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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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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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Theatre Company exports Welsh Hero

Theatr na nÓg is delighted to announce that the company will present their original play “You Should Ask Wallace” in Indonesia.

The play tells the inspiring story of Alfred Russel Wallace, who was born in Usk and who left Wales in 1854 to document the diverse fauna, flora of the area in Indonesia now known as the Wallacea Region.

The British Council therefore has invited the 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. The Festival will be held in Makassar from the 22nd -28th of November 2019.

Paul Smith, Director of The British Council in Indonesia explained how delighted they are about the collaboration, “Here in Indonesia we are thrilled that the Welsh Wallace is returning to the Archipelago. In our Wallace Week in Sulawesi we are not just exploring biodiversity but also the cultural and ethnic diversities that Wallace encountered. Theatr na nÓg’s production will contribute greatly to the understanding and inspiration of young audiences along The Wallacea Line and we are thrilled that the company will transfer the production to local performers to ensure its own ‘sustainability’ here.

Each year Theatr na nÓg create original productions for over 5,000 young people which integrate live theatre performance with innovative creative learning resources. The organisation will be sharing their successful model of presenting theatre and education in workshops and symposiums in Makassar. The company is grateful to Wales Arts International and British Council Cymru for supporting this exciting opportunity.

Theatr na nÓg’s Artistic Director Geinor Styles said :- “It is an incredible opportunity for us to tell the Welsh story of Wallace to an area that celebrates and recognises this often forgotten scientist who co-discovered the theory of evolution with Charles Darwin, and to be here in the place where Wallace wrote the theory is inspirational.”

Styles together with actor Ioan Hefin, who originated the role of Alfred Russel Wallace, will not only perform the original play but will subsequently work with Indonesian actors and director to enable them to formulate their own version of the drama which they can continue to present to local audiences. “Our first performance of ‘You Should ask Wallace’ was in 2008. At the time I thought we were revisiting an important but forgotten historical figure. I now realise that ARW is very much a voice for today and tomorrow. He was, and still is, a visionary influence”

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.

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Cwmni fach o Gymru yn allforio arwr cymreig i ben draw byd.

Mae Theatr na nÓg yn falch i gyhoeddi bod y cwmni wedi ei wahodd i Indonesia gan y Cyngor Prydeinig i gydweithio gydag artistiaid o Indonesia ar ddrama wreiddiol y cwmni "You Should Ask Wallace."

Mae stori ysbrydoledig y dyn o Frynbuga, Alfred Russel Wallace a adawodd Cymru yn 1854 i gofnodi ffawna a fflora amrywiol yr ardal yn Indonesia, a adwaenir bellach fel rhanbarth Wallacea. Mae'r Cyngor Prydeinig felly wedi gwahodd Theatr na nÓg i gymryd rhan yn yr Ŵyl Ysbrydoliaeth, Addysg a'r Celfyddydau i ddathlu amrywiaeth rhanbarth Wallacea rhwng 22ain a’r 29ain o Dachwedd.

Dywedodd Cyfarwyddwr Artistig y cwmni, Geinor Styles:- "Mae'n gyfle arbennig i ni adrodd stori Gymreig Wallace i ardal sy'n dathlu ac yn cydnabod y gwyddonydd hwn, a ddarganfyddodd theori esblygiad ar y cyd â Charles Darwin, ac mae bod yma yn y man lle ysgrifennodd Wallace yr union bapur ar y theori yn anhygoel."

Bydd Styles, ynghyd â'r actor Ioan Hefin, a greodd rôl Alfred Russel Wallace, nid yn unig yn perfformio'r ddrama wreiddiol ond yn cyd-weithio gydag actorion a chyfarwyddwr o Indonesia i'w galluogi i lunio eu fersiwn nhw eu hunain o'r ddrama fel y gallant barhau i'w chyflwyno y ddrama o Gymru i gynulleidfaoedd lleol. "Roedd ein perfformiad cyntaf o 'You Should Ask Wallace' yn 2008. Ar y pryd roeddwn yn meddwl ein bod yn ailedrych ar ffigur hanesyddol pwysig ond anghofiedig. Rwy'n sylweddoli erbyn hyn bod Alfred Russel Wallace yn llais pwysig ar gyfer heddiw ac yfory. Yr oedd, ac y mae'n dal i fod, yn ddylanwad gweledigaethol."

