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Entertainment

Pembrokeshire’s true tales echo on stage in ‘Farmers Townies and Grockles’

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THE ARTS organisation SPAN Arts is one of 16 UK organisations partnering with Unlimited, an arts commissioning body that supports, funds and promotes new work by disabled and neurodivergent artists for UK and international audiences.

The commission has been awarded to actor, writer and founder of Popty Ping Productions theatre company, Ceri Ashe to create ‘Farmers Townies and Grockles’, a bilingual play telling the true stories of the people of Pembrokeshire, directed by Anna Sherratt.

Verbatim theatre is made from real people’s words. Ceri Ashe (Bipolar Me, Tales of a New Normal, Lockdown Tales: Making Bread and Babies) has been holding storytelling workshops and interviewing people from across Pembrokeshire about their lives. These true stories have been woven together to create a tapestry of voices that explores what it means to be a resident of this rural county.

From farmers in Marloes, retired Welsh teachers in Cilgerran, barmen in Little Haven, to zumba instructors in Milford Haven – this exciting new show explores the themes of belonging, community and change.

It is also an honest look at the issues facing people in Pembrokeshire today: the lack of affordable housing, the decline in Welsh speaking communities, and the future of farming.

Ceri says: ‘I have always been intrigued by the diverse range of people Pembrokeshire is home to, and it’s been a delight to go out into the community to speak to people from north and south of the county to create this play. I’ve worked with SPAN previously to create online verbatim plays during lockdown, and it’s so exciting to now be able to create a live theatre show with a fantastic cast of professional and community actors all from Pembrokeshire.’

Bethan Touhig-Gamble director of SPAN arts mentions “Being part of the Unlimited Commission which champions disabled and Neurodivergent artists has supported SPAN to invest in the creation of this extraordinary new work. We are proud to be able to create platforms for diverse creatives in Pembrokeshire to tell their own stories and make work that is rebellious, radical, adventurous, inspiring, and playful.”

This eagerly anticipated production will be performed in community venues for two shows only:

  • Friday 22nd March – Ffwrn, 6 Main St, Fishguard SA65 9HH at 7:30pm (limited spaces)
  • Saturday 23rd March – Pill Social Centre, Cellar Hill, Milford Haven SA73 2QT 3:00pm
  • Pay what you can for this exciting new show!
  • Book your space via the SPAN Arts website span-arts.org.uk
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Entertainment

NoFit State Circus set to thrill Pembrokeshire this summer

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NoFit State Circus is set to captivate Pembrokeshire once again this summer, as they bring back their thrilling big top show, Sabotage.

Returning to Haverfordwest from June 13th to 30th, NoFit State promises an experience unlike any other traditional circus. With no sad animals or tired tricks, Sabotage offers a fusion of circus and music, presented by a supremely talented troupe that leaves audiences in awe.

Described as “another full-on, boisterous, and audaciously fierce performance with the NoFit State signature style,” Sabotage introduces a darker, grittier, and more subversive edge to the troupe’s renowned contemporary circus.

“Back in the big top with incredible new acts, original music, new apparatus and a more theatrical feel, Sabotage challenges the status quo,” shares NoFit State. “This is an energising, uplifting, and socially relevant contemporary circus production.”

The show delves into themes of separation and belonging, with each scene narrating stories that range from poignant and heart-tugging to utterly joyful.

“We’ve had a hard time keeping this a secret, but we are finally ready to fill you in,” announced NoFit State yesterday. “Tickets for our big top show Sabotage are now on sale for Pembrokeshire, back in the place where we performed Sabotage for the first time ever back in 2022!”

Pembrokeshire holds a special significance for the troupe, and they invite audiences to witness how the show has evolved since its debut. This year, Pembrokeshire is the sole Welsh location where Sabotage will be performed, with an early bird offer granting spectators 20 per cent off their tickets until midnight on May 6th.

Sabotage will grace Pembrokeshire from June 13th to 30th, with ticket prices starting at £18. “More locations in the tour to be announced soon,” assures NoFit State. “Until then, enjoy your summer in Pembrokeshire in a shiny silver Big Top Tent with us.”

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Education

Pupils take centre stage for dance competitions

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MORE than 230 Pembrokeshire pupils have taken part in exciting dance competitions at primary and secondary school levels.

Sport Pembrokeshire hosted the primary school dance competition on March 19th at Fishguard Leisure Centre.

