Blog Gethin - 'Would you Jump'

Ymunais i efo gwmni Theatr Na nÓg fel Llysgennad nôl ym mis Tachwedd, ac ers hynny rydw i wedi derbyn amryw o brofiadau hefo'r cwmni, fel ymweld â'r Pencadlys yng Nghastell Nedd; cymryd rhan mewn darlleniadau, a chynnig adborth, ac eistedd i mewn ar ymarferion. Y tro cyntaf i mi ymweld y pencadlys, a phob tro wedyn, mae'r awyrgylch yn hynod gartrefol ond hefyd creadigol a gweithgar, ac mae pawb yna mor gyfeillgar. Beth sydd yn wych am bob ymweliad ydi'r cyfle i gwrdd ag actorion, cyfarwyddwyr, sgriptwyr, â phobl eraill sydd yn gweithio yn y maes, ac i greu cysylltiadau a rhannu profiadau dros baned.

Dros yr wythnosau diwethaf rydw i wedi bod yn gweithio'n agos gyda Na nÓg, ar eu prosiect diweddaraf, 'Would you Jump' - sioe sy'n codi ymwybyddiaeth am beryglon neidio mewn i'r dŵr/morglawdd/dociau. Cafodd y sioe ei berfformio mewn ysgolion yn Aberdaugleddau, Caerdydd, a hefyd ym Mae Caerdydd.
Bues i'n ddigon ffodus i weithio'n agos efo'r ddrama hon; ges i fy ngwahodd i un o ddarlleniadau cynta'r sgript; yna mi fues i'n ddigon ffodus i helpu Geraint Chinnock - rheolwr cynhyrchu theatr Na nÓg - i adeiladu, peintio a dylunio'r set; mi eisteddais i mewn ar un o'r ymarferion; ac mi fues i ar daith hefo'r perfformiad o amgylch ardal Caerdydd yn gosod y set a'r elfennau technegol, ac yna'u cymryd i lawr a'u llwytho i'r fan yn barod at y perfformiad nesaf!

Ar ôl graddio o gwrs BA (anrh) Theatr a Drama o Brifysgol De Cymru yng Nghaerdydd, roeddwn i'n edrych ymlaen at agwedd perfformio'r maes, ond ar ôl fod yn rhan o ddarlleniad o'r ddrama a chlywed fod cyfle i helpu i Geraint efo'r set - I couln't resist!! Roeddwn i wrth fy modd yn gweithio tu ôl i'r llen fel petai, yn adeiladu'r set, gosod pethau yn eu lle, ac yn enwedig yr ochr technegol. Yn ystod un o'r ymarferion, mi es i i siarad efo Geraint i ofyn am fwy o wybodaeth am ochr technegol y cynhyrchiad, ac fe ddysgais lot am bwysigrwydd gofalu am y dechnoleg, a sut mae'n gallu ychwanegu at berfformiad, heb sôn am yr holl waith sy'n mynd mewn i baratoi cyn i'r daith ddechrau!

Ar un o'r sioeau, ges i'r cyfle i weithredu'r sain (!!), a thrwy hyn dysgais gymaint am bwysigrwydd talu sylw a gwrando'n astud ar y sgript, gan hefyd gofio os ydi'r ciw yn un weledol, neu yn un sy'n dilyn y geiriau. (Mae'n rhaid nodi- Geraint oedd wedi neud y gwaith caled i gyd, a dim ond pwyso'r botwm space oedd rhaid i mi wneud.) Ond eto, roedd hi'n elfen hollbwysig a oedd yn gweddu at gynnwys y darn ac yn ychwanegu at y perfformiad yn ei gyfanrwydd!

Rydw i wedi bod wrth fy modd yn gweithio hefo Theatr Na nÓg, ac rydw i'n edrych ymlaen gymaint at beth sydd i ddod nesaf!
Mi fyddai nôl.

Gethin Bickerton.


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


Emily's Blog - Eye of The Storm Recording

As one of the Ambassadors for Theatr na nÓg, I was invited to go and sit in on a recording session for the music for this year’s Autumn show- “Eye of the Storm”. Located on a hill in what feels like the middle of nowhere is Acapela Studios, a truly unique venue. I entered the semi converted chapel (the pews are still used for seating during gigs & shows in the venue!) and stood by the bar. I admired the quirky décor; hanging from the ceiling above my head were lightbulbs inside trumpets and on the windowsills were other brass instruments in vases. I studied the room for a few seconds before noticing that to my right, through a pane of soundproof glass was Amy Wadge, country music singer-songwriter and composer of all of the songs for “Eye of the Storm”, mid recording! Having previously heard the songs during a script reading session before Christmas, it was amazing to hear them come to life in front of me, by such a rich and gorgeous voice.

