asid a ddarganfyddwyd erioed, yn cynrychioli hyd at 60% o farchnad LSD y byd ar y pryd.

Pan ddigwyddodd y pandemig coronafeirws, daeth yn glir na fyddai’n bosibl gyflwyno Ymgyrch Julie i gynulleidfaoedd byw yng Nghanolfan y Celfyddydau yn Aberystwyth ym mis Awst a bu i Theatr na nÓg a Chanolfan y Celfyddydau wneud y penderfyniad i ohirio cyflwyniad cyntaf y sioe tan y gwanwyn y flwyddyn nesaf.

Er bod hyn yn siom o’r fwyaf i’r ddau gwmni, penderfynwyd heb oedi i wneud y gorau o’r sefyllfa fel eglura cyfarwyddwr Canolfan y Celfyddydau Dafydd Rhys: “Er wrth gwrs y bydde’n well o lawer gennym gyflwyno’r cynhyrchiad ‘nawr, nid yw hynny’n opsiwn bellach oherwydd Covid - ond mae yn caniatau i’r cast a’r tîm creadigol gwych ddod at ei gilydd a gwneud ymchwil a gwaith datblygu gwerthfawr ar y sgript, y cymeriadau a’r gerddoriaeth.”

Yn sgil cyfyngiadau’r cyfnod clo, mae’r ysgrifenwraig-cyfarwyddwraig Geinor Styles yn egluro sut y bu iddynt ymgymryd â’r gwaith ymchwil a datblygu er nad oeddent yn medru ymarfer yn gorfforol gyda’i gilydd.

“Nid wyf yn gyfarwyddwraig sy’n eistedd ac yn canolbwyntio ar y sgript,” dywed Styles. “’Rwy’n licio cael pobl i fyny ar eu traed ac yn symud. Credaf y medraf ddatrys materion golygyddol tra’n cyfarwyddo. Mwy na thebyg dyma’r peth mwyaf rhwystredig ac heriol i mi oherwydd nid yw hyn yn bosibl dros Zoom. Fodd bynnag, mae ‘na fanteision - mae’r tîm creadigol, dylunwyr, sain, AV a goleuo wedi medru ymuno â’r ymarferion neu wrando heb orfod bod yn yr ystafell yn gorfforol. Sy’n wych i ni ac iddyn’ nhw. Mae’n teimlo’n wirioneddol gydweithrediadol. Mae cael nhw efo ni tra bod ni’n dal i ddatblygu’r sgript yn beth prin iawn ond yn fonws o’r mwyaf.”

Mae Geinor Styles, sydd wedi bod yn datblygu’r cynhyrchiad ers 2014, yn credu bod y stori’n fwy berthnasol nag erioed yn sgil COVID: “Teimlaf wrth i ni deithio trwy’r pandemig hwn, fod y stori y tu ôl i gynhyrchiad asid ac athrawiaeth gryno 8000 gair Kemp, yn dod yn fwy ac yn fwy perthnasol i blaned sy’n cael ei dinistrio gan brynwriaeth a chyfalafiaeth.”
Mae’n teimlo hefyd bod stori Ymgyrch Julie yn rhy bwysig i gael ei gohirio. “Cefais fy syfrdanu pan sylweddolais mor berthnasol oedd y stori hon i ni sy’n byw mewn cyfnod pan mae’r hinsawdd yn newid yn frawychus o sydyn,” meddai. “Bod angen arnom ni, fel rhywogaeth, newid ein ffyrdd fel hipis y ’60au a’r ’70au - eu hathroniaeth o ddymuno ‘dychwelyd yn ôl i’r ardd’. Pwysleisiwyd yr athroniaeth hon gan ein prif gymeriad Richard Kemp, gwyddonydd talentog a symudodd i Dregaron yn y '70au cynnar ac a greodd y ffurf buraf o LSD. Ef yw man cychwyn y stori gyfan - heb Kemp, nid yw Ymgyrch Julie yn bodoli.”

