Development Commissions candidates announced

Coreo Cymru and National Theatre Wales announce the successful candidates for their new partnership programme, Development Commissions

• Three Wales-based choreographers are given awards to develop works in progress
• More than 30 dance artists from across Wales applied for the new awards
• Each award of £6,000 will support the development of works in progress in Wales
• The new works have been inspired by Wales

Awards of £6,000 each to support the development of works in progress that have a strong dance/movement element and take inspiration from Wales, its people, history and/or landscapes have been announced on St David’s Day (FRI, March 1).

The successful choreographers are Sally Marie, Sean Tuan John and Caroline Lamb. They were among 32 applications from Wales-based dance practitioners and their collaborators under the Coreo Cymru and National Theatre Wales partnership programme, Development Commissions.

This new scheme encourages artists to develop work with collaborators and think outside the box with regards to where the work is presented has stirred the performing arts community.

The three recipients of the awards were selected by a panel made up of National Theatre Wales’s director John McGrath, Coreo’s creative producer Carole Blade and independent producer and dance-maker Marc Rees.

The new scheme is a strong example of the working ethos of Coreo Cymru, the dance development body established by the Arts Council of Wales to nurture the development of dance and dance artists in Wales and foster collaborations and innovative ways of work.

Carole Blade said the panel had a difficult but exciting challenge of selecting only three projects from a very strong lineup of applications. “We received an extraordinarily diverse range of applications and we are delighted with our final selection,” she said.

Sally Marie, who has recently finished a world tour of LOL with Protein Dance and is a multi award winning performer, is turning her attention to creating work. Her idea for the commission takes inspiration from Morfydd Owen and tells the story of this incredible young woman and Welsh composer, who came to know all sorts of artists in her time, including DH Lawrence, yet who never lost her Welsh roots.

Sally explained, “I will be exploring her relationship with the man she married, investigating her somewhat suspicious death, as well as her love of music, and will work with dancers, a pianist and singer to illuminate the story.”

‘The melancholy shipwreck’ a research performance project by Sean Tuan John (choreographer/director/film-maker) will explore two important and resonant historical facts surrounding Flat Holm island that lies off the South Wales coast in the middle of the Bristol Channel. Firstly, the devastating shipwreck that occurred on the rocks off the island in 1817 with all of the dead buried on the island and secondly, on 13 May 1897 radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi made telecommunications history, transmitting a radio signal across open sea for the first time.Sean said, “I’m so excited to have the opportunity to explore the possibilities of constructing a unique theatrical journey to and around an island and to experiment with the possibilities of the use of sonic technologies, audio soundtrack scores and how these sound elements can affect and inform the theatrical image in new ways I’ve never had the chance to explore before”.

The third commission will mark the 100th anniversary of the Senghenydd Mine Disaster by creating a site-specific intergenerational piece of theatre with local community members and professional performers. ‘Each for all, all for Each’ will be a collaboration between Caroline Lamb (Striking Attitudes) and poet and playwright Patrick Jones which aims to bear witness to the victims and those who survived and were forced to carry on without sons, fathers, husbands, grandfathers, brothers.

Caroline Lamb said, “Patrick and I want to make a work of quality that will be sensitive to the Senghenydd community. We plan to develop the piece from photographs taken at the time of the disaster and stories, both real and imagined, that will come from the people of Senghenydd in response to the event. Working in this way will allow the work to remain rooted in, and sensitive to, the community.”

The aim of the programme is to work with the artists to help them create truly inspiring dance theatre that has the potential to be later developed into a co-production with Coreo for NTW’s main programme.

John McGrath said, “I’m delighted that NTW and Coreo Cymru are working together to explore the possibilities of dance theatre in Wales. We’ve found three great projects for this first round of research and development, and we are all very excited to find out what these wonderful artists will discover on the journey ahead.’

Along with the finance support, Marc Rees will mentor the artists giving them guidance on creating site-specific work and cross art form collaborations. He commented, “This exciting new initiative attracted many excellent proposals which is tremendously encouraging as the dance / theatre crossover form has so much potential. I look forward very much to seeing the results which I’m sure will have a very positive impact on the cultural scene within Wales and further afield.”

Carole Blade added, “This programme will provide many new opportunities to share skills and practice, not only for the artists it supports but also for the partnership between NTW and Coreo. The impact that NTW has had on the community within such a short period is awe inspiring and I very much looking forward to working with the NTW team into the future.”

The three R&D projects will be developed between April and December of this year with the aim of at least one project being developed further into 2014/2015.