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Giving a voice to the Somalian community in Butetown



e Gabay is a site-specific theatre project which will be performed in March 2013. Johnathan sees De Gabay as an opportunity for people who are not necessarily performers to find their voice

and tell their story, through the medium of poetry. “Many people in Butetown go unheard as they have been ignored in the development of Cardiff Bay,” Jonathan says, “De Gabay helps to give them a voice.”



ell us about yourself as a performer? I was born and raised in Denmark, Copenhagen. One day when I was about 19 I decided to move to Wales. Theatre has always been a dream of mine and eventually the dream turned into a job. What is De Gabay? It is theatre, from the angle of poetry. We tried to be inventive with our script, so much so, that the National Theatre of Wales entered us into a competition. Out of 64 groups, we were chosen,

which is absolutely incredible. We got a 2-year contract and it was funded for. After that, it all moved like a snowball.

“It all moved like a snowball” What makes De Gabay unique? It is a story that has never been heard; it’s our roots. Each species in the animal kingdom has a name, but De Gabay is a species which has not yet been documented.

Is this a big step for the Somalian community? Yes, but not only the Somalian community, it’s a big step for all ethnicities. We tell a story; where we came from and how we feel. When I go back home and I perform to my family, they absolutely love it. Tell us about your poetry? It is comedy from a different perspective. Just as Wales is known as the land of the poets, Somalia is also known as this. De Gabay starts March 2013

LAST CHRISTMAS Fringe theatre group Dirty Protest’s anti-panto


herman Cymru is playing host to a Dirty Protest and Clwyd Theatr Cymru collaboration. Bread, meet butter. Salt, meet pepper. These institutions were all formed to promote Welsh theatre and cutting-edge productions. Last Christmas is the latest tryst in this love story of contemporary theatre. The play is about a Swansea man confronted with the ghosts of Christmas past when he returns home for the festive period. Written by Matthew Bulgo, this is fringe outfit Dirty Protest’s first full production of new writing. Tim Price from Dirty Protest said, “Five years ago when Dirty Protest was first

“Tim Price bullied me into writing this play”

conceived over coffee, we dreamed that one day we’d be able to present a new play by a new Welsh writer, and finally that day has come.” The play’s writer, Matthew Bulgo said, “Tim Price bullied me into writing this play, and I’m very glad that he did. The pessimistic part of my brain kept telling me ‘They won’t like it. Why would they want to produce a play by me?!’ ” Finally some last words from Tim Price, “If a family Christmas is something you get through doused in alcohol and repression, then this is the show for you. Come to Wales’ anti-panto!” Last Christmas runs at Sherman Cymru from 12-15 December


PACKS A PUNCH Ballyhoo visited the rehearsal of The Tempest at O’Neill’s in Cardiff to see what new talent the city had to offer

“It almost makes you feel rude that you are listening”


o how does a theatre company start in Cardiff? “Through being really stubborn,” laughs Simon Riordan, one of the founders of Bare Knuckle Theatre, who had a dream and certainly made it happen. Though still in their early years the company has an impressive history since their fundraiser at The Gate Arts Centre in 2010. “We started off with Shakespeare as people like what they know,” explains

Simon. “So if you are going to get an audience in it is generally something they have already seen that is popular. Brand new company, brand new play, people might not take a chance on you.” From such cautious words, you might mistake this director for someone who is afraid to take risks. However a quick delve into their past performances reveals that this isn’t the case. Their ethos is to strip everything away, to have no set and rely on the talented actors in Cardiff. Simon reveals that in his opinion there two types of directors. There is the one that focuses on the technical side of performance and the other that is very actor driven. Simon is the latter as he says, “I don’t really

understand all the lighting and techy stuff. I quite like to play off people.” Although he underplays his use of the technical it would be foolish to discredit the fact that sometimes to have the vision of a performance with no set is just as difficult as shining a ballyhoo. For example, last December the company performed the play Closer at The Gate’s café, using the sofas that are normally used for coffee drinkers as the set. “I like plays when the audience feel as though they are eavesdropping on a conversation, so it almost makes you feel rude to be there listening,” explains Simon. Although the company has little financial support this does nothing to deter the vision of creating great theatre as they rehearse wherever they can, even in the upstairs of a popular Cardiff pub. “I like working on a shoestring budget, then you can find out how good you really are,” concludes Simon proudly, before offering us each a pint. To find out more about Bare Knuckle Theatre visit