Mae fersiwn Theatr na nÓg a Chanolfan y Celfyddydau Aberystwyth o ddigwyddiadau yn adrodd y stori o ddwy ochr y gyfraith, gyda Geinor Styles yn cyfarfod â ac yn cyfweld amrywiaeth o bobl o’r ardal a’r cyfnod hwnnw - un o’r prif ddelwyr asid Alston ‘Smiles’ Hughes, oedd yn rhan allweddol o’r gadwyn LSD o’i gartref diymhongar yn Llanddewi Brefi - a Lydia Jones, merch y diweddar Dditectif Ringyll Richie Parry, yn y cyfarfodydd Zoom gyda’r cast a chriw.

Mae Ymgyrch Julie yn ddrama gerddorol, fformat a ffefrir gan y cwmni theatr hyblyg ac arloesol hwn. Greg Palmer yw cyfansoddwr a chyfarwyddwr cerdd Ymgyrch Julie, yn gweithio gydag actorion-cerddorion dros fideo i greu’r sgôr: “’Dwi erioed wedi rihyrso sioe yn y modd yma o’r blaen. Fy null arferol yw i fod yng nghanol pethau yn yr ystafell ymarfer, yn gweithio gyda’r actorion-cerddorion mewn ffordd organig. Mae hyn yn gwneud i’r cast deimlo eu bod yn rhan o’r proses creadigol. Mae hynny’n amhosibl i gyflawni trwy Zoom, felly daw’r proses cyfan yn arafach ac yn fwy llafurus.” Fodd bynnag mae’r ffordd newydd yma o weithio wedi caniatau i Palmer drafod hoff gerddoriaeth seicedelig y deliwr LSD Smiles, a’r recordiau a gafodd ddylanwad arno yn ystod cyfnod y ddrama. “’Roeddwn yn f’arddegau yn y ’70au, yn gwrando ar y gerddoriaeth y byddai Smiles a’i griw wedi bod yn gwrando arni. Mae Smiles wedi cyfeirio at nifer o fandiau o’r cyfnod hwnnw - Caravan, Bob Dylan, Steely Dan. ‘Rwyf wedi bod yn awyddus iawn ers dechrau’r proses i sicrhau bod cerddoriaeth y ddrama yn adlewyrchu’r tueddiadau cerddorol hynny.”

Mae Theatr na nÓg a Chanolfan y Celfyddydau Aberystwyth yn hyderus y bydd yr amser datblygu estynedig hwn yn sicrhau cynhyrchiad gwironeddol gofiadwy pan mae Ymgyrch Julie yn cyrraedd y llwyfan o’r diwedd y flwyddyn nesaf. “Bydd Ymgyrch Julie yn gynhyrchiad theatr poblogaidd a phwysig,” meddai Dafydd Rhys. “’Rydym yn gwbl ymrwymedig i’r stori Gymreig unigryw hon a gafodd effaith ledled y byd. Hefyd mae ganddi’r bonws ychwanegol bod y gerddoriaeth yn ffantastig! Gall y gynulleidfa edrych ymlaen at wledd - noson wych o theatr ysgogol a phoblogaidd o’r safon uchaf.”

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Just Jump - Jyst Neidia 2020 by/gan Daisy Williams

Back in February I was over the moon to be offered the chance to direct a play for Theatr na nÓg this summer. And you’ve probably guessed it, the lockdown meant it wasn’t possible. I was disappointed to say the least.

But rather than cry (…for not too long anyway), with the support of Geinor Styles and the Company we set out to create a new version; Virtual Just Jump (as I like to call it). The aim was for it to be seen by pupils in Cardiff and Milford Haven, highlighting the danger of tombstoning before the summer holidays.

