I never thought I would ever get a professional job in the arts. It’s one strong glass ceiling to crack and it’s not often that the opportunity comes about.
National Theatre Wales is one of those companies that make magic things happen by believing in people, audiences and the development of young artists. It’s rare to see a National Company be so bold in nurturing and supporting talent. Working with NTW has been an incredible an experience, life changing. It challenged me, gave me space to grow and allowed me to be the best version of myself.
Getting involved with NTW inspired me to move back to Wales – it’s made me realise how much potential Wales has – with our history, talent and incredible landscape. We have a lot to be proud of and NTW is one of those things.
I’ve been on a right journey with NTW I started as a promoter back in 2012 and since then I have worked on many shows such as Branches, Bordergame and Mother Courage. Alongside that I’ve been on fantastic development programs such as Summercamp, residencies and working on projects supported by TEAM. This has been fundamental in my development and has been a clear pathway into professional paid work.
This year is a big year for me – for the first time NTW are working on a large scale production with my company Common Wealth. It’s also the first time in its history that a previous Emerging Director has been given the opportunity to direct in NTW’s main programme. The emerging director role really supported me in more ways than one; witnessing John McGrath direct was an absolute blessing and having a bursary to attend gave me the capacity to commit and not be distracted by other work or financial pressure.
The show I’m working on now is called We’re Still Here it’s been written by the mega talented Rachel Tresize in co-production with NTW. It’s a production that’s inspired by the Save Our Steel campaign that kicked off in 2016. Inspired by the movement and the fight against TATA – we wanted to shine a light on working class history in the making.
We feel truly honoured to be working in a place so full of history, rebellion and passion (literally!) and with a team that is so committed to creating something that is responsive and truly excellent.
I am also a member of TEAM panel and feel buzzing to be part of shaping and supporting the future of NTW. TEAM for me is the richness of NTW – it reaches deep into the heart of places and show’s people that they can. It travels far and wide, connecting voices, sharing common ideas and creating powerful platforms for people to stand up and have their say. In a landscape where the arts are dominated by the white middle classes it feels more important than ever that TEAM exists – to show people that regardless of class and race you can have access to the networks that are most of the time feel out of reach.
What I love most about TEAM is its ambition, its fearlessness and its heart. It continues to dream up big ideas and it feels like whenever we meet as a panel we’re not beating around the bush – we say it as it is and we act on it. Rare that.
I’m proud of National Theatre Wales. I am proud because it believes and works with audiences across Wales with so much love, sensitivity and passion. It truly creates theatre that is for everyone – and what’s more the door is always open and the kettle’s always on.
Here’s a few highlights of my TEAM journey:
Artistic Director Common Wealth