Idea Development Bursary

The Idea Development Bursary is a new scheme that gives artists identifying with specific characteristics that have been under-represented in our work, an opportunity to start developing an idea for a new play or theatre production with the support of the company. This scheme will help the company get to know people, to provide opportunities for artists who are new to the company, and to better represent Wales’s diverse communities in our work.

Mared Jarman

As part of this bursary, Mared will be working on a tragic comedy about the relationship between two best friends who are trying to discover and understand their identity as young disabled people in a world that idolizes and prioritizes the mainstream. Mared Jarman is an actor and writer from Cardiff. She will be graduating this year from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with an MA in acting. She received a scholarship and support from the Prince of Wales Trust. Mared is a founder member of UCAN Productions, an arts company that has won several awards for their theatre work with children and young people with vision impairment. When she was ten years old, Mared was given a diagnosis of the condition Stargadt’s. As an artist and writer, she strives to ‘normalise’ disability within our society and to provide a platform for those lost voices that deserve to be heard. Her work for theatre includes: Double Vision (Gagglebabble in partnership with Wales Millennium Centre for the Festival of Voice 2018); Theatr Unnos (Neontopia and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru for the National Eisteddfod of Wales 2018); Bachu (Melangell Dolma, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Theatr Clwyd, in partnership with the National Eisteddfod of Wales and the Wales Millennium Centre). Recently she has appeared in a short film, Cardiff, I Love You with the BBC and Ffilm Cymru Wales, and currently she is filming Yr Amgueddfa, a new series by Fflur Dafydd and BOOM Cymru, for S4C.

Bev Lennon

As part of this bursary, Bev is working on a play about an interracial couple and their soul-searching regarding relationships, race and identity. Bev Lennon was brought up in London as part of a Caribbean family. She spent some time as a comedy performer, and in 1987 she moved to Barry where she learnt to speak Welsh. She was a Welsh learner on Catchphrase (BBC Radio Wales) before having her own show, Bev (BBC Radio Cymru). She became a Welsh teacher and Equalities Officer in 1997. Her written work includes a television comedy sketch for The Real McCoy (BBC), and a poem ‘The Consultation’ in the book Allan o’r Golwg (Disability Arts Cymru). She was made a member of the Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 2019. In 2020, she benefitted from Literature Wales’s Support Fund to help her to continue writing her book. She hopes to develop her work as a scriptwriter.

Ifan Pleming

As part of this bursary, Ifan is working on a piece that looks at disability in a lighthearted and satirical manner reflecting the way in which he, as a disabled person, looks at the stereotyping occurring in our society in relation to disabilities. Having been educated at Ysgol Pentreuchaf, Ysgol Glan y Môr, Pwllheli, and Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, Ifan moved to Cardiff in 2005 to study Welsh and Law, before graduating with an MA in Creative Writing. For many years he was a member of the Aberhafren team on Talwrn y Beirdd. He has been successful in local eisteddfodau and at the Urdd National Eisteddfod, including winning the Jennie Eirian Award, and won the Crown at the Inter-Collegiate Eisteddfod. He is currently living back in Llithfaen, the village in which he was born, and working as a translator for the Welsh Government.

Emma Daman Thomas

As part of this bursary, Emma will be developing a new work for performance connecting music, language and diasporic experience. Emma Daman Thomas is a multi-disciplinary artist and performer based in Radnorshire. She’s a founding member of collaborative band Islet, where she sings and plays various instruments and whose third album Eyelet came out in 2020 on Fire Records. Previous theatre work includes as an actor musician in NTW’s Candylion (2015) and Be Aware Productions Enough Is Enough (2016); and research for NTW’s Sisters (2017), which explored the identities and experiences of South Asian women in India and Wales. Current projects include a new experimental music composition supported by Tŷ Cerdd and music for visual artist Freya Dooley’s Jerwood Arts exhibition. Emma also creates artwork for music and her visual practice runs alongside and into her music, sound and performance work. She is currently learning how to speak Welsh and how to play the harp.

Kallum Weyman

As part of this bursary, Kallum is working on a nightmarish, existential, post-apocalyptic play. Kallum Weyman is a non-binary, autistic playwright and director. They are currently studying at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David for a Masters through the medium of Welsh in directing for theatre. Kallum wrote their recent play Train Track Issues over the past year as part of The Other Room’s Emerging Writers Scheme. As Welsh is Kallum’s second language, they are looking forward to improving their writing skills in Welsh. They enjoy working in all creative media and seek to write completely different pieces for every project in which they are involved.

