Avant Cymru are producing a brand-new piece of Welsh Hip Hop Theatre – Blue Scar– at Park & Dare Theatre, Treorchy on 12thand 13thJuly 2018, 7:30pm. Blue Scaris a Hip Hop dance tale from the proud past of the South Wales Valleys, developed by professional Hip Hop dancers through two stages of research and development and supported by Arts Council of Wales, RCT Theatres and Creu Cymru.
The cast is made up of three professional international dancers, including Artistic Director Rachel Pedley, and BBoys Tommy Boost and BBoy Flexton, each specialising in their own style of dance. This is a new concept production where Hip Hop shares the stories of the Valleys through Breakin’, Lockin’, and Poppin’. The show includes brand new and original Hip Hop music influenced by Welsh folk, and has been developed in collaboration with Welsh music producer Jamie P, violinist Angharad Jenkins and Beat Technique.
The stories inspiring the performance have come directly from the Rhondda community – Avant Cymrugathered local stories and discovered what residents used to do as children (playing on the mountainside, on gambos, picking berries, playfighting etc.), and sometimes they would fall onto the dust covered mountains, creating a Blue Scar, the mark to be proud of, the mark of the Valleys.
On top of the production, Avant Cymru are working with over 100 young people to give them a taste of Welsh Hip Hop, as well as giving them a platform to perform. Avant Cymru have run taster workshops with Gartholwg Lifelong Learning Centre Stage School, Maerdy Arts and Music, and Cwm Parc Youth Group, all supported by Groundworks UK and Santander. Groups from Afon Community Dance, Dimensions Dance Academy, CAST Stage School Merthyr, Powys Dance and Stan Blake have all been creating their own work inspired by the local stories and will be performing these on the nights of the performances.
Artistic Director of Avant Cymru, Rachel Pedley, “This project has been shaped from real stories going as far back as the 1970s, and through dancing with young people today. When people come to see it, they can expect to see a real heart-warming tale – a professional production with a community spirit. I know there’ll be people who haven’t seen this kind of work before, so what a great chance to come and see something new! A real energetic night showcasing exciting local talent.”
Avant Cymru recently completed a National Theatre Wales Professional Development Lab, working with Welsh Hip Hop artists to explore what Welsh Hip Hop Theatre is, and what it can be – this inspired the performance of People, Picture, Power, Perceptionat Chapter Arts Centre as part of this year’s Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival. See the reviews hereand here.
Avant Cymru will also be attending Catch the Flava Festival in Poland, and Outbreak Festival in Slovakia, before performing Blue Scarat C Venues – C (Venue 34) at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 1st-27th August.