Bob blwyddyn mae'r sefydliad yn creu cynyrchiadau gwreiddiol i dros 5,000 o bobl ifanc sy'n plethu perfformiad theatr gydag adnoddau dysgu creadigol digidol. Bydd y y cwmni yn rhannu ei fodel llwyddiannus o gyflwyno theatr ac addysg mewn gweithdai a symposia yn Makassar. Mae'r cwmni'n ddiolchgar i Gelfyddydau Rhyngwladol Cymru a Chyngor Prydeinig Cymru am gefnogi'r cyfle cyffrous hwn.

Mae'r cyfle gwych hwn yn benllanw ar flwyddyn arbennig i'r cwmni bach hwn o Gastell-nedd. Dechreuodd y flwyddyn gyda gwahoddiad arall gan y Cyngor Prydeinig i fynd â sioe gerdd llwyddiannus, sef "Eye of the Storm" i Hong Kong, sydd newydd gwblhau taith o'r DU gan ddenu adolygiadau gwych.

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Cydweithrediad gwyddoniaeth gyfrifiadurol greadigol Abertawe yn ysbrydoli meddyliau ifanc â phrosiect newydd, sy’n dod â dysgu peiriant ynghyd ag un o ddarganfyddiadau gwyddonol pwysicaf Cymru.

Mae’r rhaglen allgymorth arloesol i ysgolion Technocamps wedi ymuno unwaith yn rhagor â’r cwmni aml-wobrwyedig Theatr na nÓg ar gyfer prosiect ar y cyd sy’n dod â pheth o’r sgiliau technoleg fwyaf blaenllaw at blant a phobl ifanc ledled De Cymru.

Mae eu prosiect mwyaf diweddar, sy’n seiliedig ar y ddrama Heliwr Pili Pala, yn dod ag adrodd straeon hudolus am y gwyddonydd o Gymru Alfred Russel Wallace (cyfoeswr â Darwin a ddarganfyddodd theori esblygiad yn annibynnol yn sgil ei anturiaethau i bedwar ban byd) ynghyd â sgiliau i gatalogio natur drwy ddysgu peiriant.

Dyma’r prosiect cyntaf erioed i Technocamps a Theatr na nÓg greu partneriaeth arno yng Nghymru ers eu cydweithio poblogaidd rhyngwladol yng Ngwyl SPARK Hong Kong yn gynharach eleni.

Ers ei sefydlu yn 2003, bu tîm Technochamps yn darparu gweithdai am raglennu, datblygu gemau, robotigs, codio a datblygu apiau i fwy na 45,000 o bobl ifanc yng Nghymru. Mae gweithdy diweddaraf Technochamps sy’n archwilio dysgu peiriant, ymhlith y mwyaf uchelgeisiol hyd yma. Mae dysgu peiriant yn cymhwyso deallusrwydd artiffisial mewn systemau, gan roi’r cyfle iddynt ddysgu a gwella’n awtomatig yn sgil profiad heb raglennu pellach. Diolch i’r cydweithio hwn, cafodd plant ledled De Cymru y cyfle i roi cynnig ar hyn eu hunain, gan greu eu rhaglenni deallus eu hunain a fydd, dros amser, yn dysgu i gatalogio’r gwahanol drychfilod a phryfed maen nhw’n eu darganfod yn rhywogaethau diffiniedig.

Cafodd y gweithdai arloesol hyn eu cynnig i ysgolion cynradd ledled Abertawe fel rhan o becyn i ysgolion i gyd-fynd â chynhyrchiad diweddaraf Theatr na nÓg, Heliwr Pili Pala a bydd ar gael i’r cyhoedd cyn bo hir gydag adnoddau ar wefan Technocamps. Ysgrifennwyd Heliwr Pili Pala, drama wreiddiol ar gyfer Theatr na nÓg yn dathlu bywyd y gwyddonydd o Gymru Alfred Russel Wallace, gan y Cyfarwyddwr Artistig Geinor Styles, sydd wedi ei gwobrwyo â Chymrodoriaeth Anrhydeddus oddi wrth y Coleg Brenhinol Cerdd a Drama am ei gwaith yn dod â theatr o ansawdd uchel i blant yng Nghymru.