Seven schools from across the county and more than 160 pupils took part, including both boys and girls from school years 3-6.

All style and street dance were the categories that teams, solos and duos could enter. There were 55 solo performers entering the street dance solo category.

Pupils from Ysgol Bro Gwaun performed a group dance and some performed brilliant solos for the primary pupils to watch.

Finola (FF Dancers), Kelly (Kelly Williams School of Dance) and Lowri (Lowri Jones School of Dance) judged the high standard of competitions with dance coaches Lucy Kerrison and Kelci Francis helping out during the day.

They are all thanked for their help and expertise as putting on an event of this nature would not be possible without their valuable input.

Forty eight medals, 22 trophies and numerous certificates were presented, including awards for stand-out performers.

The atmosphere was great and it was brilliant to see the pupils taking part, getting creative and showcasing their skills, all with a smile on their faces.

The secondary schools dance competition was hosted on Thursday, 29th February at Haverfordwest Leisure Centre.

In total 77 girls from school years 7-11 competed in various categories such as teams, duos and solos. These included street, all style, freestyle, jazz and cheer.

Finola and Kelly judged the day with the help from Lucy and Kelci. Kelci, a former Ysgol Harri Tudur pupil, also gave showstopping performances.

It was a great day with a fantastic atmosphere and very rewarding to see so many girls taking part in sport and enjoying every minute.

Some of the schools who attended are now through to the UDOIT Dance Competition in Cardiff.

Hundreds of pupils have enjoyed school dance competitions over recent weeks.

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Entertainment

Coastal adventures and home revelations: BBC Wales’ exciting new lineup

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BBC WALES is set to enchant viewers with a fresh slate of programming that spans a rich tapestry of Welsh culture, lifestyle, and adventure. Leading the charge are Wales’s beloved presenters, Wynne Evans and Joanna Page, who will take audiences on a scenic journey with their new show, Wynne Evans and Joanna Page: Lost at Sea. This program promises to be a celebration of the Welsh coastline, packed with culinary expeditions, musical interludes, and the spirit of discovery aboard their motor yacht.

Nick Andrews, Head of Commissioning at BBC Cymru Wales, expressed excitement over the diverse array of new and returning series that aim to mirror contemporary Welsh life in all its vibrancy. From the nuances of cooking and music to the intricacies of interior design and the rustic charm of sheep shearing, there’s an offering for every palette.

Lost at Sea will see Evans, celebrated as 2023’s Celebrity MasterChef winner, and Page delving into Wales’s coastal treasures, from quaint fishing villages to bustling towns, unearthing unique dining experiences and cooking up storms themselves.

Another anticipated return is Wales’ Home of the Year, now in its third season with a special Christmas edition on the horizon. Judges Owain Wyn Evans, Mandy Watkins, and Glen Thomas will traverse Wales to spotlight homes that stand out for their architectural and design ingenuity, culminating in the crowning of Wales’ Christmas Home of the Year.

In a gripping narrative departure, Hunting Mr Nice will chronicle the life of Howard Marks, a Welshman turned notorious cannabis smuggler. This two-part series for BBC Two and iPlayer is set against the backdrop of the War on Drugs, featuring exclusive interviews that piece together Marks’ enigmatic existence.

Music aficionados can look forward to Kelly Jones with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, where Kelly Jones, famed for his Stereophonics legacy, will premiere new solo work alongside timeless hits, reimagined with orchestral flair.

Chris Cooks Cymru introduces viewers to Chris ‘Flamebaster’ Roberts, who embarks on a culinary journey across Wales, celebrating local cuisine against stunning landscapes and communal cookouts.

The lineup also boasts a slew of returning favorites and new ventures that explore Welsh life’s breadth, from the competitive spirit of sheep shearing in Rockstar Shearers to the heartfelt community project in Dream Team, and the spiritual and ecological explorations of Skanda Vale Life.

Nick Andrews lauded the lineup, highlighting the joy and impact talent-fronted shows have on audiences. With such a rich and diverse offering, BBC Cymru Wales is poised to keep viewers hooked to their screens, celebrating Welsh culture, heritage, and the universal themes of exploration, creativity, and community spirit. These shows are expected to roll out on BBC Cymru Wales and iPlayer in the coming months, promising a blend of entertainment, insight, and celebration for viewers across the UK.

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