Dr Sara Louise Wheeler

As part of this bursary, Sara is working on a Bildungsroman opera called ‘Y Dywysoges Arian’ (The Silver Princess) about a character named Glesni, who is learning to live in her skin as it transforms, as everything changes, and as she falls between two worlds: the hearing world and the Deaf world. Dr Sara Louise Wheeler has Waardenburg Syndrome Type 1, a rare genetic condition which affects her physical appearance and her hearing. Sara is currently exploring her embodied experiences and the associated social, political and medical implications, using a variety of scholarly and creative mediums, including poetry, belles lettres and artwork. Her current research includes studying cynghanedd and sign language poetry – both of which will feature in ‘Y Dywysoges Arian’. In 2020, Sara established Gwasg y Gororau and published her first volume of poetry Rwdlan a Bwhwman, which is now available to download for free from the Gwasg y Gororau website.

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Artist and Community Bursary

We have 5 Artist and Community Bursaries to artists to enable them to work creatively with a specific community – be that a geographical, professional, online or shared identity community – and give people in that community the opportunity to experience the transformative impact of creativity on their lives. This community work will different forms – conversations with community members about theatre and the arts, share skills with the community or begin to research a creative idea with a community.

More information about the artists awarded our Artist and Community Bursaries is available below:

Caitlin Lavagna

As part of this bursary, Caitlin will be working on a verbatim theatre production based on the Aberfan Disaster, representing the voices of a particular Welsh community and using music to attempt to heal a working-class community that has experienced trauma.

Caitlin is an exciting new actor-musician graduate from Rose Bruford College. She is 24 years old and from Porth in the Rhondda Valley. Her training has allowed her to develop her craft not only as an actor-musician but also as a well-rounded theatre maker and collaborative artist. Caitlin is a talented vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, and composing and creating music is at the heart of her work. Caitlin is excited to delve into writing her first actor-muso post-grad production, with the support of Theatr Gen furthering her passion for creating theatrical work rooted in community.

Wyn Mason

As part of this bursary, Wyn intends to develop a play around the experience of stammering, written specifically for performers who have a stammer.

Wyn is from a film and TV background. In 2012/13 he undertook a year-long theatre director training course, which was run by Sherman Theatre, Living Pictures and Theatr Gen. The course inspired him to write his first stage play, Rhith Gân, which won the Drama Medal at the 2015 National Eisteddfod. Since then he has completed a Creative Writing PhD, was selected to be a Writer-in-Residence at Theatr Clwyd, and has established a new writing theatre company (Os Nad Nawr) with Branwen Davies. This summer his play, Gwlad yr Asyn, will tour Wales in a co-production with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.

Rufus Mufasa

Ancient women’s stories were hijacked, theatrical frameworks made masculine, and here we’ll explore reconstructing this by honouring matriarchal frameworks working frontline in the pandemic and the faith and friendships we found.

Rufus Mufasa is a pioneering participatory artist, literary activist, poet, rapper, singer-songwriter, theatre maker, and last but not least, a mother. From Barbican Fellow to the first Future Generations Act Poet in Residence, Rufus also works internationally, securing literary residencies ranging from the Hay Literature Festival to Sweden, Finland, Indonesia, and most recently Zimbabwe, but always returns to People Speak Up in Llanelli, promoting hip hop education, performance poetry and intergenerational development and has recently been appointed their Poet on Prescription. Rufus was a Hull ’19 artist in conjunction with BBC Contains Strong Language, and her book Flashbacks and Flowers is due to drop, with her second album also on the way.  Rufus’s work explores motherhood, the spirituality of ancestry, class, climate chaos, feminism and faith, and transgenerational or trapped trauma.

Elis Pari

As part of this bursary, Elis will be developing a journey around Bodnithoedd, his grandparents’ farm,  recounting their tales, their way of life and their commitment to the neighbourhood.

Elis was brought up on a farm in north-west Wales. He spent three years in Cardiff studying Theatre and Drama at the University of South Wales, and is currently living at home whilst studying for a Masters degree through Research (Drama). As part of his studies, Elis is looking into the possibilities of using the arts to get to grips with the decline in mental wellbeing amongst the farming communities in rural Wales.

Lis Parsons

The basis for Lis’s project was thinking of the similarity between the “Welsh Not” and behavioural methods that are used today to force autistic children to act as if they are ‘normal’. As part of this bursary,  Lis is working with autistic adults to create stories about their identity from their own  perspective, in ways and means that are suitable for all.

Lis Parsons is an autistic and non-binary storyteller. They graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Swansea University. They are a teacher, following in the footsteps of their mother and grandmother: two strong, intelligent and stubborn women. Their father and two grandfathers were mild-mannered keen gardeners, the father being an engineer and the grandfathers being coalminers. They were brought up on ancient tales from the four corners of the world, and have created their own tales throughout their life. Having lived in cities in south Wales and the midlands, Lis moved to rural Gwynedd in 2019.