Ganwyd Alfred Russel Wallace yn Llanbadog, Sir Fynwy, ac yn ddiweddarach roedd yn byw yng Nghastell-nedd. Darganfyddodd Theori Esblygiad yn annibynnol o Charles Darwin yn yr 1850au - mewn gwirionedd cafodd ei bapur ar y pwnc ei gyhoeddi ar y cyd ac ochr yn ochr â phapur Darwin. Ers ei farwolaeth mae rôl Wallace yn un o’r darganfyddiadau mwyaf erioed wedi diflannu o hanes bron tra bo Darwin yn cael ei gydnabod gan blant ledled y byd. Mae’r Heliwr Pili Pala yn mynd â chynulleidfaoedd ifanc ar antur drwy fywyd Wallace a’i fordeithiau drwy jyngl Brasil a’r Malay Archipelago, gan amlygu pwysigrwydd bioamrywiaeth a sgwrsio ar hyd y daith.

Mae’r cynhyrchiad wedi bod yn rhedeg fel rhan o brosiect theatr ysgolion blynyddol Theatr na nÓg drwy gydol misoedd Medi a Hydref 2019. Ei deitl Saesneg yw The Butterfly Hunter.
Fodd bynnag, bydd dau berfformiad am ddim i’r cyhoedd yn Theatr Dylan Thomas, ynghyd â gweithdai Technocamps, yn digwydd fel rhan o Ŵyl Wyddoniaeth Abertawe ddydd Sadwrn 26 Hydref 2019.

Gweithdy Cyfrwng Saesneg: 2.30pm, Ystafell Vivian, Amgueddfa Genedlaethol y Glannau
Perfformiad Cyfrwng Saesneg: 4.30pm, Theatr Dylan Thomas
Gweithdy Cyfrwng Cymraeg: 10.30am, Ystafell Vivian, Amgueddfa Genedlaethol y Glannau
Perfformiad Cyfrwng Cymraeg: 12pm, Theatr Dylan Thomas

Gellir dod o hyd i ragor o wybodaeth ar wefan Gŵyl Wyddoniaeth Abertawe.

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Swansea’s creative computer science collaboration inspires young minds with a new project bringing together machine learning and one of Wales’ landmark scientific discoveries.

The innovative schools’ outreach programme Technocamps have once again joined forces with award-winning company Theatr na nÓg for a collaborative project bringing some of the most cutting-edge technology skills to children and young people around South Wales.

Based around the play The Butterfly Hunter, their newest project brings together magical storytelling about Welsh scientist Alfred Russel Wallace (a contemporary of Darwin whose globe-trotting adventures led him to independently discover the theory of evolution) and skills to catalogue nature through machine learning.

It Is the first project that Technocamps and Theatr na nÓg have partnered on in Wales since making their popular collaboration international at Hong Kong’s SPARK Festival earlier this year.

Since their establishment in 2003, the Technocamps team has delivered workshops in programming, games development, robotics, coding and app development to more than 45,000 young people in Wales. Their latest workshops exploring machine learning, are some of their most ambitious to date. Machine learning is the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in systems, allowing them to automatically learn and improve from experience without further programming. Thanks to this collaboration, children across South Wales have had the opportunity to try this out for themselves, creating their own intelligent programmes which, over time, learn to catalogue different bugs and insects they find into defined species.

These innovative workshops have been offered to primary schools across Swansea as part of a schools’ package around Theatr na nÓg’s latest production The Butterfly Hunter and will soon be available to the public with resources available on the Technocamps website. An original play from Theatr na nÓg celebrating the life of Welsh scientist Alfred Russel Wallace, The Butterfly Hunter was written by Artistic Director Geinor Styles, who was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for her work bringing high quality theatre to children in Wales.

Born in Llanbadog, Monmouthshire, and later resident of Neath, Alfred Russel Wallace discovered the Theory of Evolution independently of Charles Darwin in the 1850s – in fact his paper on the subject was jointly published alongside Darwin’s own. Since his death, Wallace’s role in one of the greatest discoveries of all time has almost disappeared from history while Darwin’s is recognised by children across the world. The Butterfly Hunter takes young audiences on an adventure through Wallace’s life and voyages through the Brazilian jungle and Malay Archipelago, highlighting the importance of biodiversity and conservation along the way.

The production has been running as part of the Theatr na nÓg’s annual schools’ theatre project throughout September and October 2019, in English and in Welsh language as Heliwr Pili Pala. However, two free public performances at The Dylan Thomas Theatre, complete with Technocamps workshops, will be taking place as part of the Swansea Science Festival on Saturday 26th October 2019.

English language workshop: 2.30pm, Vivian Room, National Waterfront Museum
English language performance: 4.30pm, Dylan Thomas Theatre
Welsh language workshop: 10.30am, Vivian Room, National Waterfront Museum
Welsh language performance: 12pm, Dylan Thomas Theatre

More information can be found on the Swansea Science Festival website by clicking here.

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