The good news: we succeeded.
The brand-new version is available to watch online. Watch here!
But we faced many challenges…

First, in the original stage show, the story of Dr Tom Evans being reminded of his traumatic childhood past is usually told by two different actors. Both these actors play a myriad of characters throughout the story, allowing us to meet those affected by the incident. So, how do you get more than one actor in the same room during lockdown? And not a virtual zoom room, but a real 4 walled room. The answer, it just wasn’t possible.

Secondly, we would usually have a wonderful set designed by the brilliant Luned Gwawr Evans, with additional lighting and sound effects on the set bringing the production to life. But because of the lockdown; no set, no lighting or sound effects.

So, only one actor per room, no set and we had to adapt this story to work in a world facing a global pandemic. Hmm…

There were more than a few hurdles, we had to shake things up. So, we got a team together; writer Ciaran Fitzgerald to adapt the script under the new structure we had planned, Luned Gwawr Evans to support us in trying to make the film look great with limited equipment, Jessica Pomeroy (who would have been Stage Managing) to design soundscapes for the piece, and Barnaby Southgate to bring all the above elements together by composing an original score for the piece. Such a fantastic, talented team to work with.

And yes, together with actors Tom Blumberg and Dan Reilly playing all the different characters, we managed to create a new version of the story. A “virtual” Just Jump.

I’m overjoyed with the results and so happy that we were still be able to create something this summer with this brilliant team and with the support of Cardiff Harbour Authority, Port of Milford Haven, Arts & Business Cymru and of course Theatr na nÓg.

Now, let’s see what else we can adapt.

Watch the Cardiff video here
Watch the Milford video here

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Nol ym mis Chwefror ges i gynnig i gyfarwyddo drama i Theatr na nÓg ym mis Mehefin. Ond, chi siŵr o fod wedi dyfalu, oherwydd y lockdown, doedd hyn yn bosib. O’n i wir wedi siomi.

Ond yn lle pwdi am y peth (…am rhy hir ta beth), gyda chefnogaeth Geinor Styles â’r cwmni dechreuon ni gynllunio fersiwn newydd; Jyst Neidia Digidol (dyna beth dwi’n galw’r prosiect ta beth.) Y nod oedd i’r stori gael ei weld gan ddisgyblion yng Nghaerdydd ac Aberdaugleddau, yn sôn am beryglon neidio i ddŵr (neu “tombstoning”), cyn i’r gwyliau haf dechrau.

Y newyddion da: llwyddon ni i neud hyn.
Mae’r fersiwn newydd ar gael i’w wylio ar-lein. Gwyliwch yma!
Ond roedd yna lawer o heriau…

Yn gyntaf, yn y sioe wreiddiol, mae stori Dr Tom Evans yn cael ei adrodd gan ddau actor yn chwarae nifer fawr o gymeriadau, yn ein cyflwyno ni i bawb cafodd eu heffeithio gan y digwyddiad ofnadwy ym mywyd Tom. Felly, sut ydych chi’n cael mwy nag un actor mewn ystafell yn ystod lockdown? Ac nid mewn ystafell zoom, ond un go iawn gyda waliau a nenfwd a phopeth. Wel yr ateb yw, doedd hi ddim yn bosib.

Yn ail, fel arfer basen ni’n defnyddio set wedi’i ddylunio gan y dylunydd Luned Gwawr Evans, gyda goleuadau ac effeithiau sain i ddod a’r holl brofiad yn fyw. Ond oherwydd lockdown, dim set, dim goleuadau nag effeithiau sain.

Felly, dim ond un actor mewn ystafell, dim set ac roedd rhaid i ni addasu’r stori i weithio mewn byd oedd yn wynebu pandemig ryngwladol. Hmm…

Gan fod mwy fyth o heriau i gyd, roedd rhaid i ni fynd amdani a throi pethau wyneb i waered. Felly, fe wnaethom ni ymgynnull tîm; yr ysgrifennwr Ciaran Fitzgerald i addasu’r sgript gyda’r strwythur newydd, Luned Gwawr Evans i wneud yn siŵr bod ansawdd y ffilm mor dda â phosib gyda chyfyngiadau offer, Jessica Pomeroy (Rheolwr Llwyfan) i greu’r sain, a Barnaby Southgate i gyfuno’r holl beth drwy gyfansoddi cerddoriaeth i’r prosiect. Tîm arbennig i weithio gyda.

