Catching up with new TEAM Panel member, Melys Edwards.
Melys is a bilingual Welsh writer, poet, yoga and meditation instructor based in Wrexham. Currently studying Culture Criticism and Curation at Central Saint Martins UAL, she is interested in how the arts can be used for freeing and empowering the self and the collective.
So, what inspired me to join National Theatre Wales’ TEAM Panel?
You know what, I saw it posted somewhere and I actually hadn’t heard about TEAM before, but I had worked on an artist in residency with National Theatre Wales and I thought “Yeah, OK. Let me apply. Let me see what this is about.” And I’m really, really excited about working with National Theatre Wales on a more personal level because in the past I always saw them as quite a distant thing from myself as a creative and now its actually really, really exciting to have my voice heard. To be able to have an input, you know. I’m really, really excited about that. And I really hope to bring a really, really, really deep level of authenticity and transparency. You know these things are something that I value and I really hold myself accountable for being as real as possible and honest in all levels of communication and in my creative work, just keeping it as honest as I possibly can and talking about trauma, talking about positivity, talking about wellness. Just talking about culture. Just having those type of conversations, challenging the status quo, you know. There’s never ever any point in being passive and the theatre is the perfect place to speak your mind and express yourself, in a creative way though, not in an attacking way, but in a creative way, to portray issues that you want to show to a wider audience, from the community, to the community. And just to celebrate Wales, you know. For too long people have been ashamed of being Welsh and speaking the Welsh language. Actually, it’s about time that we feel such pride, you know.
A few things that I’d like you to know about me are… When I was 21, not long after I turned 21. How long after was it? Really not long, like a week or something. I travelled to LA and… yeah, I just travelled there. I had no game plan, no plan, didn’t know anyone there, nothing. I just travelled there and I only had like 100, 200 dollars with me and that was it, that was it and I was like, yeah, I’ll just go and let’s see what happens. And I was testing myself, like let’s see if I can make it. And I did, actually. I had somewhere to live. I had a job, I had a few jobs. I was sorted out there. I built a life for myself out there. So that’s one thing.
Another thing – I am a fluent Welsh speaker. Dw i’n gallu siarad Cymraeg yn rhugl. Yep, dw i’n caru’r iaith Gymraeg. But, you know, I will admit that actually it took me travelling and then coming back home to Wales to sort of come back home to myself and my Welsh roots.
Another thing – I’m a poet. I’m a yoga instructor. I’m a student a Central St Martin’s. I love physics. And I love nature, you know, and I’ve such a deep, deep, deep appreciation for the Welsh countryside. I often go out and pick a lot of flowers because they’re used in aromatherapy. I understand the healing benefits to all the flowers and dry them out as well. Yeah, dandelions. Dandelions are very, very good for you.
My most memorable theatrical experience has got to be when we went to Theatr Clwyd in primary school and watched something from the Mabinogion. Wow, it was so intense. It was about Llewellyn and the sister and, wow, yeah. There was a murder scene in it and I just remember it, like one of the guys stabbing loads of bags and stuff, and it was really, really intense. I mean, that stayed with me. Yeah, and it was also my first introduction to the Mabinogion too. Pretty cool!