Annie from the Articulture team looks at the incredible work achieved with the recent Ar Waith Ar Daith project in Wales, and the promise of creative Cymru unleashed, and a new generation of artists working collaboratively in the great outdoors.
Following networking and opportunities arising at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival – Articulture as a team had decided that a couple of us should go to Fira Tarrega – arguably THE best market for outdoor arts in Europe – in September this year. But as momentum gathered for the Wales Millennium Centre’s 10th Anniversary, it became clear that for anyone with even the mildest interest in outdoor arts in Wales, there could be only one place to be on SEPTEMBER 12TH 2015!
So, the Articulture team joined an audience of over 12,000 people in the Plas Roald Dahl, Cardiff Bay, for the monumental spectacle of ‘Ar Waith Ar Daith’, celebrating the 10th birthday of the Wales Millennium Centre…
It’s Not What You Do, It’s The Way That You Do It!
Created by the world-renowned outdoor arts company Walk the Plank, Ar Waith Ar Daith bore several of their signature marks – it was incredibly ambitious, massively inclusive and with a legacy above and beyond the visual spectacles which will have been burnt into so many people’s memories.
Leading up to the finale in Cardiff, Walk the Plank had devised three distinct but overlapping intensive residential training schools each focusing on different aspects of outdoor arts – e.g. lantern procession, pyrotechnics, etc – all with the common feature that at the end of the week the participants would realise their own public-facing outdoor event – no small feat! The Anwen training schools took place in Caernarfon, Castell y Bere and Newport – each working with mixed groups of artists and makers from different artform backgrounds and at different stages of their careers – allowing for great networking and already, we hear on the grapevine, there are some inspired tangible collaborations in the making!
Simultaneously, the Ar Waith Ar Daith bus journeyed across Wales (I personally ran into it 3 times over the summer!) on an artistic odyssey collecting a wealth of inspiration from artists and different communities, each articulating and feeding back to ‘cauldron central’ their videoed respones to ‘Awen’, muse or inspiration that lies at the heart of Welsh culture.
Ah yes and did I mention the hundreds of community participants in the finale? The dancers, the lantern-bearers, the aerialists, the stunning parade of rowers who came from the sea bearing their oars with pride (oops, the emotion is welling up again at the memory!)
There were for me many things I LOVED about Ar Waith, Ar Daith – (the beauty of the words that tumbled from the building as part of the mapping being a fave) – watching the audience watching with wonder, – I COULD GO ON. But for me the most exciting element of the event is the seeds it has planted for future growth and development of outdoor arts in Wales, and as one part of Articulture I am ready with my watering-can! This sentiment has been also been echoed by many others, recently Chloe Loftus’s recent Ar Waith Ar Daith blog.