This weekend, the author Anni Llŷn will be holding a workshop on writing for children at the Tŷ Newydd Creative Writing Centre, as part of the Children’s Festival of Welsh History. The festival is a partnership between several bodies: the Urdd; National Library of Wales; Literature Wales; Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Cadw. Twelve young authors will be undertaking the challenge of writing short plays for children, to be staged as part of the 2018 Children’s Festival of Welsh History.
In September 2018, the Children’s Festival of Welsh History will present a series of 12 shows for children based on the history of the Industrial Revolution in Wales – from the copper works on Parys Mountain in Amlwch to slate quarries, coal mines, tinplate works, woollen mills, and the ironworks at Blaenafon. As part of the scheme there will be a focus on the contribution of leading figures such as David Davies, Llandinam, the bicentenary of whose birth will be celebrated in 2018, together with researching the themes of poverty and protest during the period that brought individuals such as Dic Penderyn to the fore.
In accordance with the festival’s practice, shows will be staged at heritage locations that are relevant to the character, the story and the industry in question, and co-operating closely with heritage bodies such as Cadw and the National Museum of Wales.
Over the next few months, the young authors will be receiving specialist training provided by the partners of the scheme. This will include training at the National Library on how to conduct research into a historical topic; a residential course on ‘Writing for children’ at Tŷ Newydd Creative Writing Centre under the auspices of Literature Wales, and a day of discussing scripts and how to turn a story into a drama, arranged by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.
The scripts will be presented at the end of the year.
According to the historian Dr Elin Jones, who is a consultant on the project on behalf of the Children’s Festival of Welsh History:
“Wales was the first industrialised country in the world. But how did that happen in such a small and impoverished country? The history of enterprising and colourful individuals such as Thomas Williams from Anglesey, David Davies from Llandinam and Amy Dillwyn from Swansea form part of the answer. The stories of protestors such as Dic Penderyn from Merthyr and John Frost from Newport will help us to answer another question – what was the effect of all this on the ordinary people of Wales? Talented young authors from Wales will now be given an opportunity to seek answers to these questions – and more, I’m sure. And, following that, the actors of the Children’s Festival of Welsh History will present the short plays to children in Wales – and give them an opportunity to learn more and ask further questions! This is an exciting and enterprising scheme that will bring our history to life for us today.”
Rhian Davies, Executive Producer at Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, said:
“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work in partnership with a variety of different organisations, to develop young theatre writers of the future. We look forward to a period of working closely with the writers, and to see the fruits of their labour in the form of performances across Wales. We hope that this will be the beginning of a long and successful relationship with these authors.”
Gwynfor, who comes from Tonyrefail, is currently studying Spanish and German at the University of Cambridge. He is a prolific writer, and over the years has won several awards for his scripts, short stories and poetry in both free and strict metre. He won the Chair at the Urdd National Eisteddfod in two consecutive years – Flintshire in 2016 and Bridgend in 2017.
Iestyn comes originally from Llannerch-y-medd, Anglesey. He has a keen interest in the theatre, and works in the field as a Drama Tutor and occasional actor. At the Urdd Eisteddfod held in Flintshire in 2016, he won the main award, namely Gwobr Goffa Llew.
Elan Grug Muse
Elan, who was brought up in the shadow of the slate tips of the Nantlle Valley, is now a research student at Swansea University. She won the Chair at the Pembrokeshire Urdd Eisteddfod in 2013, and in May of this year her first volume of poetry, Ar Ddisberod, was published by Cyhoeddiadau Barddas. Poetry and prose are the forms with which Elan is most familiar, and she is looking forward to experimenting in the field of drama by means of this scheme.
Sion is a young actor who comes originally from Penisa’r-waun and now lives in London. He was a member of the cast of Rownd a Rownd for years before deciding to study drama at the Mountview Academy of Theatre and Arts. Currently, he is busy travelling around primary schools in Wales with the company ‘In Character’, portraying the hero Hedd Wyn.
