Shopping centre drama as young actors stage Quadrant show

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Pictured from the Volcano Theatre are Georgia-Bow Davies, aged five, with, from left, Quadrant Shopping Centre manager Lisa Hartley, and Volcano Theatre’s Artistic Director Paul Davies and performers CJ Ashen and Lucy Havard.

 

Shoppers at the Quadrant Shopping Centre are in for some drama on Saturday – literally.

Young actors from the Volcano Theatre Company will present their 40-minute play WeReallyWantToWinButWeDon’tWantToTryTooHard at 11am and again at 1pm for passers-by to enjoy.

The performance, a thought-provoking comedy, will feature six members of the company’s youth section who have been rehearsing hard for months.

Volcano artistic director Dr Paul Davies said: “These are young people who are thinking about pursuing a career in performing arts and over the course of the six months we’ve been working with them, they’ve all come a long way.

“We’re based in Swansea for the long term so as a group we’re interested in putting some cultural life back in to the city – that’s part of the reason we created the youth group in the first place.”

As a theatre company, Volcano produces a complete range of work, for many different audiences using professional actors throughout the year but the youth section was only launched in July.

Aged between 14 and 21, it attracts young people from all over who are interested in various aspects of stagecraft – but are not necessarily singing and dancing.

“There is already plenty of singing and dancing in Swansea,” said Paul. “We wanted to show these kids that there is something different and that if they didn’t want to do that there was still a role for them in the theatre.

“We want to see if they enjoy it and if people want to come and see it.”

Showcasing their talents in the Quadrant is an excellent opportunity for the group to raise its profile and for the youngsters to get a taste of public performance before going on to the National Youth Theatre festival in Fife later this year.

Many have already built up some stage experience by running a fringe festival in November that saw them perform alongside an eclectic mix of performers from musical quartets to stand up comics.

The show on Saturday however was created by the youngsters with Paul Davies through a series of summer workshops and deals with the fact that many of them were united in their dislike of sport.

He said: “The play deals with the fact that there is a feeling that sports are important if you want to get on in life, or be popular at school.

“So it’s partly about that and also about the concept of winning as a measure of success.”

Held during British Science Week, the production aims to explore the science behind the theory – examining the psychology of sport and of winning in particular.

Lisa Hartley, Manager of the Quadrant Shopping Centre, is a big fan of the arts and of theatre in particular and she said: “I really liked the idea of having a performance here in the Quadrant.

“It’s an unusual setting but it’s an ideal way for the theatre company to reach lots of people and is a great experience for the young performers.

“We want to make a visit to the Quadrant memorable and enjoyable and I’m sure this will make for a very different shopping experience.”

Running a theatre company is a complete change for Paul, who studied politics and philosophy at university before going on to spend many years as a political researcher in the House Of Commons.

The 56-year-old, who is married with three daughters, has now spent the last 20 years living on the Gower peninsula and building up his theatrical business with funding from the Arts Council of Wales.

“It keeps me pretty busy,” he said. “With the professional group we make work of all varieties – we have once production that is all about coal and another adaptation of a Chekov piece that is doing well – and it tours a lot.

“And then because most of these kids are still in school all their practice is done in the evenings or on weekends.”

WeReallyWantToWinButWeDon’tWantToTryTooHard promises to leave Quadrant shoppers feeling upbeat and Paul says it is a light-hearted piece, perfect for a break from Saturday shopping.

“It is set in the 1970s and when we have shown it before a lot of people laughed. I think people will find it entertaining, energetic and uplifting,” he added.