Sunday, 5 April 2015

Looking back on last years Puppetry

I can't quite believe a year has passed since last years puppetry project.

We designed, created and performed 'The Impossible fair' on Mountain view ranch in Caerphilly. Including a life size Elephant, baby elephant, shark, mermaid a 3m giant, singing fish and a flying talking goldfish as the main attraction... With many more amazing and innovative creations!

The video of the whole production;

Some personal highlights...

Singing goldfish - Hook a Duck crew.. 

 The lion that I made with various team members   and was able to puppeteer with Ben inside the body.

Final shot of the whole cast and crew.

First year At RWCMD - In images (2012-13)

While looking through images on my laptop I found the various work over first year, and thought it would be great to show them. The second term!

Weeks 1-3: Props Project

Week  5-8: Costume as Performance

Week 9 -12: Conceptual Model Box - With Lucy

Friday, 20 December 2013

Has it been three months already? - First term at RWCMD

It's Christmas once again, 'I don't believe it' as Victor Meldrew would say.

This term has just flown by, yet, gone very slowly all at the same time. I've learnt so much in such a short period and gained many new friends.

University life - Learning to live 'independently' has really taught me a lot, enjoying meeting new people and gaining a broader knowledge of different cultures. I am currently living with 5 others at halls. Were all from pretty different backgrounds, but so far we do get on really well and have had many lovely memories as a group.
I am known as 'The clean freak' or 'Kluned'/'Cleaned' or even Leonard in some cases, which ever way you would like to spell it.. I like an immaculately clean bedroom/kitchen.
But I am learning that sometimes, it's just not possible to keep it that way.

On another note; I turned 21 in October, (crazy I know) we had a Birthday celebration at the flat, it was lovely.

Tom Odell is amazing live, and he signed our tickets. LEGEND.

There are 17 of us in total as BA1 Theatre Designers, all from various parts of the UK/World. It's a pretty small group, so we will get to know each other really well over the next three years. There are also a group of 'Masters' students, they do similar projects to us. It's lovely to have a number of older students, hearing about their experiences and expertise in various fields of Art, Theatre and Design.

The work is intense and extremely tough at times, but I wouldn't change my degree for the world. As much as we complain about having to be in from 9am-6pm (o'r later) everyday, we achieve so much more and receive almost daily group/one to one tutoring. The course is hands on and very practical, the way I learn best! We also get the opportunity to watch the Richard Burton Company (college third years) performances for free which are an inspiration and helps gain further knowledge of theatre/performance.

Our Projects

WSD Presentations - During our first week we had the chance to meet many other 'Freshers' as well as students from the years above us. The college is a small community and everyone is deserved of their place as they all are talented individuals in their field of practice.
We created short presentations talking about three productions and their designers, it was a good opportunity to actually question each other on our opinions of the productions, using first and second hand research. I took the chance to contact the designers themselves, to ask a few of our questions, and had good responses. It was great to see the reactions to the productions, they were all different, yet we saw similarities in the main focus of the work.

Paper Seagulls - Made completely from various paper and sellotape on a massive scale, created over a two and a half days, an epic transformation of the Linbury Gallery. It was sad to see them eventually be taken down.

Poem Model Box - One of our tutors wrote a poem including many interesting individuals, which we had to create a room for.
The line I received was 'A valiantly brave life boat man, relieving a rescue at sea. The first time I have ever measured and technically drawn, cut, created and rendered a model box and character. It was complicated to say the least, but we all managed to finish.

Don't mention the 'B' word. NO ONE likes to bevel anymore....

Harold Pinter - A Night Out
By focusing on the fireplace as the main feature of the set, I created a model box referring to the dark hole in which the main character lived. The dreary claustrophobic house with his own mother. The incestuous, creepy, relationship made me think of Freudian themes and the Oedipus complex.

Nutcracker Ballet - Character Drawings.
I decided to set the ballet in the 1970's, as it is know for the bright colours and patterns of clothes. It would appeal to all ages, the timeless fairytale story, also a production that the parents/adults could relate to, as I based some of my characters on famous iconic figures during the 70's. I used collage as my medium, I believe some designs worked better than others, as I intend to develop this technique because it shows elements of the character in each drawing.

