The play, Refrain, is performed daily by the artist’s mother, Lily Edwards, from her home in Cardiff
Refrain has been experienced by thousands of visitors to the Venice Biennale International Arts Festival
BBC Radio 4 will broadcast Refrain, a new radio play by Wales in Venice artist, Sean Edwards. The play, co-produced by National Theatre Wales, is currently being transmitted live from a council flat in Llanishen by his mother, Lily Edwards, to thousands of visitors to the prestigious 2019 Venice Biennale.
Refrain, which has been at the heart of Sean Edwards’ Undo Things Done exhibition in Venice, has been performed every week of the Biennale run since the opening 11 May 2019. A poetic enquiry into place, social history and class, the play weaves Lily Edwards’ biography of growing up in a Northern Irish Catholic Children’s Home and her subsequent life in Wales, intertwined with the artist’s own personal memories from his childhood.
Adapted for radio by BBC Arts and National Theatre Wales, Refrain will broadcast UK wide on the final day of the Venice Biennale, on BBC Radio 4 at 1.30pm, Sunday 24 November. This will be the first time Refrain will be heard across Wales and the wider UK, listened to in domestic spaces via radios at home, mirroring the living room where Lily Edwards reads daily. Tŷ Pawb, the Wrexham-based lead arts organisation for Wales in Venice will also tune into the broadcast, hosting a community listening event.
Kully Thiarai, Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales said, “Since May, Lily has been broadcasting to Venice live from her home in Cardiff every day, captivating thousands of visitors to her son’s exhibition at the Biennale. Throughout that time, she has truly become part of the National Theatre Wales family and we are thrilled that her voice will now be heard back home in this special broadcast on BBC Radio 4.”
The full Venice Biennale exhibition, commissioned by Arts Council Wales, will tour to Tŷ Pawb, Wrexham 14 February – 26 April 2020 and then on to Bluecoat, Liverpool 7 November 2020 – 14 March 2021.
Edwards’ new body of work – which includes film, sculptures, prints and Welsh quilts is inspired by his experience of growing up on a council estate in Cardiff in the 1980s.
Wales in Venice artist Sean Edwards said, “I’m delighted that the work produced for Wales in Venice will have the opportunity to be experienced by audiences in Wales and that the adaptation of Refrain, a work that has been at the heart of the installation in Venice, will be broadcast into people homes. It is an honour to be able to present this work on BBC Radio 4, and marks a fitting culmination to my mother’s generous commitment to daily performances for the duration of the Biennale.”
After launching the exhibition tour at Tŷ Pawb, Wrexham, the show will travel on to Bluecoat, Liverpool, the second tour venue, where Edwards will create a further iteration across four gallery spaces. He will interweave new and older works that resonate with show Undo Things Done, including ‘Maelfa’ (2010) shot in the 1970s shopping centre of the Llanedeyrn estate, which also acted the starting point for Undo Things Done.
Refrain will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday 24 November 2019 at 1.30pm.
Undo Things done will tour to Ty Pawb, Wrexham 14 February 2019 to 26 April 2020, and Bluecoat, Liverpool from 7 November 2020 to 14 March 2021.