I was lead up a narrow staircase into the mixing room, laden with various string instruments, cups of coffee and musical men chatting about the intricate details of the tracks. As I stood and observed, I realised the scale of work that goes into recording a song, the production of each millisecond.

After taking a seat back downstairs I chatted with Geinor Styles, artistic director of Theatr na nÓg and writer of “Eye of the Storm” about her ideas and collaboration with Amy Wadge. It was really interesting learning that it was a process which involved Amy throughout, the two discussed ideas and worked creatively together, discovering how Amy’s stunning music goes hand in hand with Geinor’s beautiful story.

After Amy had finished recording her vocals, I managed to grab her for a chat, too! I was interested to know how Amy felt about writing with a brief and what she thought about the script. It was great to be able to chat with both Amy and Geinor and to see whether Amy’s music had influenced Geinor's writing and vice versa. What was clear after speaking to them both was that the creative collaboration completely worked. Amy’s genuine love for the story and main character “Emmie” meant that she really invested in the music and getting to be a fly on the wall of the recording process was something I really enjoyed.

After sitting quietly drinking cappuccinos in amidst the hustle bustle of a recording studio; hearing strings, piano, organ and barbershop quartet-esque harmonising, my eyes have been opened to the hard work that goes into every note that is recorded. Peering through the glass of the studio into the musical word of “Eye of the Storm” has really got me excited for what’s to come this Autumn!


Georgia's Blog - Eye Of The Storm Band Rehearsal

As soon as Theatr Na nÓg invited me to sit in on the band rehearsal in preparation for recording in the studio next week for songs from Eye of the Storm, which is the Autumn show, I was excited. I had never been involved or watched a band practice before, so took the opportunity of being a fly on the wall straight away, so much so I think Geinor had whiplash.

From watching them rehearse, ready for Amy Wadge to come in, I feel I have a different perspective when listening to music as witnessing first-hand the amount of time it takes to reach such a high standard. A standard worth recording. I didn’t realise there was so much to think about, especially when you’re a Music Director.

It was a different style of music than I was expecting… When someone mentions the word ‘band’, I automatically make a judgement on what type of music I think it will be, except it was completely the opposite. They threw country into the mix and it was something I’d listen to! There was an acoustic guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, banjo, double bass and huge amounts of equipment.

I appreciate the opportunity I had as I felt I learnt quite a bit from the rehearsal. Experience makes a person more confident in their field and I could feel the experience oozing out of each band member, Barney the musical director, Dan on guitar, Kieran on drums and Matt on bass. It’s even more inspiring as they each add something different to the band. Especially Amy Wadge, who releases such a good vibe. She has a lot of experience and is a good example of someone in the industry to take note from.


Theatr na nÓg celebrate being nominated for three awards for Broadway World UK for their show Tom The Musical

Theatr na nÓg, the producing theatre company based in Neath are proud to be included in this year’s nominations for Broadwayworld U.K. for their show, Tom the Musical.

The show, which was produced by the Welsh company, toured the UK this Spring opening to a sell out audience at Wales Millennium Centre and grossing over £1million at the box office. "We are over the moon and extremely proud not only for the show but also for our Tom - Kit Orton who has been nominated for best actor. It is a huge privilege for a small company whose work is primarily for school audiences to be included on such a prestigious list" Geinor Styles, the show’s director explained. "We are also hugely grateful to the Arts Council of Wales, HSBC and RCT and NPT theatres for their support of the development of this exciting venture.

The show is nominated in three categories, Best New Musical, Best Regional production and Best Actor in a musical for Kit Orton.

If you'd like to vote, please register your email address and vote here. Voting takes around five minutes to complete.


Theatr na nÓg yn dathlu cael eu henwebu am dair gwobr gan Broadway World UK am eu sioe Tom The Musical

Mae Theatr na nÓg, y cwmni cynhyrchu theatr sydd â’i gartref yng Nghastell-nedd, yn falch o gael ei gynnwys yn enwebiadau eleni ar gyfer Broadwayworld U.K. am eu sioe, Tom the Musical.

