Arad Goch’s Opening Doors Festival celebrates 10 years with support from UK Shared Prosperity Fund and ARFOR

When the Moon spun Around
Ble mae’r dail yn hedfan

Back in March of this year, Arad Goch was busy celebrating its 10th anniversary of the Opening Doors Festival which was established in 1996. Opening Doors is a Welsh international theatre festival for young audiences and is organised by Arad Goch Theatre Company in Aberystwyth.

Performances, workshops and talks took place in the town of Aberystwyth, the home of the festival, and at other theatres in Wales. The festival aims to give children, young people and families in Wales the chance to see some of the world’s best theatre productions and give international programmers and producers the chance to experience the richness of Wales’ performing arts.

Ceredigion County Council’s Economic Strategy aims to provide opportunities for young people who wish to stay and develop a career in Ceredigion that aligns with the support the Opening Doors Festival has received through the UK’s Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and ARFOR. The UKSPF is a central pillar of the UK Government’s Levelling Up agenda and administrates the Council’s Cynnal y Cardi team. The main aim of the fund is to foster pride in place and improve life opportunities across the UK which opens the curtains to the Opening Doors Festival.

Nia Wyn Evans, Business Director at Arad Goch, said: “We are delighted to announce the success of our 10th Opening Doors Festival, an international theatre festival for young audiences, that took place from 12-16 March 2024. A total of 53 magical theatrical performances took place, showcasing the talents of 19 great companies from Wales, Italy, Belgium, Ireland, Australia, and England. 5,705 participants/audience members attended the performances during the festival. Our diverse programme offered a variety of stories and performances, providing entertainment and inspiration for audiences of all ages. We look forward to continuing our mission of bringing quality theatrical experiences to young audiences for many years to come.”

Four full days of around 30 performances were hosted by 16 companies from Wales and from overseas for Ceredigion children, young people and families. The vision is to provide the only international theatre festival in Wales, and to give Ceredigion’s rural audiences the same access and opportunity to international events as the larger towns and cities. World-class learning and creative activities were provided for children, young people and adults within their communities. Ceredigion primary schools attended performances, giving local children from all walks of life the opportunity to visit the theatre and consider Aberystwyth as part of global culture. There have also been performances at Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan and Theatr Felinfach, Dyffryn Aeron.

Councillor Clive Davies, Ceredigion’s Cabinet Member responsible for the Economy and Regeneration said: “The festival was a huge success, promoting Aberystwyth and Ceredigion on an international platform by acting as a shop window for the town as well as the work on show. It contributed to the economy of the area while attracting visitors from other parts of Britain and from abroad and boosted tourism by contributing to Aberystwyth’s image as a cultural tourist location. The festival has been a contribution to economic regeneration by raising the profile of the area and its natural resources.”

ARFOR has been very supportive of Cwmni Theatr Arad Goch, as a Welsh Government funded programme operating in the traditional Welsh language heartlands; within Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Anglesey Councils.

Nia added: “Arad Goch Theatr Company is one of the few creative organisations that operates completely and consistently through Welsh, creating all their productions in Welsh and translating them, afterwards, into English and other languages. To contribute to the realisation of the Welsh 2050 strategy, children and young people, and their families, must be offered positive opportunities to use Welsh informally.

“Children and young people in the area will benefit from these projects as well as families and the local community. It is important as a company to offer a broad cross-section of activities in order to be open to all ages to join in our work/activities. We will also be targeting and helping new Welsh speakers – so that they are included in the activities.”

The campaign consists of four elements under ARFOR support:
Arad Goch Swnllyd: A new music project that will be developed with other organisations such as Y Selar and Gigs Cantre’r Gwaelod to bring together experienced Welsh musicians and young people to write, record and produce music
Welsh Amateur Drama Company: A project to establish a Welsh drama company for adults at Canolfan Arad Goch which will focus on preparing theatre productions for children using Arad Goch resources.
Family Participatory Activities: A project for families; children and their parents / adults to organise activities relating to the backstage.
Technical Courses: A project that provides practical courses through the medium of Welsh for young people up to the age of 25.

For more information, visit Arad Goch’s website: Arad Goch – Arad Goch Theatre Company

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