s a theatre goer your senses should be ignited from the very first moment you enter the auditorium. Bare Knuckle Theatre’s The Tempest needed to deliver the feeling of a storm-riddled island but in the Millenium Centre’s Weston Studio, a space with only one stepped platform for set design. Not a simple act for a company only two years old. But the audience need not have been concerned. The cataclysmic storm was created by the actors through claps and clicks, effectively demonstrat-

ing the wind and rain that gripped the island. Similarly once the storm cleared they lucidly transformed into the undergrowth, illustrating impeccable costume design. Ariel and Caliban both delivered stand-out performances, epitomising the supernatural and commanding the audience’s attention. The smaller parts were not left unloved however as the pairing of villains Antonio and Sebastian could not have been more accurately performed. Bare Knuckle know how to grip your senses.

KITSCH& SYNC Introducing Cardiff ’s all swinging and tapping dance theatre trio


icture if you can a dance that is a fusion of swing, Lindy Hop (a kind of jazz dance) and Charleston, punctuated with hiphop footwork and performed in pairs to electro swing music. Throw in sumptuous costumes and a lampshade or two and you will start to carve out the charged outline

Photos courtesy of Ben Wyeth and Marc Heatley

of Cardiff dance theatre group The Kitsch & Sync Collective. Kylie Ann Smith, Kim Noble and Rosalind Haf Brooks, who together are Kitsch & Sync, will be delivering their dose of fast paced rhythm and glamour this month at The Full Moon club. Kylie describes their upcoming Christmas show A Kristmas Kringle as a multifarious mix of The Night Before Christmas and Phoenix Nights crossed with the Nativity and Bad Santa. “We love anything quirky and working with unusual props and costumes to inspire our choreographic choices. Our performances are usually character driven, energetic and comedic.” Formed a year ago, and holding weekly electro swing dance classes at The Full Moon, Kitsch & Sync have created a distinct style of dance theatre performance

A fusion of swing, Lindy Hop and Charleston, punctuated with hip-hop and performed to electro swing music ...

Kitsch & Sync Collective: Private Eye Detective

that is borne from a love of tap dance rhythms, music and vintage fashion trends. Also currently working with National Theatre Wales, the trio is now busy putting their best feet forward for Ruckus, a project recently granted funding by the Arts Council of Wales. This production sees the unlikely pairing of wrestling and ballet, in depicting an underground all-female fight club. With a performance at The Senedd in the pipeline, and following their recent success at new arts festival Number 6 in Portmeirion, Kitsch & Sync are set to hotfoot it into a very exciting year. Kitsch & Sync will perform A Kristmas Kringle at The Full Moon at 8pm on 21 December





Age: 23 Location: Cardiff Occupation: Actor

Age: 24 Location: Cardiff Occupation: Actor

“Before I go on stage I do a voice warm up and have a little dance in the space. It’s hard, but I do try and relax as much as I can before a show. The Bute Theatre at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama is a brilliant venue to perform in. It’s just a great black box that gets completely transformed from show to show. I once performed a monologue at a bus stop in City Road for Dirty Protest’s After the Party. That was brilliant and terrifying. I loved every second.”

“I do a voice warm up and have a little dance in the space”



embers of the Llanover Hall youth theatre group Hummadruz practice the concept for their UV performance in preparation for next year’s Greenman Festival

“I’m based in Cardiff, but often my work takes me out of the city. I work in the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven at the moment, and in January I will be going up to the Clwyd Theatr to do a drama called Rape of the Fair Country. I have a routine for when I know I’ll be performing on stage: arrive at the theatre an hour and a half before we begin, have a coffee and drink lots of water. Then I warm up my voice, and that’s it really. I also listen to some good tunes in the dressing room!”

THIS EVENING’S PERFORMANCE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY Betsan Jones Lucinda Reid Sean Anderson Nathan Velayudhan