Wales Arts International, the International arm of the Arts Council of Wales, has organised the first formal cultural delegation from Wales to China as part of a Welsh Government Trade Mission led by Ken Skates AM, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure. The group arrived in Shanghai on Saturday 18 February and will travel to Beijing and Hong Kong during the week. The aim of the mission is to enable new work, partnerships, learning opportunities and an exchange of exhibitions and performances between the two countries.
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is delighted that the playwright Wyn Mason will be representing the company during the visit. Wyn is the author of Rhith Gân, a play based on the album Y Bardd Anfarwol (The Eternal Poet) by Gareth Bonello, which he wrote in Chengdu. The main character of Rhith Gân is Li Bai, an 8th century poet from China. The play follows his imaginary interactions with a contemporary Welsh family.
Rhith Gân won for Wyn Mason the Drama Medal at the Meifod National Eisteddfod in 2015, and was staged to huge acclaim at the 2016 Monmouth National Eisteddfod by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, in partnership with the National Eisteddfod. The play has since been nominated for several awards at the Wales Theatre Awards (Best Playwright, Wyn Mason / Best Sound, Gareth Bonello / Best Actor in a Welsh-language production, Rhodri Evan). The awards ceremony takes place on Saturday 25 February at Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea. Should Wyn win an award, he will be unable to accept it in person as he will be on his homeward journey around the same time!
Wyn is travelling with Wales Arts International to seek creative partnerships that may be interested in working with him to develop this work further. He will also explore ways of combining Traditional Chinese Opera with Western Theatre conventions.
Wyn and his fellow delegates will visit the following: China Shanghai International Arts Festival; Shanghai Symphony Orchestra; Shanghai Conservatory of Music; Shanghai Theatre Academy; Shanghai Literary Festival; Shanghai Media Group; National Centre for the Performing Arts Centre in Beijing; National Library of China; Bookworm; Tianqiao Centre for Performing Arts; Hong Kong Arts Festival; Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The Cultural delegation of the Welsh Government Trade mission:
Mr Michael Garvey, BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Ms Clare Williams, Hijinx
Ms Maggie James, Open Books
Ms Michelle Cawardine-Palmer, National Theatre Wales
Ms Julia Booker, Julia Booker Paintings
Mr Peryn Clement-Evans, Ensemble Cymru
Mr Wyn Mason, on behalf of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru
Ms Colette Ellis, Flying Viper Illustrations
Mr Peter Owen, Welsh Government
Ms Eluned Hâf, Wales Arts International
Ms Elen Roberts, Wales Arts International
The trade mission starts in Shanghai, before dividing into two groups to visit Beijing and Hong Kong.