Ac ie, gyda’n gilydd, ynghyd â’r actorion Tom Blumberg a Dan Reilly yn chwarae’r cymeriadau i gyd, llwyddon ni i greu’r fersiwn newydd o’r stori. Jyst Neidia ar gyfer y byd digidol.

Dwi wrth fy modd gyda’r canlyniad, ac yn sobor o hapus ein bod ni dal yn gallu creu rhywbeth yr haf hwn gyda’r tîm ffantastig yma, ynghyd â chefnogaeth Awdurdod Harbwr Caerdydd, Port of Milford Haven, Arts & Business Cymru ac wrth gwrs Theatr na nÓg.

Nawr, dewch i ni gael gweld beth arall y gallwn ni addasu.

Gwyliwch fideo Caerdydd yma
Gwyliwch fideo Aberdaugleddau yma

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Tu ôl y llen - Eye of the Storm - Behind the Scenes

Nôl yn 2019 gwnaethon ni sioe o’r enw Eye of the Storm, stori am ofalwr ifanc o’r enw Emmie Price. Mae’n breuddwydio am fod yn siaswr stormydd yn America, ond mae angen iddi edrych ar ôl ei mam. Roedd Eye of the Storm yn sioe gerddorol gyda chaneuon wedi’u hysgrifennu gan Amy Wadge.

Alison Palmer oedd y Rheolwr Llwyfan ar y cynhyrchiad ac mae wedi creu’r fideo yma i ddangos yr holl bethau sydd angen cael eu gwneud cyn i chi allu gweld y cynhyrchiad gorffenedig ar y llwyfan CLICIWCH YMA I WYLIO

Mae gennym ni hefyd lwythi o ddeunydd tu ôl i’r llen a chyfweliadau ar YOU TUBE

Mae yna hefyd weithgareddau ar ein ap gallwch hefyd eu gwneud wedi’i selio ar y sioe. Ewch i weld os oes un rhywbeth hoffech chi ei wneud! CLICIWCH YMA AM EIN AP

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Back in 2019 we did a show called Eye of the Storm about a young carer called Emmie Price, who dreams of being a storm chaser in America, but has to look after her mam. It was a musical with songs written by the Grammy Award Winning songwriter Amy Wadge.

Alison Palmer was our brilliant Company Stage Manager on the production and she has put together this video to show you all of the things that have to be done before you see the finished production on stage CLICK HERE TO WATCH

We also have loads more behind the scenes footage and interviews on YOU TUBE

We have fun activities on our app you could also do related to the show. Take a look and see if one suits you! CLICK HERE FOR OUR APP

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A message from us

Theatr na nÓg exists to tell stories, and we will need stories now more than ever as we step into an unknown world, where we are desperate to make sense of it all.


And the need to make sense of it for ourselves and others is overwhelming.


Something that has struck us as we navigate this new world is that no matter how wonderful it is, connected via our devices, nothing does replicate the connection made like that of a live theatrical experience. Live performance is unique.
We cannot do it in isolation.


In the uncertainty of coming weeks and months, we at Theatr na nÓg want to extend our love and well wishes to everyone out there working through the current challenges.


We stand side by side with our friends, our fellow artists. With the venues and their staff. With our audiences, in particular, the school children who visit us each autumn with their teachers.


We must connect and tell our stories.


So we look forward to the time when we can open the Theatr na nÓg storybook to entertain, enlighten and enchant you - to connect with YOU!


Take care, be safe, stay at home, look after one another, and we look forward to seeing you on the other side.