Other trips and adventures

Convinced Missions Week in Cardiff - Another year has passed, the week was
successful in the sense that many people came to hear the talks, lunch bars were full, many came to enjoy free pudding and cake. I enjoyed being questioned by my friends about my faith, what's different about Christianity and how it's directly impacted my life. It has been a good way of seeing how God is using me at University, I know that he does give me great strength and I wouldn't have arrived where I am today without Him.

I've been to London a number of times in the past few months; As my brother is a part of the cast for Les Mis on the West End, I was able to work back stage for two shows, gaining knowledge and experience, shadowing a stage manager. I thoroughly enjoyed my time seeing how the set was used, how the stage was so cleverly lit and the props set on stage during the show. I also got to sit with the DSM on 'The Book' for the first time, it was exciting and a great insight to the 'real world' of live theatre. Meeting the members of the cast and the SM's was really cool and I made sure I asked as many questions as I could think of!

I was also chosen for the WJEC Exhibition of Excellence in November, I liked seeing other foundation students work from all over Wales and England, it was a privilege to be a part of it.

Also; I won a competition through IdeasTap website, a day at Punch Drunk's Temple Studios. It was truly unforgettable, as I came to understand their design process first hand, how to work with found space then applying it in a practical way.
Creating an installation using an empty room with some simple materials; paper, string, light torches/candles. Focusing on a specific atmosphere and tonality to the space for others to encounter.

I thoroughly look forward to next term, as we have a number of great projects in store for us, as well as a few more college productions to watch.

'To the praise and glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.' Ephesians 1: 6-7.

One more thing;

Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

World Stage Design 2013 - Royal Welsh Collage of Music and Drama

From the 2nd - 17th of September I was a volunteer at WSD 2013. A reflection of the 2 weeks, of my favourite memories and images.

I was a part of the production team during  the 'Get in' and 'Get out ' then was one of the documentation team during the festival itself.

I had many jobs from; sanding, painting, filling, assisting designers/model makers to a general extra hand.

The festival included; performances, workshops, exhibitions, seminars, talks and creative events during the two weeks. As an unofficial official photographer the aim was to document as much of the festival as we could. Knowing that it would be impossible to catch everything, we had a number of productions and tasks to document each day.

The Karts were a big success although I didn't take part in making them, I thought that they were a quirky and inspired. Some were used to sell food and drinks and others were used to promote various organisations and performances.

I attended a number of workshops; I thoroughly enjoyed the Tea for Tutu with Ramon B. Ivars and Carlos Muchart. The intricate process of making a tutu, with different materials and lengths. I also was fascinated by the way it photographed, seeing every detail of the mesh and tulle, with it's natural folds creating depth and shadows.
The Willow Theatre

"The building’s strength will come from hired and returnable industrial scaffolding while the decorative fronds and interior walls will be made from UK-produced horticultural fleece, a re-usable material which can also be recycled to make more of the same fabric."  The building was built and taken down by the volunteers. Watch the build it's self at;

The Exhibition; My favourite photographs

I've learnt so much by talking to designers and attending talks during to two weeks. 


National Dance Company Wales: PURLIEUS/VIRTUAL DESCENT
Letter to The Wold III
 'The piece communicates the artists’ shared concerns over the diminishing creation and use of public spaces.
Public spaces are where people gather at the same time and space to share social experiences '


Stolen Heart - Puppetry perfomance by Royal Welsh Collage of Music and Drama: A promenade, site specific performance in the Park and grounds around the college .

The experience of world stage design has taught me how hard theatre can be and how much work and long hours go into productions/exhibitions. Yet how rewarding it feels to succeed after working towards a long awaited goal. I have gained contacts and many friends during the two weeks, it was unforgettable. I feel inspired, excited and equipped for the next chapter of Theatre Design at Royal Welsh Collage of Music and Drama.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

National Youth Theatre of GB - The Trials and Tribulations

I would like to foremost thank all of those that helped me achieve my goal of raising enough money to attend the National Youth Theatre of GB - Set Construction Course this summer.
A special thanks to/ Diolch arbennig i; Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr, aelodau Eglwys Efengylaidd Gymraeg Caerdydd a cwmni Telesgop for your help/ am eich cymorth.

