Led by National Theatre Wales and made up of twelve collaborators from Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) in Wales, Collective Cymru have been chosen to direct one of the ten pioneering projects for Festival UK 2022.
Festival UK* 2022, a major UK-wide festival of creativity and innovation, is commissioning ten major public engagement projects designed to reach millions of viewers, bring people together and showcase the UK’s creativity globally. Each project will bring new opportunities for creative people in sectors which have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.
An intensive three-month Research and Development project began in 2020 and led to a rigorous assessment process involving thirty teams from across the UK. Each team received £100,000 to enable them to develop their ideas, with ten being selected following panel presentations in February 2021. The teams came from both the private and public sectors, and included artists, scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians as well as choreographers, coders, game developers, musicians, theatre-makers and writers. The diversity of the project also extended to the backgrounds of those involved, with significant interest from disability organisations and Black, Asian, and minority ethnic creative talent.
Led by National Theatre Wales, Collective Cymru have successfully won their bid to represent Wales in the 2022 festival of creativity. NTW gathered twelve individuals for the Research and Development programme, bringing together local and national organisations. Their creative team consisted of Liara Barussi (Jukebox Collective/Youth Arts Network Cymru), Pauline Burt (Ffilm Cymru), Lorne Campbell (National Theatre Wales), Claire Doherty (National Theatre Wales), Gethin Evans (Frân Wen), Will Humphrey (Sugar Creative), Shirish Kulkarni (Clwstwr), Robin Moore (Clwstwr & Freelance Creative Technologist), Kaite O’Reilly (Disability Arts Cymru), Marc Rees (National Theatre Wales), Owen Sheers (Professor of Creativity, Swansea University) and Rebecca Upton (Centre for Alternative Technology).
“It is a huge privilege to be working with this consortium of Welsh talent that represents the diversity, originality, boldness and generosity of this remarkable nation,” said Lorne Campbell, Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales. “The research and development process has really challenged individual and collective thinking and has driven us to explore doing new things in new ways. We cannot wait to begin to share the project with partners and audiences in Wales, the UK and across the world.”
Created with the people of Wales for a global audience, Collective Cymru will now begin the work to develop their project with Welsh and international partners for next year’s festival, bringing people together and showcasing Welsh strengths in film and TV production, immersive technology, sustainability and live performance.
Over the last twelve months, the arts and culture sector in Wales has faced an existential crisis at the hands of COVID-19. Audiences and communities of Wales have been stripped of opportunities to engage in shared moments of cultural activity and creative expression; these moments have become essential to the mental and emotional resilience and recovery of our nation. Collective Cymru’s project will be an experiment in creativity which they hope will add rocket fuel to the Welsh culture sector which has been so dramatically impacted during the pandemic. The project will bring with it investment, employment and creative development opportunities, along with the chance to platform underrepresented voices and widen opportunities for the people of Wales to engage in shared, connective, creative experiences.
Full details of the festival commissions are being kept under wraps to allow the creative teams to turn their ideas into reality, but projects will take audiences from the land to the sea, air and even outer space, using pioneering technology and the power of the imagination. It has also been revealed that the Well Being Future Generations Act has been the catalyst for the project. The festival programme will be announced, along with a new name, later this year.
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To find out more about Collective Cymru and Festival UK* 22, visit the festival’s website here.
For more information about National Theatre Wales, visit their website and follow @ntwtweets on Twitter and @nationaltheatrewales on Facebook and Instagram.