Liz Pearce, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Rareseed Theatre, has premiered two new plays, Mapped and Tents, in Abergavenny at the Melville Centre. Liz has written and is co-directing both plays, based on material generated by the members of the Rareseed Theatre Company, through workshops and rehearsal.
Liz sais, “Work on Mapped actually began in the summer term last year, where we worked with our older members to explore their experience of education in the 21st century. A number of stories emerged through improvisation, and I developed a clear focus on two main characters: a mature teacher who was on the brink of retirement and a young boy who abandons the arts in favour of pursuing a career in Dentistry. The contrast between these two stories created an interesting framework to explore the changing face of education as it is being experienced by young people today here in Wales.”
She created Rareseed in 2012 in partnership with John Lovat to provide an opportunity for young people to use drama and the performing arts to give voice to their thoughts and feelings about contemporary issues. “I felt there was room for work which was inclusive and which was original. I believe that young people have a lot to say and that the theatre can provide an ideal platform for them to express ideas, develop performance skills and create original and well-crafted new work,” she added.
Mapped also includes original music which has been composed by Tomos Jones, a longstanding member of Rareseed, who has recently returned from a trip to Patagonia with the choir Only Boys Aloud. Tomos is taking a gap year working at Crickhowell High School before embarking on a new course of study at a conservatoire in September.
The second play is Tents, and this piece takes as its theme the displacement of populations persecuted by war. The performers are only 11 – 13 years old but they have, like the older members of the company, worked through improvisation and rehearsal to generate a style of performance that explores the difference between those forced to move and those whose lives are, for now, secure.
“The sensitivity of the members of Rareseed’s younger group – the Seeds, has been remarkable in the process of developing the piece’, says Liz. ‘They have worked tirelessly to refine their performances, to tell the story of a group of young Welsh children who have agreed to camp out for a week, without their usual comforts (i.e. mobile phones!), to raise money for a charity supporting refugees. They use drama and movement to movingly create two very different worlds that dramatically highlight the plight of those forced to flee, raising serious questions about our own response to the refugee crisis.”
Rareseed Theatre began with a season of plays by Charles Way at the Borough Theatre and, most recently, performing classic and contemporary work at The Melville Centre, Pen-y-Pound, where the company meets twice a week to rehearse.
“We are always on the lookout for new members for our two groups – the Seeds (10 yrs to 13 yrs) and the Shoots (14 yrs plus)” says Liz “and we will be recruiting after half term. Seeds meet on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 8:00pm and Shoots meet on Saturdays from 10:00am to 2:00pm. We work with a range of professional tutors and have some fresh ideas we want to workshop next term, including a Shakespeare, a Farce and, possibly a Classic – with a twist!”