My experience with National Theatre Wales has been inspiring.

July 30, 2020

My experience with National Theatre Wales has been inspiring. All the productions that I have been involved in and all the shows I have seen have made me want to be a better Welsh Artist. Especially at a time when I felt most excluded from the Welsh Art industry. NTW’s programmes opened my eyes and invited me in to a new world of possibilities.

I was first introduced to NTW and the unique way that they were making theatre when they came in to my community looking for local people to get involved in their production, Soul Exchange. I happily got involved, designing the poster and flyers for the show. Seeing Kully Thiarai directing such a big and bold, beautiful production, that was so ambitious. This impressed me, sending me on a journey and inspired me to write the Butetown Rats animation.

When the opportunity arose for me to apply for Artist of the Year I was able to reimagine The Rats as a performance, first being performed as a part of my years’ work as Artist in Residence for NTW. I was then successful in applying for a WalesLab award which gave me the opportunity to work in a short, intense R&D to develop the idea further. This R&D took place in the WMC. On Halloween, 2015, I was also invited to present this piece as part of the Kim Fielding memorial Tactile Bosch exhibition.

This has led to a gradual development in my writing and development as a director. I hadn’t considered working in theatre until my time at NTW but now I realise that I can think of myself as a Writer and Director and not only Graffiti Artist and Animator.

RATS was the first piece I had written and directed that is of significant length. In 2017 I wrote, designed and directed my own self-styled play ”R.A.T.S. rose against the system”. On this project I sourced all my own props, costumes, masks, signs and sculptures and created animations. This was held at the Wales Millennium Centre roof void and was very successful.

My career has been strongly supported by NTW almost nurturing me in to the artist I am today. Working as a design assistant on the productions Praxis Makes Perfect, Silly Kings and Mother Courage, I became an emerging Director for NTW in 2018 and part of the TEAM Panel in 2019.

I have been working with Mike Pearson and Mike Brookes for the last year or so, as NTW emerging Director on Storm 1, 2 and 3. Storm 1, Nothing Remains the Same, was a two night performance that took place in Pafiliwn Bont, Pontrydfendigaid, Ceredigion just outside Aberystwyth.

My role was to shadow the two Mikes whilst they directed, so that I could observe their process. This is not like any traditional theatre I have ever seen or heard of. It has left a definite impression on me with endless possibilities of how I can make my theatre.

Storm 2, Wild Scenes at Cardiff, was an exploration into the 1919 riot reports. With extensive scholarly research Mike has put together a step-by-step transcript of the riots. This information was researched by Mike Pearson for over a year looking at the police records and the local newspapers.

Storm 3. A series of personal reflective soliloquies for eight voices – unfolding a progression of ideas on being, choice and agency inspired by ‘The Ethics of Ambiguity’ by Simone de Beauvoir (1947) – under headings inspired by the words of contemporary politicians, writers, musicians, and dictionary definitions.

This unique experience has given me the confidence to envision my own production of the Storm cycle. NTW has given me the opportunity to realise that imagination. The 1919 Cardiff race riots graphic novel, will come to life for 2020, in Cardiff 1919: Riots Redrawn.

I have learned so much just by shadowing Mike Pearson, Mike Brookes and Julia Thomas. I have to thank NTW for all their support.

Kyle Legall



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