The two weeks have been truly unforgettable, as I have learnt so many new skills that I will undoubtedly use for the rest of my career. Made new friends from all over the country, that share my passion for theatre. I know that we will be in contact for future shows and projects for years to come.

I lived in a flat of 5 (Hannah, Matt, Callum and Tash - for one night) on Holloway Rd, not far from where the NYT course was held. The course started on the 20th of August with an introductory session with my course mates and tutors Duncan, Matt and Course Assistant Emilie. We all gave a reason why we chose to attend the course, mine being ' I don't do DIY.' Yet, that reason didn't stop me getting stuck in right away.

On that first day we learnt all about power tools, millimetre measuring, woods, screws and various machinery. Creating our first flats in teams, working together and learning the ropes. The best way to learn is by being chucked in at the deep end, it's either sink o'r swim.

The kitchen Catastrophes.

On our first night together, (flat 412) we all went shopping together and decided to cook a meal. All was going well with the Fajitas, as I was cooking (no word of a lie) I had help with the prep of course by my flatmates. I asked Matt to season the food, the next thing I know the lid of the pepper grinder had fell into the wok with half of the pepper corns in with it!! What a disaster.
I was laughing so hard I had to sit down. 'But the show must go on' as they say, so we tried to take out as much as we could of the pepper corns, and yes it was WELL seasoned extra hot and crunchy. We kept finding pepper corns for the rest of the time we spent in the flat! The first mistake of many...

Lessons learnt from cooking in Flat 412:

1. Never let Matt Ingram season anything.
2. Do not try and melt butter in the paper packaging, it's actually made of foil.
Microwaves + Foil ≡ Fire
3. Always read M&S food instructions, some of their plastics melt in the oven.
4. Never let Matt Ingram cook without supervision.
5. Cooking as a flat can be very fun, but also stressful. Approach with caution in future. So, if all else fails, have a take away.

Since this post, Matt Ingram successfully cooked a casserole for his family. Fair play.

As the week went on the Workshop group bonded, and everyone got on really well. I don't think I've laughed so much in a long time. There were 9 girls and 1 boy, it was hilarious, as we had no idea what we were doing for the first few days.

Things I will never forget;
- 'Is it Flush?' - Referring to the edges of the wood, if they are smooth and perfectly inline it's A Ok.
- It's better that it's perfect before you finish, as sanding it down is NOT the easy option.
- PVA glue, nail gun and screws = Can stick basically anything together.
- 'Sending a screw to Australia' - When you've drilled in the screw and it's gone so far it's the other side of the world.
- Having a half naked man walking/working in the studio will distract 9 girls from the task in front of them, especially if that man does Yoga. The levels of concentration will deteriorate significantly and probably result in uncontrollable giggling.

We had two talks from set designers for the NYT Rep company; Fiona Russell SD for Pope Joan and James Button SD for Tory Boyz. They both answered our questions clearly, explained and communicated their design concepts to us. It really inspired me to think practically about the design process through to the construction. I was challenged by the time scale for the creation of the design, which had to be completed in about 2 weeks.

We created the set for NYT production of Epic Stages that showcased at the end of our two week course. Also, we made props for a number of the Rep company shows; Throne and treds for Pope Joan, Desks for Tory Boyz and lanterns.

We had a number of days closer to the end of the two weeks with professional Scenic Designer/Painter Charlotte. After having a presentation with images of her past work we got cracking on our very own pieces. As a group we made; new pieces of wood to look old, re-created wall, turner-esque 3 flat painting, spray gun painting and lantern rust. These projects were really exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed questioning Charlotte about her experience in theatre.

