The day my flight departed from Kathmandu, Nepal, I was so excited to be going to Wales for a 3-week program at the Agor Drysau Festival 2019 in Aberystwyth; a beautiful ancient seaside town. I came here from the ASSITEJ next-generation programme as the creative intern position. The program is designed to create new opportunities for learning and to enable international young and emerging artists and theatre professionals to expand their range to create new pieces. Arad Goch is going to celebrate its 30-year anniversary of leading this wonderful festival that has transformed so many lives. Aberystwyth, a beautiful university town and I will be joined together for a weeklong festival celebration.
When I was in school, I got an opportunity to learn about the history of Wales and the Welsh language, so I was thrilled to go to the festival and to meet the people of the town and learn about their culture, art, and history.
When I arrived at Birmingham International Airport at 6 Am, it was very cool but the sun’s rays were shining and following me during my train ride. A glimpse of Birmingham, once a town of industrial glory came on the way to the train station in the town of Aberystwyth, which is a cultural link between North Wales and South Wales. I came through all the beautiful hills, small traditional beautiful houses and met with very friendly people from different cultures. I received a very sweet message from Mari (Actor Manager); one of the founding members of Arad Goch Theatre, about picking up me in Aberystwyth Railway station. I was a little worried about finding Mari but she was already there and sent me a message describing what she looked like and what she was wearing. When I was searching for her, she appeared before me with a beautiful smile and asked me my name. The moment was really a memorable one for me. Before and after my arrival, the weather in Aberystwyth was light rain with a gentle breeze. On the way from the train station, Mari introduced me to one woman who said to me “thank you for bringing sunshine”. A sweet line that left me with very happy. During the drive from the station to Mari’s home, I was amazed at the beautiful design of the18th and 19th-century houses I encountered. We kept driving through brilliant medieval towns that reminded me of the long and wonderful history of this country.
On the day I arrived, I wanted to go to the Arad Goch Theatre and to meet all the members of the Theatre Company. Some members I met via Skype during my interview but it is always exciting to meet in person. After picking up my luggage from Jeremy (the company’s founder /Artistic Director) and Mari’s home, Mari gave me a ride to the theatre. While she was driving, she was showing me the directions from her home to the theatre. Later I found it was easy to explore the town while I was walking to the theatre.
The same day I got a good opportunity to visit the Arad Goch sets store located in another part of the town. Simon, Mark and I went to the set store/workshop to find props and figure out which suitcases we needed for the performance of “Refugi” Ibiza. Afterward, Simon showed me the beautiful area between his home and the theatre. When Simon and I were walking on the famous bridge street, he showed me the location where Cymdeithas Yr Laith Gymraeg held their first non-violent protest for the equality for the Welsh language in 1962. Simon talked about this medieval castle and the Pen Dinas Hill Fort, which I later found out, was very close to his home. During our walk, without knowing, we encountered all these historical and cultural sites. As we got closer to the theater, we looked at each other and said, “See you tomorrow”. After our goodbye, we both walked away and headed to our destination.
By Sunaina Panthy