From all of us at Theatr na nÓg

Neges gennym ni

Nôd Theatr na nÓg yw i adrodd straeon, a bydd angen straeon arnom ni yn fwy nag erioed wrth inni gamu i fyd diethr, lle byddwn ni’n ysu i wneud synnwyr o'r cyfan.

Rhywbeth sydd wedi’n taro ni wrth i ni mordwyo’r byd newydd ‘ma, yw does dim byd all cymryd lle perfformiadau byw - Mae’n unigryw.

Yn ystod y cyfnod ansicr hyn a dros yr wythnosau a'r misoedd nesaf, rydym ni yn Theatr na nÓg yn estyn ein cariad a'n dymuniadau da i bawb sy’n wynebu yr heriau cyfredol.

Rydyn ni'n sefyll ochr yn ochr â'n ffrindiau, ein cyd-artistiaid. Gyda'r theatrau a'u staff. Gyda'n cynulleidfaoedd, ac yn benodol, y plant ysgol , sy'n ymweld â ni bob hydref gyda'u hathrawon.

Rhaid i ni cadw ati i gysylltu ac i ddal ati i adrodd ein straeon.
Felly rydyn ni'n edrych ymlaen at yr amser pan allwn ni ail-agor ein llyfr stori i'ch difyrru, a'ch swyno - i ail-gysylltu â CHI!

Cymerwch ofal, byddwch yn ddiogel, arhoswch gartref, edrychwch ar ôl eich gilydd, ac edrychwn ymlaen i groesawu chi gyd nôl I’r theatr yn fuan.

Theatr na nÓg

Flying the flag for Wales and Wallace

Flying the flag for Wales and Wallace

Neath based Theatr na nÓg have been spreading their magic in Makassar by performing their play “You Should Ask Wallace” in partnership with The British Council and in collaboration with Indonesian artist Abdi Karya. This unique opportunity is a celebration of Wallacea Week 2019 and the publication of Alfred Russel Wallace’s book The Malay Archipelago.
The original play, created by this Welsh Theatre company, tells the inspiring story of Alfred Russel Wallace, who was born in Usk and travelled the world collecting and detailing the variety of species. In 1854 he arrived in Indonesia, where in1858 wrote his theory of evolution by natural selection.
The British Council invited award-winning Theatr na nÓg to take part in the Festival of Inspiration, Education and the Arts to celebrate the diversity of the Wallacea region and held in Makassar from the 22nd -28th of November 2019.
Theatr na nÓg’s Artistic Director Geinor Styles said :- “It has been an incredible opportunity for us not only to tell the Welsh story of Wallace but to immerse ourselves in this incredibly diverse culture. Exactly as Wallace would have done all those years ago.”
“To collaborate with artists from the region where Wallace travelled and explored has given the experience another dimension. It is as much their story as ours. Wallace belongs wherever he goes. And so should the play” Styles added.
The play has been adapted to include the story of the characters that assisted Wallace at the time, namely Ali and Baderoon. Creating a bilingual production in English and Bahasar.
Styles explained that Wallace would have immersed himself in the culture and the language of which there are over 750 different languages in this rich and diverse region. So it was important for this new production to have both English and Bahasar side by side. This offered a new and exciting challenge for the company, who work bilingually only in Welsh and English.
The rehearsal process was conducted in both languages, with Styles and Abdi Karya, an artist from Makassar collaborating with actors Yosua Raharjo Pilli and Vicran Iskandar Putra and also Hildawaty who performed as the Bird of Paradise, one of the most significant discoveries that Wallace made.
Abdi Karya is keen to add that “This collaboration, which is devised, is based on Wallace's legacy about cultural diversity and its people, and we found that he had the same respect for culture as he did for the species he collected. And the diversity of Indonesian artists involved is represented by the origin of region where Wallace used to stay and discover those exact species.”
The reaction from audiences in Makassar seeing “Wallace” return was incredible. It was only overshadowed by the appearance of Ali his trusted assistant who came from Borneo and travelled with Wallace in the Malay Archipelago for eight years, who the audiences took to their hearts.
In addition to the performances the company held workshops with students, where Ioan Hefin performed extracts of the play, and Styles discussed how she wrote and researched the play which is
accessible for all ages yet illustrates one of the most important and complex theories in science – the theory of evolution by natural selection.
Ioan Hefin the actor who created the role of Wallace also learnt the parts of the script in Bahasar. “The way in which the story of Wallace captures an audience has always filled me with pride. Being able to cross the Wallace line has shown me that this inspiring story, with its origins in Wales, is now on a global stage. To witness that journey has been an amazing privilege.”