(I painted: the top section of the left flat and the bottom of the middle flat)

Finally we also had the opportunity to design and create our own projects. I decided to make a guitar stand, knowing I would be receiving one for my 21st birthday. It would also be transportable on the bus journey home! Using a jigsaw, cutting out two L shapes, sanding the edges and using a hinge to connect them. Finishing by adding rope to secure the width then burning the wood, for an edgy urban look.

During the last week Matt had surprised us all with free tickets to the pop up roller skating rink, as he was a part of the team that built it.
The experience in itself was thrilling, although I was holding on to dear life most of the time, to the hand rail with sweaty knee pads strapped on. But as I have a titanium prosthesis, it was a lifetime achievement for me.
The funny thing was, as we were skating around we were discussing the quality and materials of the construction. It just shows what we had already learnt and that we loved building things!

Before you start thinking that I hadn't been to the West End; I went to see 5 shows in total over the two weeks, I will write a brief blog reviewing each of them individually later.

As the course drew to a close on the 30th, we received our certificates, every strand gave speeches thanking everyone involved, it was lovely to see all of the new members together for a final time. We left the halls Saturday morning, all exhausted from our hard work.

I look forward to returning next year to build on my relationships, experiences and knowledge of Theatre to gain the best opportunities in the future!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Confined:Confinement - Caeth:Caethiwed

Over the last 10 weeks, I have been working towards the Final Major Project Exhibition for Art Foundation. It has been stressful but an unforgettably rewarding and exciting experience, I know I have come along way in the process.

The title of my project refers to the feelings of confinement I felt during my time on Sky Ward as a oncology cancer patient, in 2007-08. The project deals with those unspoken memories and emotions that were never dealt with, that were still in my subconscious. It may sound deep, meaningless and pretentious but it's genuinely how I felt. 

I recorded my past memories and emotions through writing everything in my Personal Reflective Diary, I was able to step back and see it objectively. For the first time I felt relieved that I wasn't carrying the burden of them anymore.

During this period, I went for my 6 month check up at Space -Paediatrics Oncology Outpatients to see my consultant. It was coming up to 5 years post finishing chemotherapy (In August). I took various sheets of documentation to work with, it was the perfect time to ask Dr Jenney for ownership of my documents. I knew that the material itself just as paper boxes, wasn't powerful enough. 
Although extreme, I started to burn my documents and recording it through video and photography, it was an empowering and thrilling process.

The Final Piece

made a stop animation film, presenting the journey of the Sky Ward corridor. I used a 2 second shutter speed when photographing, creating a blurry and nauseating effect. The sound recording of the corridor depicting confusion and disconnected flashbacks. The video portrays my memory of living on the ward. I believe it's successful because the atmosphere created by the combination of images and sound, make the audience empathise with the work.

The strongest images came from the close ups of the ashes, as the extraordinary details of the text was still prominent. Emphasising that the impersonal information cannot be destroyed, only transformed.

I developed a technique of making Paper Ash Clay, by breaking porcelain to liquid, transforming it into a new form of clay through combining the documents and ash. Leaving them to dry on scrunches of paper, creating interesting shapes, making every one individual.

It was a long and painstaking process, as my ambition was to create about 100 to represent the period of time being in hospital. The detail of the ash and information from the documents embedded into the clay, was visible in the sculptures. The sculptures themselves weren't fired as the detail and colour would disappear completely. Their fragility proved challenging as 1 in 10 broke, moving them took great care and attention.

My intention was to recreate the atmosphere of a hospital room; clinically clean, sombre sculptures and soft light that contrasts with the fast paced video.

Over the last five years I have grown in maturity, conscientiousness and confidence. This project has given me the opportunity for others to see the experience from my perspective.

I am grateful for my amazing tutors: Cath is kind, caring and so supportive. Brendan is compassionate, understanding and truly inspiring. I appreciate all that they have done for me; through for their advice, knowledge, and great attentiveness throughout the last 6 months. I would not have done it without them!
I would also like to thank; All of the other tutors and staff of the Foundation, that have helped me over the year. The everlasting friendships I have made on the course, and to my family for their constant encouragement.

I received a distinction grade, which I am thrilled.

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him." Psalm 62:1