Creative team, led by National Theatre Wales, selected to represent Wales in the UK-wide festival of creativity in 2022

city skyline with quote "To be radical is to make hope possible" Raymond Williams

24 March 2021

Made up of 12 team members from Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) in Wales, Collective Cymru, led by National Theatre Wales, have been chosen to lead one of Festival UK* 2022’s ten pioneering projects.

After an intensive three-month Research and Development project, and a rigorous assessment process involving 30 teams across the UK, Collective Cymru have successfully won their bid to represent Wales in the UK-wide festival of creativity in 2022. Details of the commission are being kept under wraps for now, however, it has been revealed that Wales’ greatest gift – the Well Being of Future Generations Act – has been the catalyst for the project.

The creative team gathered 12 individuals across sectors – bringing the Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth together with Jukebox Collective from Cardiff and Frân Wen in Gwynedd, creative technologists and innovators from Sugar Creative and Clwstwr, a journalist and community organiser, a writer and artists, and national companies Disability Arts Cymru, National Theatre Wales and Ffilm Cymru.

Created with the people of Wales for a global audience, Collective Cymru, led by National Theatre Wales, will now begin the work to develop their project with Welsh and international partners and communities across Wales for next year’s festival, bringing people together and showcasing Welsh strengths in film and TV production, immersive technology, sustainability and live performance.

Lorne Campbell, Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales said “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. 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.”

Commenting on today’s news, Welsh Government Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas said, “It’s very exciting news that we’re now embarking on the next phase of the project. During what’s been the most challenging of years, I’m delighted that we can help these sectors as we all look forward to a brighter 2022 – with creativity bringing communities together once more.”

The ten projects of Festival UK* 2022 will reach every corner of the UK and will include events, public engagement activities, participation opportunities and learning programmes, reaching millions of children and young people, demonstrating the importance of creativity in people’s lives and our collective futures.

30 teams made up of scientists, technologists, engineers, artists and mathematicians from across the UK were invited to come together to create new partnerships and develop ideas for large-scale public engagement projects. Designed to reach millions globally, the projects will take place at locations in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and are to be open, original and optimistic.

The teams come from both the private and public sectors, including artists, scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, plus choreographers, coders, games developers, musicians, theatre-makers, writers, and many other disciplines. The UK-wide geographic spread also reflects its diversity, including disability organisations, and Black, Asian, and minority ethnic creative talent.

The paid R&D project supported more than 500 creatives from across STEAM, including more than 100 freelancers, at a time when sectors have been impacted by the Covid pandemic. More jobs and opportunities will be created as the commissioned projects go into production.

Over the last 12 months the arts and cultural 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, meaning access to culture and creativity has never been more 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 while widening 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 us from the land, to the sea, to the air and even outer space, using pioneering technology and the power of the imagination. The festival programme will be announced, along with a new name, later this year.

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