Sian Elin Williams
Sian Elin comes from Llanybydder, near Lampeter, and has a lively interest in the history and characters of her local area. Since childhood, through opportunities she has had with the Urdd and the Young Farmers’ Association, she has taken part in a great many shows and plays. She is studying Drama and Theatre Studies at Aberystwyth University, but currently, for a period of one year, she is being trained in the workplace as a Youth Officer with the Urdd in Ceredigion.
Lois Llywelyn Williams
Lois is a student at Jesus College, Oxford. Having been brought up in Morfa Nefyn, she has an interest in the maritime industry and the slate industry, but she is also keen to extend her experience and knowledge of other areas and industries in Wales. Lois won the Drama Medal at the Urdd Eisteddfod held in Flintshire in 2016.
Mared is a student in her last year at Cardiff University, studying Spanish and French. She comes originally from Lampeter in Ceredigion, and is a regular winner of literary competitions at local eisteddfodau. She won the Crown in two consecutive Inter-Collegiate Eisteddfodau.
Mirain Alaw Jones
Mirain, who is originally from the Llanelli area, studied modules on Scripting and Children’s Literature as part of the First Class Honours Degree in Welsh that she gained from Cardiff University. In 2016, she was selected as one of five young authors to write a play for Theatr y Frân Wen, and her work was performed at Galeri Caernarfon in a Script to Stage evening.
Mari Elen Jones
Mari Elen Jones is from Cwm-y-glo, Gwynedd. She has written a number of scripts, and several of her works have already been performed. She has been a part of various schemes: Sgript i Lwyfan (Frân Wen); Neonsparz (Neontopia); Protest Fudur and Noson Cynhesu’r Tebot (Cwmni Tebot). Mari has never scripted for children, and as a young mother she is looking forward to the opportunity to create a piece of work that her child will be able to enjoy.
Ceris Mair James
Ceris, who comes originally from Newcastle Emlyn, teaches Welsh in Ysgol Gyfun y Strade, Llanelli. She gained a First Class Honours degree in Welsh from Bangor University, and she is a regular competitor and winner of literary competitions at the Young Farmers’ Eisteddfod. Nefoedd yr Adar, her first children’s book, was published by Gomer Press in October 2016.
Mared Llywelyn Williams
Mared, who lives in Pwllheli, studied the Theatre in Education module at Aberystwyth University, and this ignited her interest in the field. Mared is one of the founder members of Cwmni Theatr Tebot – an amateur company that brings together those with an interest in writing, acting and directing. With so many amateur drama companies disappearing from their local area, Mared and her friends felt it was high time for them to create their own company. Mared won the Drama Medal at the 2017 National Urdd Eisteddfod held at Bridgend.
Arddun Rhiannon Arwel
Arddun comes from the village of Dinas, near Caernarfon, and she is about to enter her third year as a student in the Welsh Department, Bangor University. Last year, she was part of the ‘Cer i Greu’ scheme with BBC Cymru and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, which entailed writing a short play for radio. This led to an invitation to Galeri Caernarfon to hear her work being discussed and interpreted by experienced actors and directors. Arddun was runner-up in the Drama Medal competition at this year’s Urdd Eisteddfod held at Bridgend.
Details of the training provided
27 July – How to search
Venue – National Library of Wales
What better place to gain inspiration than amongst the wealth of materials in the National Library? The extensive collection held at the Library is a gateway to the past, but where should we start? This is an opportunity to learn about the various collections, and to be trained on how to conduct research into them. Specialists will be on hand to refer to the sources, including digital resources and on-line access.
9–10 September – Writing for children with Anni Llŷn
Venue – Tŷ Newydd Creative Writing Centre, Llanystumdwy
Writing for children is not as easy as it sounds. You must select your content carefully, plan an effective structure, and be inventive. These are the issues that we will be tackling in the workshops, whilst at the same time having fun experimenting with various tactics to entertain and inspire children, and how to capture their imagination.
14 October – Turning a story into a play
Venue – Y Llwyfan, Carmarthen
A warm welcome is extended to all to Y Llwyfan, Carmarthen, home of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, for a day of discussing scripts and how to turn a story into a play. In a series of workshops, an experienced theatre director will be inspiring authors to create exciting scripts for the theatre.
For further details, please contact Eleri Twynog, Director of the Children’s Festival of Welsh History: