Just the Beginning… / Dim ond y Dechrau… by / gan Zoë Waterman

This will be the final blog from our R&D week, reflecting on what we set out to do and where we are now. As Illumine Theatre’s first project the last week had been far more than the sum of its parts – launching ourselves as a company; delving into areas of theatre practice that were entirely new to us; and developing a script that we hope will become the basis of our first full production.

We entered into this R&D period open to the idea that having a deaf character – played by a deaf actor – may not work, or may not be something we felt we could support at this stage. We have left the process convinced that it is absolutely the right thing for the story we are telling in this particular play, and for us as a company. Introducing the thread of congenital deafness to the script has opened up many new possibilities for the story and the mode of storytelling. Working with a deaf actor has opened my eyes as a director and ours as a company to new ways of working and new languages to explore. Working with Maggie Hampton and Jonny Cotsen with support from Disability Arts Cymru and Taking Flight Theatre has allowed us to build relationships with fellow creatives and launch Illumine Theatre in a very supported way. Finally, it feels important politically to launch our company with a clear and visible commitment to equality and accessibility, one which we intend to take through everything we do as Illumine.

We have also left this week having consolidated our collaboration with Professor Jacky Boivin at Cardiff University and with many exciting ideas about how we can take this relationship further as we move forward with the script in partnership with her.

Today we ended the R&D period with a meeting based on the practicalities of how we can move forward with this project into a full production next year. We explored the logistics of budgets and venues, possible future collaborations and marketing strategies with Emma Evans, a fantastic and very experienced producer who was able to help us to see the steps needed to take this project, and Illumine Theatre, on the next stage of our journey.

So, the end of our first project and a very successful R&D, but just the beginning for the play and for Illumine Theatre.

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Dyma’r diweddariad diwethaf o’n hwythnos ymchwil a datblygu, er mwyn cnoi cil am yr hyn y ceisiom gyflawni a ble ry ni arni nawr. Roedd yr wythnos ddiwethaf yn wythnos fawreddog i gwmni Theatr Illumine – wrth lansio’r cwmni ac archwilio agweddau o theatr a oedd yn hollol newydd inni, a datblygu sgript gobeithiwn fydd yn sail i’n cynhyrchiad cyntaf.

Dechreuom y cyfnod hwn o ymchwil a datblygu heb wybod yn iawn a buasai cael cymeriad – ac actor – byddar yn gweithio, neu yn rhywbeth y byddem yn gallu ei gefnogi ar hyn o bryd. Wrth orffen y broses, rydym yn sicr mai dyma yw’r ffordd gywir i adrodd yr hanes yn y ddrama hon i ni fel cwmni.  Mae cyflwyno’r cysyniad o fyddardod gwybyddol yn y sgript wedi cynnig nifer o bosibiliadau gwahanol i’r modd o adrodd y stori, yn ogystal â’r hanes ei hun. Beth sydd wedi bod yn agoriad llygad imi fel cyfarwyddwr ac i ni fel cwmni yw gweithio gydag actor byddar, sydd wedi datgloi ffyrdd ac ieithoedd newydd i’w harchwilio.  Mae gweithio gyda Maggie Hampton a Jonny Cotsen gyda chymorth Celfyddydau Anabledd Cymru a theatr Taking Flight wedi ein galluogi i adeiladu perthynas gyda phobl greadigol ac ennyn y gefnogaeth angenrheidiol er mwyn lansio Theatr Illumine.Yn olaf, mae’n teimlo’n bwysig yn wleidyddol i lansio ein cwmni gydag ymroddiad clir ac amlwg i gydraddoldeb a chynhwysiant, ac rydym am barhau i gadw’r gwerthoedd yma’n greiddiol i bob dim ni’n cyflawni fel Illumine.

Rydym hefyd wedi adeiladu ar ein perthynas newydd gyda’r Athro Jacky Boivin o Brifysgol Caerdydd yr wythnos hon, a gennym nifer o syniadau cyffrous ynglŷn â sut gallwn ni ddatblygu’r bartneriaeth yma wrth i ni symud y sgript hon yn ei blaen.

Heddiw fe orffennom y cyfnod ymchwil a datblygu gyda chyfarfod ynglŷn ag ymarferoldeb sut y gallwn ni symud y prosiect hwn ymlaen i gynhyrchiad llawn y flwyddyn nesaf. Ymchwiliom oblygiadau cyllideb a lleoliadau, gydweithredu posib yn y dyfodol a strategaethau marchnata gydag Emma Evans, cynhyrchydd profiadol ffantastig a galluogodd ni i weld y camau nesaf sydd angen ar y prosiect, ac i Theatr Illumine, er mwyn gwireddu’r cam nesaf ar ein taith.

Felly dyna ddiwedd ein prosiect cyntaf a diwedd ar gyfnod llwyddiannus iawn o ymchwil a datblygu – sydd megis dim ond y camau cyntaf i’r ddrama a’r cwmni Illumine ei hun.

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