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Entertainment

Carmarthenshire Theatres digital success

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DESPITE Covid-19 forcing the closure of theatres across the UK over the past year, Carmarthenshire County Council’s theatres have continued to entertain thousands of people every week by embracing digital technology.

Llanelli’s Ffwrnes Theatre has been at the heart of the theatre group’s online endeavours lending itself perfectly to become a studio and base from which to create online shows.

Currently its online channel is attracting almost 22,000 viewers since the first run of digital shows were launched in October.

Since then audiences have been entertained with a number of live shows featuring local artists peaking at over 3,500 viewings in less than 48 hours for one of them.

A vibrant programme of digital shows followed, from online re-imaginings of plays, a streamed story telling series, Christmas and St David’s Day concerts, a virtual firework and light show to a documentary film and even an online art exhibition while its doors have remained closed to the public.

Audiences outside Wales and as far afield as Russia, Poland and USA have also been able to enjoy a taste of Welsh theatre.

Care home residents and staff have also been treated to two free online concerts.

The council’s executive board member for culture, sport and tourism, Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said: “While the restrictions on theatres have been challenging, and we’ve had to learn new skills quickly to be able to produce and stream shows online, one of the positives is seeing the reaction from our regular audience who have really valued having the opportunity to have a taste of the theatre at home. But what’s also been rewarding to see is how we’ve been able to provide theatre online to those hard-to-reach audiences such as care home residents, as well as finding new audiences across the UK and the even the world. It will be interesting to explore how streaming can exist alongside live theatre when we re-open so that we can maintain the new audience we’ve found through our online content and continue to provide digital theatre for those who, for many reasons, be it health or busy lifestyles, find it difficult to get to the theatre in person.”

Earlier this year Ffwrnes Theatre took on a new role as a mass vaccination centre to help with the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, but filming has still been able to take place in the main auditorium which is not being used for vaccinations.

The Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen has also found itself with a new purpose during the pandemic. Over the last three months Sky has taken over the building as a location to film a movie about the theatre itself. Save The Cinema tells the true story of Liz Evans, a hairdresser and leader of a youth theatre in the town, who began a campaign in 1993 to save the Lyric theatre from closure.   

To find out more about Carmarthenshire Theatre’s online programme and to see what shows are available now, please visit www.theatrausirgar.co.uk or take a look at the theatres’ social media channels.

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Entertainment

Open-air theatre returns to Pembrey Country Park this summer

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ALFRESCO theatre is returning to Pembrey Country Park this summer.

Theatrau Sir Gâr is hosting an exciting programme of outdoor theatre shows at the country park from August 11-23.

‘Theatrau Sir Gâr yn y Parc’ includes a varied line-up of family entertainment including two Proms in the Park events, comedy clubs, children’s theatre, live music from The Welsh Whisperer, an evening of classical music with Welsh tenor Rhys Meirion plus two amazing tribute acts, Shape of You – The Music of Ed Sheeran, and Woman Like Me – The Little Mix Show plus much, much more!

A temporary outdoor stage will be created at Pembrey Country Park especially for the event. No seating is provided and instead audiences are invited to bring their own outdoor chairs or blankets to sit on as part of this open-air theatre experience.

Carmarthenshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure Culture and Tourism Cllr Gareth John said: “We are delighted to bring this outdoor theatre experience to Pembrey Country Park once again this year for both local residents and visitors to enjoy.

“With a variety of shows to choose from, there really is something for everyone. And what better way to enjoy some live entertainment than in the beautiful surroundings of the country park.”

The full line-up includes:

• August 11, 7.30pm –  Rhys Meirion with Sioned Terry

• August 12, 7.30pm –  Carys Eleri: Discorét

• August 13, 12pm / 2pm / 4pm – Dance in the Park

• August 14, 2.30pm – Family Prom in the Park

• August 14 , 7.30pm – West End Prom in the Park

• August 16, 7.30pm – Welsh Whisperer a’r Hambon Band

• August 17 & 18, 11.30am & 2.30 – The Rascally Diner

• August 19, 7pm – Shape of You – The Music of Ed Sheeran

• August 20, 11.30am & 2.30pm – The Great Insect Games

• August 20, 5pm – Kids Comedy Club

• August 20, 7.30pm – Comedy Club (adults)

• August 21, 12pm & 3pm – Picnic in the Park. With special guest appearance from, Hey Duggee!

