Monday, 29 October 2012

NWR Blog | xx Minifest of Women's Writing

BLOG Gwen Davies

NWR Issue 97

xx Minifestest of Women's Writing

"Had a good time on Saturday at this new festival for the writing of women from Wales and beyond. It was excellently organised (despite a concurrent beer festival at Chapter) and publicised by the team of Penny Thomas, Carole Burns, Amy Wack and Susie Wild. The audiences were large and the evening 'Salon', featuring the short story with Roshi Fernando and Rachel Trezise, sold out. The main delight for me was chatting in the bookfair section to Roshi about balancing international gigs publicising Bloomsbury's edition of her integrated short fiction collection, HomesickRead about it in NWR's Online Interview, Roshi Fernando, with developing her debut novel, The Elephant's Wife, an excerpt from which appeared last year in NWR 92, The Elephant's Wife Extract. "

Read the blog in full:

Friday, 26 October 2012

BBC Arts Blog: Women's writing celebrated at the xx minifest

Women's writing celebrated at the xx minifest

Friday 26 October 2012, 12:04

Tagged with:

Writing by and for women will be celebrated this weekend as the xx minifest of women’s writing 2012 takes place in Cardiff.
This inaugural festival will take residence at Chapter Arts Centre this Saturday, 27 October. It aims to publicise the range and diversity of writing by women from Wales in the English language, and encourages both men and women to attend and take part.
This one day minifest will act as a "taster session", as a more extensive literary programme is already being planned for 2013.
I put a few questions about the festival to Susie Wild, one of the co-organisers of the xx minifest. Wild is a writer, an editor at Parthian Books and she also organises the Cardiff Literary Salon, and will be holding a special edition of the literary gathering for the festival.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

PHOTO BLOG | WM | Why women write


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Published Wednesday 24 October 2012 at 11:14 by Susie Wild

Shakespeare’s classic fairytale forest farce is transposed to the home front during the Second World War. Air raid sirens sound as we join the cast in watching a charming silent railway rescue film - Help! Help! - and then the real action begins. Mappa Mundi and Theatr Mwldan have been creating and touring accessible new co-productions annually since 2006. Together with guest director Peter Doran of The Torch Theatre, Milford Haven, they have conjured a moonlit multimedia show of shadowy uncertainty where dreams play within dreams and even night is confused.
Most of the 13-strong cast are Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama alumni including a sweetly stubborn landgirl Hermia (Lisa Zahra), a haughty, snivelling Helena (Joanna Simpkins) and an American GI Lysander (newcomer Jack Brown) but not Francois Pandolfo, who turns a marvellously wicked Poe-inspired Puck. Throughout there is a tendency to overplay the laughs that leaves the show feeling uneven, and when they pare back they are funnier, as seen in some of the earlier lighter moments with joyful jester Bottom and the other japing players who make up the SAADOS (St Athens Amateur Dramatics and Operatics Society).
Designer Sean Crowley and lighting designer Ceri James set magical moods with multimedia flourish - the silent film, firefly fairies, and a cinematic, layered forest - as characters slip away from the big house to escape reality beneath a starstruck sky, skipping and tripping through the moonlight and shadows to find their hearts’ desires.

Production information

Borough Theatre, Abergavenny, October 23, then touring until December 8
William Shakespeare
Peter Doran
Mappa Mundi, Torch Theatre, Theatr Mwldan
Cast includes:
Richard Nichols, Lynne Seymour, Francois Pandolfo, Liam Tobin, Lisa Zahra, Sam Jones
Running time:
2hrs 42mins

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

WM | Why Women Write

I guest edited The Western Mail's women's supplement WM today, which included contributing a column and an xx feature...

Already snuggling up with a good book as the nights draw in – why not go out and see some of your favourite writers reading their work live this weekend? xx minifest is a celebration of women’s writing taking place at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff on Saturday, featuring readings, performances, book stalls and bookish discussion. WM caught up with three of the writers taking part...

Read More



Published Tuesday 23 October 2012 at 12:19 by Susie Wild

Gaza/Blaenannerch reveals Ladd’s personal reflections on the parallels between the disruption of nationhood and the disappearance of identity in the similarly sized countries of Wales and what used to be Palestine, and the ensuing dispersal of their people, scattering them well beyond their ancestral homeland. The idea for this sequence of expressive and intelligent dance pieces was sparked by the unmanned drones currently tested near the home of Ladd and the Welsh village of Blaenannerch.
In front of a screen that moves from slate to blood red, Eddie switches continents and moods, from the contemplative, the impish and playful to the tortured, the lost, the flailing as she uses her body as both storyteller and teaching aid. She wriggles and writhes, she clambers and climbs, occasionally throwing in facts verbally, or with the scratch of chalk on blackboards. Tone and emotional drive is further provided by Philip Glass’s ethereal String Quartet No.5. Simplistic yet bold symbolism is layered through the work with the shifting of stones - Eddie scrutinises the diaspora and serfdom they represent, carries the weight of it on her shoulders, gathering the flotsam and jetsam of people moved by shifting political tides.
Eddie Ladd has made a name for herself as one of Wales’ premier performers, producing poignant and provocative political work that elegantly presents Wales to the wider world, and draws the world to Wales’ backyard. Strong direction from Judith Roberts has tightened her new directions and language, resulting in this powerful and important multi-lingual hybrid of dance and physical theatre. As Ladd repeats: ‘What happens next is what matters.’

