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National Theatre Wales
March 2013
In Butetown, Cardiff

De Gabay

Directed by Jonathan Holmes

Two years ago a group of Somali poets from Butetown walked into the National Theatre Wales office and said they wanted to make a show...

Their award-winning story begins in Somalia and sails to Cardiff’s Tiger Bay on Sunday 3rd March where you can join us.

Click here to read our guide for audience members.

Ticket Holders
10.00 - 11.30 Check in at Wales Millennium Centre to collect your passport
11.45 - 14.00 Visits to homes across Butetown

Non Ticket Holders
14:30 - 16:30 Two parades: one starting at the top of Bute Street and the other in Loudoun Square, ending at the Coal Exchange
17.15 - 19.30 A parliament at the Senedd and a spectacular finale at the waterfront, Cardiff Bay

Supported by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Butetown Residency

Working in an enormous range of locations, we are committed to deep and lasting engagement with the communities, venues and spaces where we rehearse and perform. Our Year 3 programme focuses on a series of residencies - in Butetown, Tokyo, Anglesey and Treorchy - bringing as many aspects of the company's activity as possible to each location, sharing ideas and ways of working, and learning new things from our hosts.

During February 2013 we’ll be based in Butetown creating De Gabay, hosting events and inviting you to join us at our warehouse space.

Our residency in Butetown includes support for five new ideas through our WalesLab initiative:

  • A Wibidi Musical, Wibidi
  • Last Words, Anthony Brito
  • SEEN but not HEARD, Genaya Parris
  • Our Mothers Were Sisters, Wella Corria, Leila Mohamed Mason & Louise Osborn
  • Aftaag Legacy, Said and Mohamed Dualeh

There will also be TEAM events in our Butetown space throughout February and March 2013:

  • TEAM Wrap Party (Saturday 2nd February, 1-4pm) - an afternoon of performance and conversation created by TEAM members. This is an opportunity to find out more about National Theatre Wales, help us make decisions about the future and meet other TEAM members from across Wales
  • Taster Sessions (Tuesday 5th February, 6.30 - 8.30pm): Acting and performing, digital photography, guerrilla marketing, music, design and costume, social media and blogging, and dance. This is an open workshop so just drop in.
  • Weekly workshops with local artist Kyle Legall using photography, film and spray paint to create pieces which will be used to promote De Gabay
  • Word4Word - our spoken word and poetry event showcasing talent from Butetown and beyond

Poets
DAUD FARAH
ALI GOOLYAD
AHMED IBRAHIM
HASSAN PANERO
AHMED YUSUF

Core Cast
SARAH AMANKWAH
PETER BRAY
ALI GOOLYAD
TOMOS JAMES
ANNE LANGFORD
LAILA MASON
JO MUNTON
ADURA ONASHILE
HASSAN PANERO
DEAN REHMAN
CAROLINE SABIN
YUSRA WARSAMA
WELLA
WIBIDI
JULIANA YAZBECK
AHMED YUSUF

Featuring
MARYAN MURSAL

Director
JONATHAN HOLMES

Designer
LUCY WILKINSON

Lighting Designer
MARTIN HUNT

Musical Director
DAN LAWRENCE

Sound Designer
MIKE BEER

AV Designer
JON STREET

Associate Director
MATHILDE LOPEZ

Assistant Director
ELISE DAVISON

Click here to see the full list of participants and contributors.

Jonathan Holmes, Director

For me it began with a walk around the bay in the dead of winter, with a series of ideas imagined over lunch by the mosque, and most of all with poetry. Of course, none of us talking so excitedly at the end of that cold day in December 2010 knew how the project would grow – in scope, in scale, in vision – but it is curious to look back and see how the ingredients of that first meeting – a walk, hospitality, poetry – have remained central to De Gabay ever since.

In Somali culture, de gabay (poetry, song) is not only about expression, about art. It is about parlaying ideas between contesting groups; about conflict resolution; about philosophy. It is a ritual, and one that plays a lively role in shaping a community. This is what grabbed my interest; a view of poetry that focussed on how it can be used to change a situation.

In its origins, theatre had the same role in European culture – one we’ve largely forgotten. It was a forum, a ritual through which a group could talk to and about itself non-violently, perhaps solve problems. It’s a role that we are now re-learning at the hands of our new friends in Butetown, for whom this is obvious, and this is what is so exciting – and scary. We’re making it up as we go along.

It’s extraordinary that a group of people who want to change their lives chose poetry and theatre as the way to do it, and it has caused me to rethink my ideas of what theatre can be - something I know I’ll continue to do so for quite a while after March 3rd. For this I’ll be ever grateful to the guys who took me on that tour of Butetown fourteen months ago.