About the show
Online & Cardiff
Cardiff 1919: Riots Redrawn
National Theatre Wales
Cardiff 1919: Riots Redrawn
Online & Cardiff
Created by Kyle Legall
On 11 June 1919, Cardiff was plunged into four days and nights of violence that left three dead, and buildings wrecked and burnt. The Western Mail of the time called it ‘An amazing orgy of pistol firing, window smashing, and skirmishes between white men and coloured men’.
But we all know that there are so many different stories behind what’s reported in the news.
Cardiff 1919: Riots Redrawn is a digital graphic novel by Butetown Artist Kyle Legall. It is an evocative digital experience that combines spoken text and illustration to conjure up the atmosphere, people and places involved in a shocking moment of racial conflict and violence on the streets of Cardiff. Pieced together from reports in local newspapers, Kyle’s drawings also draw from the accounts and stories passed down the generations of a moment of trauma that left an indelible mark on the Butetown community. Combined with a soundscape by Chris Jenkins and voice overs by Ali Goolyad and Mike Pearson, this vivid, visual day by day, hour by hour account follows the dynamic ebb and flow of the riots, immersing you in the visceral madness that took place on our capital city’s streets 101 years ago.
This is a digital experience that you can explore from home, but can also be experienced as a physical (socially distanced) walk through the places the events took place. Walking the streets where the events of the past are ingrained into the fabric of the pavement, tracing step by step in an immersive, evocative experience, will bring us far closer to these events than we can ever get reading accounts in historic archives or watching what plays out in TV news reports.
Visit cardiff1919.wales to explore and connect with the forgotten history of our very own streets and communities of Cardiff.
Cardiff 1919 contains images and descriptions of extreme violence and contains language, including racial slurs, drawn from historical documents and accounts which may be offensive to a modern audience.
“Cardiff 1919 Race Riots was an explosive period for the people of Cardiff, but more particularly, the families that lived in Tiger Bay. The Race Riots are a lived experience within my family and is part of our folklore.
Cardiff 1919: Riots Re-drawn was inspired by my time as an emerging director with NTW. I observed Mike Pearson and Mike Brooks direct Storm 2, the script of which was researched from newspaper reports from the time of the riots. Whilst listening to the actors deliver the play, I started doodling little illustrations on my copy of the script of the events and the faces, because the dialogue painted such detail in my imagination.
I was encouraged by the directors and producers of NTW to expand on my artwork, to take it to another level.
When I think of the riots, my community and family 100 years ago, having had to defend their right to be in Cardiff, have families and work for a living, fills me with disgust and then pride. The fact that after fighting in the war, the people of Tiger Bay had to fight again for their lives, families and homes. They had to fight against racism.
Being brought up in Tiger Bay, understanding our unique heritage and identity. Black and white people living in peace, this place is what the future will look like. This is what the residents of Butetown fought to protect and this was what the racist rioters wanted to destroy. Tiger Bay ultimately became a part of the makeup and fabric of Cardiff.”
Kyle Legall was NTW’s first Artist in Residence in 2015. He was an Emerging Director on Storm 2 & 3 (2018/2019) and lead artist on Wild Scenes at Cardiff (2019). He has been a member of TEAM Panel since 2018 and has worked with many different communities, artists, performers and practitioners.
Kyle is an artist whose work spans many genres, from graffiti, animation, filmmaking, theatre, and design, to making his own graffiti clothing line. He has created four 2D animated short films for Channel 4 and S4C. In 2017 Kyle wrote, designed and directed RATS (Rose Against The System) at Wales Millennium Centre.
Mike Pearson has helped conceive and direct six productions with NTW: The Persians (2010), Coriolan/us (2012), Iliad (2015), STORM.1: Nothing Remains The Same, STORM.2: Things Come Apart (2018), Wild Scenes at Cardiff (2019).
Mike is Emeritus Professor of Performance Studies at Aberystwyth University and Honorary Professor at Exeter University. Originally trained as an archaeologist, he has been a professional theatre-maker and performer for fifty years, working internationally, primarily in the fields of physical theatre and devised and site-specific performance. He continues to create performance as a solo artist and with senior performers’ group Good News From The Future.
What to Expect
This is a digital experience that you can explore from home, but can also be experienced as a physical walk through the places the events took place. It is available to access and experience at Cardiff1919.wales
Cardiff 1919 can be experienced as a physical walk through the locations that the events took place. The presentation of the digital novel on Cardiff1919.wales depicts the events that took place in chronological order. As such when experiencing this on location, there are some events which take place on the same site, but at different times. If following the route in order, you will return to some locations a number of times.
Alternatively, If you would prefer a shorter route which visits each location once only, we would recommend the following:
- Listen to 1 in place Custom House Street / Canal Street junction
- Listen to 2 in place Outside the Central Library
- Listen to 3 in place By the Salvation Army by Callaghan Square
- Listen to 4 & 5 in the same place as 3
- Listen to 6 in place By the bus stops for Callaghan Square
- Listen to 7 in place by The Golden Cross
- Listen to 8 in the same place as 7
- Listen to 9 in place by The Golden Cross / John Lewis
- Listen to 10 in place by the Royal Arcade