Fe deithiodd y sioe, a gynhyrchwyd gan y cwmni o Dde Cymru, ar hyd a lled y DU yn ystod y Gwanwyn eleni ac ymddangos o flaen cynulleidfa lawn yng Nghanol Mileniwm Cymru gan wneud dros £1miliwn yn y swyddfa docynnau. "Rydym ar ben ein digon ac yn hynod o falch, nid yn unig dros y sioe, ond hefyd dros ein Tom ni – sef Kit Orton sydd wedi ei enwebu am wobr actor gorau. Mae’n fraint aruthrol i gwmni bychan, sy’n cynhyrchu gwaith ar gyfer cynulleidfaoedd ysgol yn bennaf, i gael ein cynnwys ar restr mor glodfawr," eglurodd Geinor Styles, cyfarwyddwraig y sioe. "Rydym hefyd yn hynod o ddiolchgar i Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, HSBC a theatrau Rhondda Cynon Taf a Chastell-nedd Port Talbot am eu cefnogaeth wrth ddatblygu’r fenter gyffrous yma.”

Mae’r sioe wedi ei henwebu mewn tri chategori, Y Sioe Gerdd Newydd Orau, y Cynhyrchiad Rhanbarthol Gorau ar Actor Gorau mewn Sioe Gerdd ar gyfer Kit Orton.

Os hoffech bleidleisio, cofrestrwch eich cyfeiriad e-bost a phleidleisiwch yma. Fe gymer tua phum munud ichi gwblhau eich pleidlais.


Introducing one of our Young Ambassadors, Georgia Warlow!

Hello, lovely people!

I’m Georgia and I’m going to be letting you know a little bit about myself and what I’ve been up to with Theatr na nÓg and beyond. So, grab yourself a cuppa and I won’t keep you for too long, I promise.

For those of you who know that ‘cold clammy hand panic’ you get after graduation, yep. I’ve been there. That was me last year. I packed up my little room in Carmarthen, degree in hand, and pondered (cried) at the thought of what I’d do next.

I moved to Cardiff from the little bubble of Port Talbot, and heard about the Theatr na nÓg Ambassadors scheme through Daisy, one of the other Young Ambassadors. I went along to a meeting one day where I met Geinor and a couple of other Ambassadors. Not only did they feed me and supply me with lots of tea and coffee, but they were so friendly and welcoming. It was a really relaxed and informal day, where we all got to know one another and discussed what our aims were for the future (scary…) It was so reassuring to be chatting to people who were in a similar position as myself, and we were all split up in to groups and had to form our own unique theatre company and ‘pitch’ it to everyone else. I came away from that day with a real sense of ‘I can.’ They took away that post graduation panic and replaced it with a supportive hub with plenty of upcoming opportunities.

From there, I went along to some of the rehearsals for TOM, which was really interesting. Especially as an actor, walking in to a dress rehearsal with a room full of so much talent, I felt like a child in a sweet shop. It was incredible to see the show go from a rehearsal room to the stage at the Welsh Millennium Centre, and to see how much work goes on behind the scenes.

I had loads of fun representing Theatr na nÓg at the show in Cardiff (we had t-shirts and everything.) We mingled and chatted with the audience before and after the show, and there was just a real sense of community from everyone.

Alongside the work I’ve been doing with na nÓg, I also participated in the Young Artist Festival at The Other Room theatre this summer in Cardiff and I am also an usher there. I’m a bit of a geek and you can usually find me with my head in a play, so of course I’m in my element there.

I’m also currently on tour with a new one woman show called ‘Greville’s Whore’ and am playing Lady Emma Hamilton before she met Horatio Nelson. I’m having such a brilliant time on this production and I learn something new every time I do a show!

Okay, enough about me… Theatr na nÓg have a lot of exciting stuff coming up, with lots of practical opportunities for Ambassadors such as directing, acting and stage managing. I’m really excited to be involved with their upcoming projects, and YOU should be too!

Watch this space!


Dan Lloyd dips his toe into the world of Directing...


Admit it.

You jumped.

Don’t be scared It’s just me… Dan Lloyd.
I’m the Assistant Director on the spectacularly spooky story ‘The Ghost of Morfa Colliery’ which is currently playing a sold out run to schools audiences in the Dylan Thomas Theatre on the Swansea waterfront.

