News 13/11/2023

BSL and Welsh interweave to enchant young audiences’ imagination in Swyn

Image of Krystal S Lowe, Sarah Adedeji and Aisha-May Hunte in rehearsals. Krystal is a black woman with short afro hair. She is wearing a white sweater. Sarah is a black woman with long, braided brown hair. She wears a black sweater with an illustration of a teddy on the front. Aisha is a mixed race young person with long brown hair. They are wearing a white top and white tracksuit pants. The three of them are holding bird shaped patterned objects up into their air and looking up at them smiling.

This winter, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru will entertain children across Wales with Swyn, a wonderful, wintery bilingual tale in BSL and Welsh. Filled with charm, magic and dance, this adaptation of Krystal S Lowe’s Whimsy is directed by Rhian Blythe.

Krystal S Lowe herself stars as the titular Swyn, a young girl who goes on an adventure through nature. A familiar face to Welsh audiences as a dancer and artist, she will also coreograph the production. Two narrators will star alongside Krystal to tell Swyn’s story through BSL and the Welsh lanugage. Deaf dancer and poet Sarah Adedeji will narrate the story through BSL, and actor Aisha-May Hunte will appear as the Welsh language narrator. The cast will bring all the animals and cheeky characters from Swyn’s world to life through dance, theatre, and storytelling.

As she gets ready to bring Swyn to the stage, Krystal S Lowe says:

“Swyn has been with me for 10 years, and each and every year I have grown to love her more. It feels incredible to have the opportunity to take the next step in her journey through this wintery wonderland. I'm so thankful that Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru have treated both me and Swyn with care throughout this entire process. I can't wait for you all to adventure with her!”

A graphic introducing the cast of Swyn. From right to left, Krystal S Lowe's headshot. Krystal is a black woman with short afro hair, she is smiling. Next to hers is Sarah Adedeji's headshot. Sarah is a young black woman with long, red braided hair. Next to her is Aisha-May's headshot. They are a young person with long dark hair.

Rhian Blythe leads the way as Director. As an actress, Rhian was one of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s core actors when the company was established in 2003. Recently, she has joined the company as Associate Director and this is the first production for her to direct within her new role.

An incredible creative team will bring Swyn’s magical world to life. Stella-Jane Odoemelam is designing the set and costumes, breathing life into the animals who form part of Swyn’s story and bringing the magic of winter to the stage, alongside Lighting Designer Elanor Higgins. Kizzy Crawford also joins the team, composing original music for the show.

Supporting Sarah to develop the BSL language elements of the production, we’re thrilled to welcome Steph Bailey-Scott from Taking Flight Theatre Company to the team as our BSL Advisor as well as a team of BSL interpreters: Nez Parr, Zoe Bevan, Claire Anderson, Samantha Hopkins, Rachel Jones, Simon Johanson and Hannah Wilson.

A graphic with headshots of the creative team. From left to right: Rhian Blythe, Director. Rhian is a white woman in her thirties with strawberry blonde hair. Kizzy Crawford, Composer. Kizzy is a black woman with afro hair, tied up into a bun at the top of her head. Elanor Higgins, Lighting Designer. Elanor is a white woman with bright red hair. She wears dark rimmed glasses. Stella Jane Odoemelam, Set and Costume Designer. Stella is a black woman with brown eyes and long, dark hair.

With the team in their final week of rehearsals, Rhian Blythe says:

“Discovery and play: in my eyes this is the essence of the rehearsal process. Children are masters at this, of course; pushing and questioning. What an honour it is then to have the opportunity to make theatre for these curious young minds. My hope is that the show will spark their imaginations, and challenge them to never stop playing and discovering.”

Swyn tells the story of a young girl who goes on an adventure through nature and meets different animals along the way. After the success of the original book, the first stage adaptation of Whimsy was presented in 2019, and the first bilingual stage adaptation in BSL and Welsh toured in 2022. It’s a pleasure to bring this special story to young audiences across Wales in a new wintery adaptation by Krystal S Lowe and translated to Welsh by Melangell Dolma, who has also worked with Krystal as a Dramaturg on this project.

Image of Rhian Blythe in rehearsals. Rhian is a white woman in her forties. She has strawberry blonde hair tied back into a ponytail. She is wearing a black and white striped jumper.

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is proud to present exciting productions to children in Wales, and Artistic Director Steffan Donnelly says:

“Since reading it for the first time, Swyn’s wonderful story has captured all of our hearts – it’s an honour to present this new wintery version to young audiences across Wales with Krystal. We’re passionate about sharing new stories, and platforming voices that are not heard often enough on stage. I can’t wait for Swyn’s story to enchant children across Wales and to welcome them into Swyn’s world in this incredible show interweaving BSL and the Welsh language.”

As well as this special show for children, Krystal and Sian Elin Williams, the company’s Participation Coordinator, have been hosting dance and drama workshops in schools across Wales. Over two weeks in October, both travelled to 9 schools, bringing Swyn’s story and messages of self-love and positivity to more than 300 children.

For more information on the tour and to book your tickets, click here.

For press enquiries, contact Elin Cain, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s Marketing and Communications Officer: | +44 (0)7903 842 617