Gethin's Blog - 'Would you Jump'

Back in November 2016, I joined Theatr Na nÓg as an Ambassador, and since then I have received a wide variety of experiences with the company, from visiting their base in Neath, taking part in readings and sitting in on reading of new plays, as well as watching some rehearsals. The first time I visited the base, and every time since, the atmosphere has been very welcoming, but also very creative and diligent, and everyone there is so friendly and again, welcoming. What's amazing about every visit is the opportunity to meet actors, writers, directors and other members within the industry; to create connections and share experiences over a cuppa.

Over the past few weeks, I have been working closely with Na nÓg on their latest project, 'Would you Jump' - a play that draws attention to the dangers of jumping into the water/barrage/docks. The performance toured school in Milford Haven and Cardiff, and was also performed in the open air in Cardiff Bay. I was fortunate enough to work closely with this play; I was invited to one of the initial readings, then I had the opportunity to help Geraint Chinnock - Production Manager of Theatr Na nÓg - with designing, painting and building the set; I also sat in on one rehearsal of the play; and I went on tour with the company around the Cardiff area, setting up the set and the technical equipment, before taking everything down and loading them into the van, ready for the next performance!

Since graduating from the University of South Wales studying BA (hons) Theatr a Drama through the medium of Welsh in Cardiff, I was looking forward to performing, and being on-stage, however after hearing, during the reading of the play, that there was an opportunity to help Geraint with creating the set - I couldn't resist!! I thoroughly enjoyed my time working backstage (or behind-the-scenes) designing, painting and building the set, and especially the technical side of the performance.

During one of the rehearsals I went to speak with Geraint to learn more about the technology, how it worked, and how everything is set up. I learnt so much about the importance of technology in this production, as well as the importance of looking after the technical apparatus, without mentioning all the work that goes into setting it all up! Before one performance, Geraint asked me whether I'd be willing to operate the sound for that performance (!!), I don't think I've ever said "Yes" that quickly before. Through this I learnt about the real importance of listening to the script, and also to look out for whether the sound cue is taken from a visual cue, or a cue from a line in the script. (I should probably mention - Geraint had already done all of the hard work, and I only had to press the 'space' button on the computer), but then again, it was still an important part of the performance!

I have really enjoyed my time working with Theatr Na nÓg, and I'm looking forward to see what's to come in the future!
I'll definitely be back!

Gethin Bickerton


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