Following my return from ‘Meet Fred’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I’m exceptionally pleased to now start work with the 2016 Yr Odyn Artist Award scheme at Volcano Theatre Company, alongside Pain In The Arts contemporary theatre company.
Through September, October and into their Novemberfest, Volcano are providing space, mentoring and support for my development of a one-man performance.
Having had my first days at the great Volcano Iceland premises in Swansea, I am particularly enjoying the encouragement to venture into new areas of performance. As such I’m moving away from the type of work I consider that I make, also searching for new tools and collaborations with which to create material.
At these very initial stages the work has a number of themes, firstly looking at entertainment and pleasure, hopefully for the audience; both identifying and celebrating those elements that we might lose from life when life is more difficult. Biographically this also ties in with my previous life of touring in a band, trying to bring that gig energy to a theatrical work. Further to this a slightly more surreal element stemming from there, a connection with parts of the life story of Brian May and some other elements of the band Queen.
The final aspect being explored is love and relationships in the digital age, how we might be coming to view and treat each other as a result.
So at this starting point it’s rather a lot to be approaching. Work has begun by creating small sections of each theme and I’m enjoying the freedom with which I’m permitted to explore and find the thread for the final work. Particularly this opportunity with Yr Odyn has allowed me to start creating a performance of my own without a brief set by another, which turns out to be equally liberating and sometimes daunting.
I much valued attending the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 which I feel has been particularly helpful in the lead up to Yr Odyn. Also to experience the Fringe as a cast member of the wonderful ‘Meet Fred’ by Hijinx Theatre, in association with Blind Summit.
“Meet Fred. He’s just a regular guy who wants to get on in life. He wants a good job and to settle down with a nice girl. The only problem is that Fred is a Puppet, and that’s where his dependency issues start.”
Hijinx Theatre work with actors with and without learning disabilities and is an organisation that has been an incredible support for my development over a number of years, both as a tutor at their Academies and as an artist. Being at the fringe with this company enabled me not only to see a wealth of great theatre but also to be in a work that consistently performed to a sold out theatre and gained many five star reviews.
I was born in Haverfordwest and brought up amongst what was once a very lively pub-band scene in Fishguard, I feel my background has been varied. As a child typically playing in brass bands and singing in choirs, to then playing drums in Pembrokeshire pub bands. This eventually lead to the aforementioned touring with a Derby based band, which we now as ex band mates agree was terribly named ‘Amygdala.’ That said, it was a wonderful few years of recording some great music, having it commercially released and living life on the road as a blindly confident and self-important indie band.
Following the inevitable demise of this cherished band unit, I trained in Drama with a course combining study at ATRiuM and the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. I feel very lucky to now work in many aspects of performance from screen to stage, acting to directing, tutoring and as a visiting professional at drama institutions.
Particularly in recent years I enjoyed large-scale theatre performances with ‘Drumchasers – narrated by Stephen Fry,’ a high energy, percussion musical of actor-dancer-percussionists. In this production I played a lead character, ‘Buddy’ a rather unlikely but hopefully likeable hero. We toured from 2011 both nationally and internationally and even terrifyingly performed on an episode of “BBC Dragons’ Den.” DrumChasers was created by composer and director Ethan Lewis Maltby; with his sweeping cinematic scores it was an exceptional spectacle containing the energy and excitement I would like to bring to my work at Yr Odyn.