“In a time of extraordinary changes in our climate, the theory of evolution by natural selection has a deep resonance especially to people living here in one of the most important regions in the world for
bio-diversity. We all have a responsibility to take immediate action”.

The hope is that the play which originated in Wales will be performed in The Malay Archipelgo for years to come, and that Wallace’s legacy will live on for future generations.
This terrific opportunity tops a great year for this small Neath based company where they started the year with another British Council invitation to present their hit musical “Eye of the Storm” in Hong Kong and which has just completed a UK tour captivating audiences and receiving rave reviews.

Chwifio'r faner dros Gymru a Wallace

Mae Theatr na nÓg, sy'n hanu o Gastell-nedd, wedi bod wrthi'n lledaenu eu hudoliaeth ym Makassar trwy berfformio eu drama “Gofynnwch wrth Wallace” mewn partneriaeth â'r Cyngor Prydeinig ac ar y cyd â'r artist o Indonesia, Abdi Karya. Mae'r cyfle unigryw hwn yn ddathliad o Wythnos Wallacea 2019 a chyhoeddi llyfr Alfred Russel Wallace, The Malay Archipelago.

Mae'r ddrama wreiddiol, a grëwyd gan y cwmni theatr hwn o Gymru, yn adrodd stori Alfred Russel Wallace, a anwyd ym Mrynbuga ac a deithiodd y byd yn casglu ac yn cofnodi amrywiaeth y rhywogaethau. Ym 1854 fe gyrhaeddodd Indonesia, ac yno ym 1858 fe luniodd ei ddamcaniaeth o esblygiad trwy ddethol naturiol.

Gwahoddodd y Cyngor Prydeinig y cwmni arobryn Theatr na nÓg i gymryd rhan yng Ngŵyl Ysbrydoliaeth, Addysg a'r Celfyddydau i ddathlu amrywiaeth rhanbarth Wallacea a gynhaliwyd ym Makassar rhwng 22 a 28 Tachwedd 2019.

Meddai Cyfarwyddwr Artistig Theatr na nÓg, Geinor Styles:- “Bu'n gyfle anhygoel nid yn unig i ni adrodd stori Gymreig Wallace ond hefyd i ymdrochi yn y diwylliant hynod amrywiol hwn. Yn yr un ffordd yn union ag y byddai Wallace wedi'i wneud blynyddoedd maith yn ôl.”

“Mae gweithio ar y cyd ag artistiaid o'r rhanbarth lle bu Wallace yn teithio ac yn fforio wedi ychwanegu dimensiwn arall at y profiad. Eu stori nhw yw hi'n gymaint â'n stori ni. Mae Wallace yn perthyn i ble bynnag y mae'n mynd. Fel y dylai'r ddrama” ychwanegodd Styles.

Mae'r ddrama wedi cael ei haddasu i gynnwys stori'r cymeriadau a gynorthwyodd Wallace ar y pryd, sef Ali a Baderoon, gan greu cynhyrchiad dwyieithog yn Saesneg a Bahasar.

