SPAN's online live streaming community theatre company
You can now watch the fantastic performance of:
Tales from the New Normal: Finding Me in a Sea of Change.
Below are two screenings, both with Welsh subtitles and the second with a BSL interpreter.
If you would like to view the footage with English subtitles. Click the ‘CC’ button nect to the volume button in the bottom right corner.
Please note that this play is suitable for ages 14+ and contains the following trigger warnings: discussion of death, discussion of COVID-19 measures and vaccinations, discussion of caring responsibilities and long-term health conditions, discussion of mental health, discussion of cancer, swearing.
The world has changed (again) but we’re all expected to act like it’s the same…
Over the Autumn of 2022, SPAN embarked upon exciting process of working with a small group of people from all walks of life to discuss what the “after times” of the pandemic have meant for us and our mental health – the struggles, joys, revelations, and challenges.
Actor and playwright Ceri Ashe (Bipolar Me, Lockdown Tales: Making Bread and Babies) led these sessions, using storytelling and simple exercises to create a safe environment for these stories to breathe. These stories were shared anonymously with the wider world as part of a play written by Ceri which was livestreamed via SPAN Arts’s unique Theatr Soffa project.
We recruited cast members from the community to take part in the show, which aired in December.
About Theatr Soffa
Theatr Soffa is an online community theatre company presenting live-streamed community performances through zoom in both English and Welsh.
It was initially conceived by SPAN as a creative way to connect rurally isolated and housebound individuals across Pembrokeshire, by using the arts and innovative use of technology.
To date we have produced and presented five live-streamed community productions in both English and Welsh whilst we have been living under lockdown conditions.
In the earliest stages of lockdown Span simultaneously staged Welsh and English language productions of the classic Welsh drama, Under Milk Wood with a community cast of over forty people. The first performance, in partnership with Cered and Menter Iaith Sir Benfro was of Dan Y Wenallt a translation of Dylan Thomas’s original text by T. James Jones. The English version was performed the following evening.
“The program put together by Span has helped me by giving me a reason to keep my life as normal as possible, a reason to get out of bed get dressed and have a shave!”
“I felt shut away but the project has given me a whole new lease of life”
The project was so successful that the cast and crew were keen to begin working on three more plays in Autumn 2020. The first was an ambitious rendition of Dracula. The second was a piece of original writing made with the community and led by Ceri Ashe called Lockdown Tales: Making Bread and Babies. The third was a bilingual version, Chwedlau’r Cyfnod Clo: Bara a Babanod.
Little did we know that rehearsals for the autumn productions would also fall during the Welsh fire-breaker and would be performed just as Wales was emerging from its second lockdown. This brave and experimental community production has been the perfect project for all the team as many of participants live alone, are older and/or due to shielding are unable to venture out.
All were well attended with excellent feedback showing a desire for more.
Theatr Soffa has continued to enthrall audiences throughout the long, cold winter months with their bilingual performances of Dylan Thomas’s beloved festive tale ‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’, including a Welsh-medium performance of Bryan Martin-Davies’s translation of the classic story.