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The Arts in Wales: 2011 preview

Despite the threat of cuts, there’s plenty to look forward to in 2011. Dance, theatre and art in Wales remain as ambitious as ever with a whole host of exciting new projects planned for the New Year. words: ANNA ROXELANA illustration: CHLOE STOCK


he arts calendar for Wales in 2011 is already fi lling up. At a local level, there will be programmes for new Welsh artists and a theatre re-opening. Outside Wales, there

will be international tours and the Venice Biennale Exhibition to look forward to. Across Wales, emerging new artists will be looking to showcase their talent, and in 2011 they will be able to do just that. Ann Sholem, artistic director at the National Dance Company Wales (NDCW) said, “The only difference to our work in 2011 is the Wales Dance Platform, a dance festival focusing on new work from professional dance artists from Wales.” Sholem added, “It is the fi rst opportunity for anyone creating work in Wales.”

Plunge, a new development project for newly-gradu- ated professional dancers will run from Mon 21 Feb to Fri 15 Apr, visiting a variety of small venues around Wales to promote and encourage new talent. NDCW will also be running their annual Easter course for school kids, Springboard and Summerdance, and an Arts Active summer course for young dancers and dance students, Mon 1-Sat 6 Aug. Despite the threat of cuts, Sholem hopes these kinds of activities will continue: “We will fi nd out about the cuts in Decem- ber. Our organisation will continue to be funded so we are all hoping for the best.” National Theatre Wales (NTW) are also looking to sup- port local creativity. Artistic director John McGrath said, “We are launching a big new programme for emerging artists called Wales Lab, which takes new artists and new ideas and gives them a chance to develop.” He continued, “I think cuts are going to affect everyone, but I think our job is to be as creative as we possibly can, and develop as many new ways of

BUZZ 16 working as possible.”

The NTW may only be one-year-old but they are al- ready looking ahead to some exciting new performanc- es in Wales next year. In January, The Soul Exchange takes place in Butetown. Then in March, they are co-producing a new show with No Fit State circus that will begin showing at The Torch in Milford Haven and Michael Sheen returns to Port Talbot in April to lead in Passion, a retrospective look at the life and times of Port Talbot. Another exciting local event is the re-opening of Cardiff’s Sherman Cymru theatre building set for late autumn 2011. The theatre is currently undergoing a massive £5.4 million refurbishment, and the injection of capital will see some exciting improve- ments to the building. Welsh art groups certainly aren’t limiting themselves to the local scene in 2011. NTW are hoping to continue to make an interna- tional splash: “Visitors from across the world have started coming to our shows, so we want to make sure that continues in 2011. People in Wales and beyond now know about theatre here” explained John McGrath. NTW plan to work with talented international acts next year: “In February we are in Aberystwyth with a show called Outdoors which is created as a co-production with probably the most exciting new theatre company from Berlin.”

NDCW are also planning to hit the international stage.

In spring 2011 a new work produced by their dancers and artistic team under Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, the Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theatre, will be toured around the UK and internationally. Their Friday afternoon rehearsals in the Dance House, Cardiff; starting this December, are open to the public. Other foreign tours are not yet confi rmed. Sholem said, “They could be Italy and Greece for the spring festivals and India in the autumn with our exchange school, Stem Dance, in Bangalore.” Another important date in the Welsh arts calendar 2011 is the Venice Biennale exhibi- tion. This is possibly the world’s most important event for international art and next year will be its 54th year. Swansea artist and lecturer Tim Davies has been named as the chosen artist to represent Wales. Davies is the head of fi ne art at Swansea Metropolitan University and already has an international reputa- tion as an artist. In 2008 he received a Major Creative Wales Award from the Arts Council of Wales.

While the full impact of cuts has not yet been felt, the Welsh arts calendar for 2011 is looking extremely bright.

Watch open rehearsals for the NDCW’s spring tour on Fri 10 Dec, 7 Jan and 14 Jan. Info: Soul Exchange comes to the Coal Exchange, Cardiff Bay on Thurs 27 + Fri 28 Jan. Info: www.

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