Theatr Iolo is a producing touring company based in Cardiff, making theatre in English and Welsh languages for audiences ages 0-16 and their adults. As Artistic Director of the company, it has been an interesting couple of weeks to say the least! Despite preparing as much as we could for what rapidly seemed an inevitable shift of working pattern, it is still quite shocking to find ourselves in a transitionary world with projects put on ice indefinitely – yes of course we are rescheduling but who really knows?…
As a National Portfolio Organisation, we feel very lucky as we have been well cared for by the Arts Council Wales who have acted swiftly and with compassion. We have followed their example as much as possible by honouring all existing contracts as well as trying to generate what work we can for freelancers we work with regularly. We realise we are very lucky and want to help as much as possible.
Like most companies we are in the process of developing online product to share with our audience. We are creating some short films to highlight Owl at Home, our now postponed co-production with Theatre Orchard as well as screening a couple of our past productions; Chwarae and Llygoden yr Eira. We have also created interactive projects with a ‘Writers Call-Out’ for adults and a 10 min play writing competition accompanied with online playwriting tutorials for young people.
We are also very aware that this is a marathon and not a sprint. While we all scramble to fill the waves with yet more content in what is a fairly saturated market, we are trying to put our minds to what we really do best and that is to make live performance for young beings and how this will be even more necessary post lockdown. What might this look like physically as well as metaphorically in the stories we tell? Where might it take place? Who will come? And who do we need to take it to?
The landscape is shifting considerably and so whilst maintaining momentum we also need to keep our powder a little dry for the new world emerging as our young audience are going to need help, as we all will, in making sense of it. Our production of Owl At Home by Arnold Lobel ironically happens to be about an Owl living in isolation and coming to terms with it….it feels like this is a good place to start.