2013 Festival

Wales Millennium Centre – World Music Commission Premiere

Gwanwyn commissioned a new piece of work from two of Wales’ finest older professional musicians.  Dylan Fowler and Adam Doughty collaborated over several months to create a new suite in three parts, written for guitar and Kora (a West African harp).

The piece received its world premiere at the Wales Millennium Centre in May 2013 where it was performed to an audience of several hundred people to great acclaim and appreciation.

View the performance on Gwanwyn Festival Youtube channel.

Bristol Reggae Orchestra

2013bristol-reggae-orchestraBristol Reggae Orchestra is one of the UK’s most inspiring and uplifting community projects.  Ranging in age from twenty to seventy-something, they are a collective of local musicians who play everything from Reggae and Ska, through to Jazz and Classical.  Their inclusive ethos sees professionals perform side by side with students and hobbyists.

Combining Reggae classics with a compelling repertoire of bravely crafted original work the orchestra is a shining example of how the older and younger generation of musicians can come together  and create a musical whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Gwanwyn brought the orchestra to Wales Millennium Centre, where they performed a passionate set to a capacity audience.  The Caribbean music brought the sunshine and there was a real party atmosphere.

View the performance on Gwanwyn Festival Youtube channel.

Aberystwyth Arts Centre

2014-aberystwyth-arts-centreAberystwyth Arts Centre opened their doors to anyone aged 50 and over for a free arts and wellbeing day, with activities programmed throughout the facilities in the centre.  The emphasis was on having fun and encouraging participants to try new things.  Workshops included life drawing, textiles, digital photography and ceramics

Today we walked into the unknown!

Galeri Caernarfon

Working together on TONIC’s programme of affordable afternoon concerts for older people, Galeri Caernarfon and Gwanwyn Festival cooked up a number of other projects.

Young people were encouraged to bring grandparents or older neighbours along to the mask workshops which followed Vamos Theatre’s innovative new production Finding Joy.

Following Company of Elders uplifting performance at Gwanwyn 2012, Galeri has established its own older people’s dance group, CAIN, with choreographer Cai Tomos.  With Gwanwyn Festival support, CAIN have performed at Galeri and the National Eisteddfod and continue to receive invitations to perform across Wales in the future.

Follow this link for a documentary about Cai Tomos and his work with CAIN described as “A true example of what community dance should be.”

Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Gwanwyn Festival continued its partnership with Clwyd Theatr Cymru’s Celtic Festival.  This celebration of new writing from the Celtic nations featured three of the best new plays from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

  • The Static by ThickSkin (Scotland)
  • The Boat Factory by Happenstance (Northern Ireland)
  • Salt, Root and Roe by Clwyd Theatr Cymru (Wales)

Over 50’s participating in Gwanwyn were offered a taste of the Celtic Festival, which included a welcome reception and tickets for performances and films.

Gwanwyn Week on Rhondda Radio

Treherbert based station Rhondda Radio is run entirely by volunteers and many local older people are actively involved in the radio station.  Each May they put on a week of special programming called Gwanwyn Week, presenting daily advice shows, music, chat and interviews with local older people who are involved in the arts.  The work of other Gwanwyn grant recipients is also showcased through interviews and special reports, bringing the buzz of the Gwanwyn Festival into people’s living rooms and kitchens all over South Wales.

Follow this link for the latest information on Rhondda Radio.

Butetown History and Arts Centre

Butetown History and Arts Centre staged daily events throughout May.  Workshops for people aged 50 and over included art classes, digital photography and author talks.  Highlights included Time to Dance, an intergenerational project with the dance crew Jukebox Juniors, and Fifty over Fifty, a photography exhibition of inspirational portraits and stories of women connected to Butetown and Cardiff Bay.  The insightful exhibition celebrated their extraordinary achievements and the things that empower them in their extraordinary lives.

Giving Voice

Giving Voice was a writing project aimed at people whose stories usually go unheard.  Briony Goffin, an artist and writer who works in the medium of lists, asked participants the question, ‘What do you know?’  She took the project to carers who attend an RCT writer’s group, residents of Quarry Hall Care Home, older male prisoners at Parc Prison and the Sisters of Saint Joseph.  The results of these workshops were profound and moving, and were compiled into a beautiful publication.

Some of the work was then translated into canvases by a team comprising professional designers and workers from the Parc Prison print shop and exhibited at the gallery space in the School of Optometry building at Cardiff University.

I now know, because of my loneliness, when in company I talk too much

I know George Best was the greatest footballer, ever
I know that I’m not afraid of the dark

I know what it’s like to have a stroke
I know what it’s like to place a baby up for adoption
I know that I like French and would like to learn it
I have known good times

Gregynog Festival – West Gallery Music Project

Gregynog Festival is the oldest classical music festival in Wales and takes place each summer at Gregynog Hall, near Newtown, and other community venues in North Powys.  Gwanwyn supported performances of the renowned Mellstock Band as well as Live Music Now’s classical music performances in care homes in the local area.

The Mellstock Band plays authentic instruments from the 1840s and recreates the musical culture of the time.  The band led an afternoon workshop open to singers and instrumentalists of all abilities and then performed a rousing concert of music from the west gallery tradition documented by Thomas Hardy.

This is music for everyone – it’s straightforward enough for people new to singing choral music, but with twists and turns to surprise the most experienced singers. It’s full of vitality, with glorious harmonies and counterpoint that is great fun to sing and play.

MôntAge – Anglesey writing project

2013anglesey-montageGwanwyn festival brought together three writing groups comprising mostly older people and other writers from the community and schools on Anglesey.  They published MôntAge – Writings from a Welsh Island, a collection comprising new work by 53 contemporary Anglesey writers, and illustrated by local artist Hilary Buckley.  The bilingual text includes memoirs, ghost stories, history and poetry.

It was published and launched at a major event in Anglesey in June 2013.

Commissioners’ Choice

2013commissioners-choice-mostynGwanwyn joined with the Older People’s Commissioners Office to put on a series of intergenerational projects across Wales.

Youth groups from Llandudno, Rhayader, Machynlleth and school children from Caerphilly worked with older members from their family and community to create positive responses to the question, ‘What a Saturday night means to you’.

Three short films were created by members of Rhayader YMCA with support from Chris Tally Evans (Creative Wales Award winner and London 2012 Festival filmmaker) called Psychedelic Saturday, Pier and Beer, Haircuts

To see the videos please visit Gwanwyn Festival Youtube channel.

Llandudno’s MOSTYN art gallery worked with a group of young people aged between 15 and 25 and in collaboration with Blind Veterans UK, LLys Erw Care Home, Llys Elian Care Home and TAPE Community to develop audio digital and film material.

This project was then displayed to the public and included a soundscape installation and sensory memory boxes created by younger members of Ninjas, MOSTYN’s youth group.

These installations were coupled with a Jive performance, led by a local dance company, an indoor garden tea party and an insight into traditional photography led by artist Richard Cynnan Jones.

The elderly residents I’ve spoken to think there is a barrier between young and old people that needs to be broken.  More intergenerational projects like these will help to break the barrier.