Meet Andrea, Rhiannon, Louise, Lynnett and Mandy. 

After a year of support from NTW TEAM since being Mother Courage and Her Children’s community ensemble these five women will carry out their first stage of R&D as a company in their own right. The group made of five very different women from across Merthyr are united in a passion to tell urgent stories that are relevant to their community, except Mandy, who’d be a dancer if she didn’t have policeman’s foot.

With the support of NTW TEAM the group will explore how to create a new piece of work, written by themselves, that aims to raise awareness of domestic violence towards women in the valleys. Like approaching many taboos, the women will inevitably face challenges over the next few weeks as they sensitively delve into the process, although this R&D comes at a time when other and prolific companies in Wales are fighting for the cause. 

In spring this year Creu Cymru, the development agency for theatres and arts centres in Wales received a People and Places grant of £239,143 from The Big Lottery. The Survivors project works in partnership with inclusive theatre company Chickenshed to deliver work in seven communities around Wales – partnering with regional theatre venues and support organisations, to work with people who have experienced domestic abuse, in a series of workshops and intensive creative sessions.

Working with these women over the past months has has been a privilege for me, more than ever seeing the value of art in the community and how powerful a tool it is to allow women a space outside of their day to day to develop skills, express themselves, and build the level of confidence needed to take affirmative action on the things they care about through creating their own work.

I'll be blogging about this each Tuesday for the next six weeks, but for now, thanks for reading.

Rachael x