Thania Acarón: When in roam: Cardiff. What does home mean to you?

August 18, 2017 by

Where is that accent from?

I get asked this question a lot – and the answer is usually met with surprise. I say “Puerto Rico”, and I quickly clarify: “in the Caribbean, two islands right of Cuba” (sometimes it gets confused with Costa Rica). Inevitably more questions follow, which I am usually happy to answer. For some people, I am the first Puerto Rican they meet, despite the song “Despacito”, Ricky Martin and J-Lo being pop culture points of reference. Eventually the next question follows – “What are you doing in Wales?”

I am an artist roamer:  Wales is the fifth country I have lived in. I roamed from Puerto Rico to New York (lived 8 eight years and acquired accent), then Buenos Aires (2 years – no new accent but new Spanish words), then came to Scotland for my PhD (6 years, no accent but new Scottish words). In 2016, I got offered a gig as a part-time lecturer at UWTSD in Swansea, and moved to South Wales (accent change still to be seen). This last move was very difficult; I was excited about Wales, yet the hellos and goodbyes were laden with a cynical jadedness I had been trying to avoid. I never set out to live in so many places, yet here I am – quickly adapting to language, cultural references, unspoken norms, and trying to determine if I can make this new space one where I feel I belong; where I can (crossing fingers) feel at home.


Milne Poster Pic


Two years ago, before Brexit and Trump, while having coffee with music composer Ross Whyte, it dawned on me that most artists experience this roaming life – following the gig, the opportunity, the new start somewhere, the promise of making work and persisting on doing what we love. There, in between new spaces, moving boxes and the difficulty of saying goodbye, I sat down and feverishly wrote a spoken word piece called ‘Uprooted’, and the seed of our new project, when in roam, was born. The process has culminated in a poignant and humour-filled project that involves aerial, contemporary dance, spoken word and original music composition. With much effort and determination, we are independently putting this project up as a free performance 26th August, 4pm at NoFit State Circus Four Elms, featuring Wales-based performer June Campbell-Davis, aerialist and contemporary performer Juan Leiba who owns his own aerial company in Madrid (VUELA), alongside myself.

I have worked with Orphaned Limbs Collective for four years, and our conglomeration of 4 different stories about home avalanched into a research and development period in 2016. We roamed 8 sites, usually creating work in non-traditional spaces – from 15th century Kirk of St. Nicholas in Aberdeen, circus space Aerial Edge in Glasgow, the International Dance Festival in Puerto Rico, to name a few*. In some sites, we led arts workshops on home and belonging, and collaborated with visual artists and art therapists to complement our performing arts focus.

Our most recent performance after the festival was in my hometown Mayagüez. There when in roam took on a new deeper meaning, as I experienced how difficult it was to say my story in front of my grandparents and people who saw me grow up. It was then I decided that the project needed to continue on to Wales, and we should perform in my new hometown Cardiff.

As a roamer, with my own funky accent, I am always fighting for, running from and yearning for home. With this project, we then ask: What does home mean to you?


*If you are interested in reading about our process in each unique site, please visit our website:


When in roam: Cardiff

An aerial and multi-arts performance on home and belonging

NoFit State, Saturday 26 August, 4pm. Free

Eventbrite Link:


Photo credit: Jennie Milne.


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