Esboniodd Styles y byddai Wallace wedi'i ymdrochi yn niwylliant ac iaith y rhanbarth cyfoethog ac amrywiol hwn, sydd â 750 o ieithoedd gwahanol. Felly, bu'n bwysig i'r cynhyrchiad newydd hwn gynnwys Saesneg a Bahasar ochr yn ochr â'i gilydd. Cynigiodd hyn her newydd a chyffrous i'r cwmni, sy'n gweithio'n ddwyieithog dim ond yn y Gymraeg a'r Saesneg.

Cyflawnwyd y broses ymarfer yn y ddwy iaith, gyda Styles ac Abdi Karya, artist o Makassar yn gweithio ar y cyd â'r actorion Yosua Raharjo Pilli a Vicran Iskandar Putra a hefyd Hildawaty a berfformiodd fel Aderyn Paradwys, un o ddarganfyddiadau mwyaf arwyddocaol Wallace.

Mae Abdi Karya yn awyddus i ychwanegu bod “Y gwaith ar y cyd hwn sydd wedi'i ddyfeisio, yn seiliedig ar etifeddiaeth Wallace ynglŷn ag amrywiaeth ddiwylliannol a'i phobl, a bu i ni ddarganfod iddo ddangos yr un parch at ddiwylliant ag at y rhywogaethau a'u casglai. A chynrychiolir amrywiaeth yr artistiaid o Indonesia fu'n cymryd rhan gan darddiad y rhanbarth lle bu Wallace yn aros ac yn darganfod yr union rywogaethau hynny.”

Roedd yr ymateb gan gynulleidfaoedd ym Makassar wrth weld dychweliad “Wallace” yn anhygoel. Yr unig beth a'i daflodd i'r cysgod oedd ymddangosiad Ali, ei gynorthwy-ydd ffyddlon a hanodd o Forneo ac a deithiodd gyda Wallace yn Ynysfor Maleia am wyth mlynedd, a aeth yn annwyl i galonnau'r cynulleidfaoedd.

Yn ychwanegol at y perfformiadau, cynhaliodd y cwmni weithdai gyda myfyrwyr lle bu i Ioan Hefin berfformio detholiadau o'r ddrama, a thrafododd Styles sut y gwnaeth hi ysgrifennu ac ymchwilio i'r ddrama sy'n hygyrch i bob oedran ond yn dangos un o'r damcaniaethau pwysicaf a mwyaf cymhleth mewn gwyddoniaeth - damcaniaeth esblygiad trwy ddethol naturiol.

Dysgodd Ioan Hefin, yr actor a greodd rôl Wallace, rannau o'r sgript yn Bahasar hefyd. “Dwi bob amser wedi teimlo'n llawn balchder gyda'r ffordd y mae hanes Wallace yn bachu’r gynulleidfa. Mae medru croesi'r llinell Wallace wedi dangos i mi fod y stori ysbrydoliaethus hon, sydd â'i gwreiddiau yng Nghymru, bellach wedi cyrraedd llwyfan fyd-eang. Braint ryfeddol yw bod yn dyst i'r daith honno.”

"Mewn cyfnod o newidiadau hynod yn ein hinsawdd, mae'r ddamcaniaeth o esblygiad trwy ddethol naturiol yn cyseinio'n ddwys, yn enwedig i bobl sy'n byw yma mewn un o ranbarthau pwysicaf y byd o safbwynt bioamrywiaeth. Mae'n gyfrifoldeb arnom i gyd i gymryd camau ar unwaith"

Y gobaith yw y caiff y ddrama, sydd â'i gwreiddiau yng Nghymru, ei pherfformio yn Ynysfor Maleia am flynyddoedd i ddod, ac y bydd etifeddiaeth Wallace yn parhau ar gyfer cenedlaethau'r dyfodol.

Mae'r cyfle penigamp hwn yn uchafbwynt i flwyddyn wych ar gyfer y cwmni bach hwn a leolir yng Nghastell-nedd. Dechreuon nhw y flwyddyn gyda gwahoddiad arall gan y Cyngor Prydeinig i gyflwyno eu sioe gerdd hynod boblogaidd "Eye of the Storm" yn Hong Kong ac mae newydd gwblhau taith o'r Deyrnas Unedig gan gyfareddu cynulleidfaoedd a derbyn adolygiadau canmoliaethus.