It’s the story of the Morfa Colliery mining disaster which tragically claimed the lives of 87 people at the end of the 19th Century.
At the time some spooked-out survivors say they saw the ghosts of dead miners walking the tunnels of the mine… that strange things were seen and heard in the run up to the explosion… and that the ghosts and apparitions served as a warning for terrible things to come…

A little bit about my background with Theatr na nÓg…

I am a Welsh actor musician with 13 years experience working in the industry.

13. Spooky.

In that time I have worked in theatre, film, TV, radio and on the West End stage in a variety of shows from straight plays to actor-muso musicals and most stuff in between.
At the end of my training at East 15 acting school I was handed a casting breakdown for an actor musician show called ‘The Princess & The Hunter’ which was to tour theatres in the UK in 2004 for the Neath based company Theatr na nÓg.
I applied for the job and was invited to audition for Artistic Director Geinor Styles shortly afterwards.
Little did I know that this audition was to change the course of my career forever!

I have been fortunate to work on several shows as an actor for Theatr na nÓg and have always enjoyed the open and collaborative feel of their rehearsal room. I quickly learned of their integrity, drive and commitment to create work of the highest possible quality for audiences young and old alike - as well as being one of the most fun environments to work in! So much so I plucked up the courage at the end of the Tom Musical tour earlier this year to ask Geinor if I could assist her.

She said yes.


Now I always wanted to dip my toe into the world of directing and I’m so grateful that Geinor at Theatr na nÓg have given me the opportunity to see what she does and how she does it and to explore my own ideas when it comes to creating a show.

Geinor and I have always got on and straight away I felt I could voice my opinions and ideas (good and bad and really, really bad) during this process.
We laughed a lot along the way too.
I’m told the average adult laughs 17 times a day… We have 18 before lunch!
However creating a show like this takes a lot of hard work, dedication and focus. It has been fascinating to see all the pieces of the puzzle come together to create a truly wonderful imaginative experience.
The process has been a real learning curve for me. From giving notes to actors (eek!) to attending production meetings. From visiting set builds to plotting lights. It’s an access all areas pass for me to learn and absorb as much as I can about the process of putting on a show. I’ve relished every moment of it.

We use illusion, misdirection, sleight of hand, spooky sounds, light and the mystical magic of theatre to tell the tragic story of the real Welsh people who lived and worked at that time. This is a really technical show and I’ve loved exploring how we would create the magic moments… from the execution of the illusions themselves to the canny lighting and the musical choices that support every theatrical moment.

The actors are superb and the stage management are amazing. Both are totally dedicated to creating the world of our play and telling the story. A real collaborative experience where everyone is committed to creating a brilliant show for our audience.
Our composer Jac, our lighting designer Elanor and our designer Kitty have all pulled together and created a vivid and atmospheric world for our story to inhabit. Exploring all the choices with them has been very satisfying and all have been very generous with me as I try and learn as much as I can along the way.

As I write this I can hear the shrieks, screams and nervous laughs of our 3rd audience ringing over the backstage tannoy.

It all works a treat and their joyful response is what it is all about.

I have soaked it all up and feel really inspired to explore my further potential as an actor and who knows?… maybe one day a director too.

Long live Theatr na nÓg!


Profiad Ani o'i hamser gyda Theatr na nÓg

Dechreuodd yr ‘Ambassador’s Scheme’ ym mis Orffennaf i roi cyfleoedd i bobl ifanc, yn enwedig graddegion i gael profiad gwaith ar cynhyrchiadau Theatr na nÓg. Mae’r cwmni yn agored i osod unigolion yn y meusydd sbesifig y maent efo diddordeb ynddo. ‘Dwi newydd graddio o’r cwrs Theatr & Drama (trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg) ym Mhrifysgol De Cymru ac yn gweithio tuag at gyrfa fel Rheolwr Llwyfan. Rwy wedi bod yn lwcus iawn i allu neud lot o brofiad gwaith cyn prifysgol ac yn ystod astudio a nawr fel graddegwr rwy’n gallu ffocysu mwy ar y sgiliau hanfodol i mi tra hefyd yn creu cysylltiadau ac felly mae’r hyfforddiant yma yn gret i bobl fel fi.