• August 22 & 23, 10.30am – 4pm – The Curious Case of Aberlliw (interactive family trail).

• August 23, 7pm – Woman Like Me – The Little Mix Show

Book tickets online at www.theatrausirgar.co.uk or call the box office on 0345 226 3510.

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Entertainment

The Welsh trance music producer making waves worldwide

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MANY in Wales have heard of Will Rees, a Welsh Trance music producer – but his international acclaim is now building. He became a resident DJ at Wales’ super club Escape at the age of 20. Since then he has gone on to produce his own music and released music on record labels such as Armada, Blackhole, Subculture, Kearnage, Future Sound Of Egypt and more.
Known for his Euphoric driving Trance sound but also a diverse producer tipping toes in different genres, he famously remixed for Armin Van Buuren, Gareth Emery, Bryan Kearney, Sneijder, Mark Sherry, Craig Connelly to name a few.
As well as collaborating with Artists such as Bryan Kearney, Craig Connelly, Paul Denton, Sam Jones & more, his original tracks have hit the number one spots on Beatport, and been supported by the worlds best Trance DJs.

The icing on the cake for Will was his music included, and having regular appearances Armin Van Buuren’s radio show. A seal of approaval from the de facto king of trance DJs.
You may have seen Will Rees at some top clubs. He has played at some of the worlds best venues and festival’s such as Dreamstate LA, Fabric London, Creamfields, Coloursfest, has forthcoming gigs and tours including Ministry Of Sound London, Thailand, Malta, USA and more.

This year has been a very strong year on the music front with tracks such as ‘Burnin’ Up’, ‘Waking Dream’ and his remix of ‘Luminosity Curve’ by Mark Sherry toping the beatport charts.

Will performed his first open to close set (6 hours) In Argentina in April 2022

Will performed a fanstastic outdoor set at Rhossili in Wales last year, one that dance fans said will be remembered for a long time to come. Check out the video here:


Check out all Will’s music on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/willrees

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Entertainment

Tywi Valley Open Studios

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Justine Burgess 'West Wales Willows' Photo Credit Dewi Tannatt Lloyd

TYWI VALLEY Open Studios Arts Trail has been held every year since 2013, apart from the last two years, making 2022 its 8th year. 

TVOS was winner of the Carmarthenshire Celebration of Culture Awards 2019.

After a two year break for Covid, the artists and makers are naturally delighted to welcome visitors back to our studios, working as normal. 

Many of the artists live in rural settings and are used to working in isolation, but the closure of galleries and shops has had to lead to major readjustments such as selling online. 

However, time to think has given them opportunities to develop new ideas that normally would have been put on the back burner. 

Visitors will be able to see these developments and the artists will enjoy this welcome company and the chance to talk about their work to interested visitors.

Visitors will be able to see artists at work or join in a workshop with an artistic activity.

As one of the artists says: “I remember as a child entering an artists studio was so exciting, so ‘other’. The feel, the inspiration and being able to see how it all happens was truly Magical and set me forth on a long path of painting and singing.

“In Adulthood, it is still thrilling to see a ‘personal’ space, a place of exploration, a place of work that is rarely shared. Artists love solitude to contemplate and evaluate thoughts, potters in turn develop shapes and forms with textures and glazes in much the same way. 

“A weaver may be discussing with themselves a new way of manipulating, a woodworker how better to enhance the beauty of natural wood, the materials’ colours melded into pure joy. This is why it’s so exciting to visit an ‘artists ‘ studio – it’s where alchemy happens.

“We are fortunate to have within our group very well known artists and makers and some for you to make your own discoveries ..

“Studio visits stay in the memory, there is special atmosphere waiting to be shared.”

Each studio is unique in what it has to offer. Artists will be demonstrating the current pieces on which they are working while some are also offering workshops and activities for visitors. 

Joining one of these workshops can be a good way to relax while learning something new.

There are sculpture workshops ranging from 2 hours to a whole day, drop in pottery activities such as throwing a pot on a wheel or trying Raku, wet felting and willow making, as well as decoupage, collage and glass fusing sessions. 

Taking place in the first week of the school holidays, many activities are suitable for children.

Free brochures with a map are available from shops in Llandeilo and Llandovery and tourist information centres. This can be used to locate which artists to visit. 

There are also suggestions of 5 different coloured routes each of which could be reasonably covered in a day, visiting a selection of studios.

Full details are on the website www.tywivalleyopenstudios.wales 

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