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Diolch gwirfoddolwyr!

Mae Theatr na nÓg eisiau dweud DIOLCH enfawr i ein gwirfoddolwyr ffantastig sydd wedi helpu allan gydag ein cynhyrchiad Heliwr Pili Pala yn ystod tymor yr Hydref. Roedd Kris, Karen, Abi, Geraldine, Haydn a Jenny yn edrych ar ôl y gweithdai yn Amgueddfa Abertawe ac yn tywys yr ysgolion o gwmpas Marina Abertawe. Roedd pob gwirfoddolwr wedi taflu eu hun mewn i fyd Alfred Russel Wallace ac wedi cadw sylw'r disgyblion trwy’r dydd.

Basen ni 'di methu neud e hebddoch chi! Dyma rhai o’r sylwadau gan athrawon a ddaeth i ddangos pa mor amhrisiadwy mae ein gwirfoddolwyr:
“Roedd y plant wedi mwynhau'r ymweliad i’r amgueddfa, roedden nhw’n hoffi edrych ar yr arteffactau ac yn siarad â’r gwirfoddolwyr ardderchog. Roedd y gwirfoddolwyr wedi neud yr ymweliad yn gwerthfawr”.
“Roedd y gwirfoddolwyr yn rhedeg y gweithgareddau yn gyfeillgar, yn denu sylw ac yn cefnogi'r disgyblion”.

Mae Kris, un o ein gwirfoddolwyr sydd yn astudio Drama Gymhwysol ym Mhrifysgol Cymru y Drindod Dewi Sant, wedi rhannu ei farn ar ei brofiad gyda Theatr na nÓg yr Hydref yma: “Roedd hi’n brofiad hyfryd i gwrdd â rhyngweithio gyda’r plant o ysgolion gwahanol, roedden nhw’n chwilfrydig ac yn llawn egni. Nes i fwynhau'r gwaith yn y ddwy amgueddfa a hoffwn i helpu gydag unrhyw brosiectau arall sydd yn dod lan. Roedd y profiad yn dda ar gyfer fy ngwaith yn y dyfodol, diolch”.

Bydd llawer o gyfleoedd i ein gwirfoddolwyr yn 2020, ac os hoffech chi gymryd rhan plîs cysylltwch Carys ar 01639 641771 neu trwy e-bost ambassadors@theatr-nanog.co.uk. Diolch!

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Thank you ambassadors!

Theatr na nÓg would like to say a big THANK YOU to our fantastic ambassadors who helped out with our production of The Butterfly Hunter this Autumn. Kris, Karen, Abi, Geraldine, Haydn and Jenny all took care of the workshops at Swansea Museum and guided the schools around Swansea Marina. Each ambassador fully immersed themselves into the world of Alfred Russel Wallace and kept the school pupils engaged throughout the day.

We truly could not have done it without them! Here are a few comments from the teachers who came to show just how invaluable our ambassadors are:
“The children enjoyed the visit to the museum, they liked looking at the artefacts and talking to the volunteers who were excellent. The volunteers made the visit worthwhile”.
“Volunteers who were running the activities were very engaging, friendly and supportive of the pupils”.

Kris, one of our ambassadors who is currently studying Applied Drama at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, shared his thoughts on his experience this Autumn with Theatr na nÓg: “It was a wonderful experience getting to meet and interact with the children from different schools, they were all inquisitive and energetic. I enjoyed the work in both museums and would be interested in any upcoming projects I might be able to help on. It was a good experience for my future work, thank you”.

There will be lots of opportunities taking place in 2020 for our ambassadors, and if you would like to get involved then please contact Carys on 01639 641771 or by email at ambassadors@theatr-nanog.co.uk. Diolch!

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