Lawnsiodd y ‘Llysgenhadon’ eleni yn ystod y perfformiadau o “TOM A Story of Tom Jones - A Musical” ond des i mewn ym mis Orffennaf ar ddechrau’r cynhyrchiad ‘Anturiaethau Anhygoel Wallace & Bates’ ag oedd yn rhedeg dros pedwar wythnos mewn 3 wahanol lleoliad. Gyda phob lleoliad roedd newid yn y gynulleidfaoedd ag oedd yn mynychu’r perfformiadau. Dechreuodd y rhediad gyda perfformiadau ysgol yn yr amgueddfa, wedyn perfformiadau cyhoeddus yn theatr yr amgueddfa gan orffen yn y Cwt Drama yn yr Eisteddfod.

Roedd y perfformiadau cyntaf i ysgolion yn cymryd lle wrth y ‘Clore Discovery Centre’ ddim yn bell o’r arddangosfa newydd ‘Wriggle’. Oherwydd yr arddangosfa cyfagos, sydd yn dangos gwybodaeth ac arddangosfeudd rhyngweithiol, roedd yn cydberthyniad addas i’r perfformiad a fu’r ysgolion gan amlaf yn mynd yna cyn neu ar ôl gwylio’r sioe. Gan fod mwy o ffocws ar yr addysg roedd gosod y perfformiad ar gefn ystafell llawn casgliadau anifeiliaid a pryfed yn pwysleisio themau gwyddonol y darn yn fwy.

Symudodd y sioe wedyn i’r Theatr Reardon Smith, wrth ochr yr amgueddfa. Dyma awditorium crand, traddodiadol ac felly roedd mwy o deimlad o sioe nodweddiadol. Roedd goleuadau mwy soffistigedig a doedd dim angen y speakers ar y llwyfan gan fod y sain yn dod o llefydd penodedig yn yr awditorium. Effeithiodd newid y lleoliad ar yr actorion yn bennaf - Tom Blumberg a Tom Gwynfryn Evans gan fod y ffocws yn wahanol ac felly roedd y perfformiad iddyn nhw yn teimlad hollol newydd a roedd y newidiadau yn amlwg gan fod ofyn i’r bechgyn codi eu lleisiau a gwthio eu symudiadau er mwyn cyrraedd y cynulleidfa ag oedd yn bellach na’r perfformiadau ysgol.

Ar ddiwedd y perfformiad roedd alldaith i’r Cae Trefol (Urban Meadow) i chwilota am pryfed, planhigion a blodau gyda chwyddwydrau. Gweithiodd hwn yn wahanol gyda’r ysgolion nag yn y perfformiadau teulu cyhoeddus. Gyda’r ysgolion roedd mwy o waith gyda ni yr ‘aelodau cast’ i wneud er mwyn hybu’r plant i chwilota am pryfed a phlanhigion ac edrych am yr enwau gwyddonol yn y llyfrau a ddosbarthwyd gan yr amgueddfa. Y gwahaniaeth gyda’r teuluoedd yw fod llai o blant i bob oedolyn a fu’r rhieni yn mwynhau hybu’r plant tra’n ymuno mewn i cyffro yr alldaith.

Daeth y cynhyrchiad i ben yn ystod yr Eisteddfod yn Y Fenni. Yn y ddau lleoliad arall roedd diwrnod i ymarfer cyn agor i’r cyhoedd ond yn y Cwt Drama, gan fod gymaint yn digwydd bob dydd, roedd rhaid gosod y set awr cyn y perfformiad a’i symud allan yn syth ar ôl pob perfformiad. Mae bwrlwm Eisteddfodol yn meddwl fod y gwaith gosod a’r teithio yn gyffrous yn hytrach na blinedig. Doedd dim modd symyd y cae trefol o Gaerdydd i’r Eisteddfod wrth gwrs ond roedd Cae’r Castell ar y maes cyfagos i’r Cwt Ddrama. I ni, roedd y cae yn hollol newydd, a felly roedd pob darganfyddiad yr un mor cyffrous i ni na’r gynulleidfa! Gwelom sioncyn y gwair, brogaod & gwair gwahanol, diddorol. Yn anffodus, doedd yr enwau ddim gyda ni, ond yn hytrach, cynnigom i’r plant ddisgrifio nodweddion y phlanhigion/phryfed er mwyn edrych ar-lein am eu enwau yn lle a annog y plant i feddwl am pethau tebyg.



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