Production information

Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, October 22-23, then touring until 9 November
Judith Roberts, Eddie Ladd
Cai Tomos, Eddie Ladd
De Oscura
Eddie Ladd, Judith Roberts
Running time:
1hr 10 mins

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Grimm Tales

Published Wednesday 17 October 2012 at 14:40 by Susie Wild
Everyone knows that Grimm’s fairy tales are the best fairy tales, and as this year marks the bicentennial of their publication they are undergoing a resurgence of popularity assisted by Philip Pullman, who has recently released his Penguin Classic retellings of 50 of his favourite dark Brothers Grimm stories. For Grimm Tales production company Theatr Iolo has brought three of the better known folk tales - Hansel & Gretel, Ashputtel (the original Cinderella story) and Snow White - back into their original realm of oral heritage; staging them with Iolo’s usual blend of charm, verve, and playful humour.
Erini Gregoriades’ set - a puzzle of wooden doors and picture frames - enabled the cast to conjure the scary shadowy forests for Hansel and Gretel to get lost in, and Snow White to escape to, and Jem Treays’ enchanting movement design created energetic dances and hilarious, sweet dwarves. All four members of the cast are shape-shifting chameleons, easily switching between moods and characters as they tell their fireside tales but special mention must go to Elliot Quinn who provided many of the laughs.
Grimm Tales marks Theatr Iolo’s 25th year in making exciting, original theatre for children and young people and their families. Here’s to another 25 spreading even more dreamscapes and delight. This is a magical show with a healthy sprinkle of fear and gory squelch, and plenty to spark the imaginations of young and old.

Production information

Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, 16 October, then touring until 1 December
Jacob and Wilheml Grimm, adapted by Carol Ann Duffy, Tim Supple
Kevin Lewis
Theatr Iolo
Cast includes:
Wiebke Acton, Cassandra Jane Bond, Ceri Elen, Elliot Quinn
Running time:
1hr 45mins (short version 55mins)

Saturday, 13 October 2012


Cardiff After Dark, Maciej Dakowicz
Susie Wild examines a snapshot of the capital’s after-hours wrecked zone delineated by Caroline Street and St Mary Street

October 13th, 2012 

Polish-born, London-based photographer Maciej Dakowicz brings a sobering outsider’s eye to the night-life of central Cardiff, where he lived for seven years, co-founding the Third Floor GalleryAll the world’s a stage, but this photographer’s insightful gaze returns again and again to the performances of punters and pranksters on parade, imbibing on St Mary Street and then later stuffing faces and each other outside Tony’s.

He conjures tales of cowboys and Casanova, cigarettes and regrets. Cardiff After Dark is a hyper-real world, fuelled by Jaeger shots, graffiti-scrawled emotions and outfits and lipstick with the contrast turned up. A melting pot of lust, fistfights, bawling and blood-spattered brawling. The flesh-flashing mating rituals and macho tomfoolery. The headrush fun of it all, side-splitting, shirt-ripping hilarious to those in the moment, ugly to those who are not. A self-taught street photographer, Dakowicz observes, presenting us with a gulping gallery of Binge Drinking culture, freeze-framed images that hold up a mirror to our bad selves. [...]
Read my full review of Cardiff After Dark by Maciej Dakowicz on Click on Wales


Neville’s Island

Published Friday 12 October 2012 at 10:53 by Susie Wild
Black RAT have been striving to bring quality existing comedy drama to developing audiences in Wales, touring enjoyable productions of well-tested accessible scripts and actors in an attempt to pack out theatres in towns across the country. For this autumn season, they bring us Calendar Girls’ writer Tim Firth’s popular black comedy, Neville’s Island.
Telling the tale of four middle-aged, middle-management males shipwrecked on a rocky island in the Lake District after a training day goes downstream without a paddle, we see their careers and relationships hit the rocks along with their boat as cold, hunger and paranoia kick in. The single-set production physically puts its cast to the test from the domino of visual gags in the first scene and the four men are drenched, starved, covered in mud, blood and at the mercy of carnivores. Granny will also get some bonus gasp-a-go-go cheap thrills as at least one bum cheek flashed.
Gareth Bale (Richard Parker) plays to form as another acerbic, eternally grumpy bachelor all-at-sea without his duvet and waterside luxury apartment. Keiron Self (My Family) also returns to hapless form as a cuddly-jumpered Angus, armed to greet all eventualities of the wild with name tags, freezer bags and a really big knife. Early on, describing films of a similar premise, Angus correctly predicts how things will play out, forecasting confessions and showdowns before their rescue plane comes and, with some deliciously dark twists thanks to Peter Brad-Leigh’s doolally number-cruncher Roy, so it does.

Production information

Miners' Institute, Blackwood, October 11, then touring until November 17
Tim Firth
Richard Tunley
A Black RAT, Blackwood Miners' Institute, RCT Theatres
Cast includes:
Gareth Bale, Peter Brad-Leigh, Keiron Self, Jams Thomas
Running time:
2hrs 25mins

Monday, 8 October 2012

FForum @ Hand of Roath

I have a little gig as part of Made in Roath

You can find me doing a short set at FForum @ Hand of Roath – Queens Arcade, Cardiff at 2.20pm on Sunday 14 October 2012.