Finally, a week with the Agor Drysau Opening Doors festival.
The weeklong festival came with lots of different performances. They were mixed with fun, love, pain, reality, humor, and art. The 27 different countries represented at the festival all took part in the performances during the week giving all those who attended and who participated in a beautiful variety of sound, culture, and humanity. This was one aspect that I really enjoyed and will hold dear for the rest of my life.
I started the festival in the audience watching a performance of “Tripula”, a mind-blowing story of balloon travel in outer space with lots of humor and action to keep the audience glued to the stage. Similarly, other performances such as Refugi, Slip Stones, Transporter, Chwarae, Is This a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth, The River Says, Near and Far, Pinocchio, Beauty in the Geek, Pavement Earth, Un Petit Peu Plus Loin, Qui Pousse, Mur Mur and Pizza Shop Heroes were all beautifully done and captivated the children in the audience. The performance of “Slip Stones” had a very realistic approach in discussing the extensive research into children’s psychology. During the festival, I had the opportunity to meet with the performers from all the other countries. We shared stories about our art, travel and about life in general. We also talked about the refugee situation and the horrible conditions they live in. Some of the questions I was asked were, what is a refugee, who are they? In addition, what was the cause? Then we discussed the present refugee situation and how they are displaced, not only physically but also mentally. What would force people to leave their homes forever? What do you feel when as a mother she cannot provide food for your children? Entire families are dying in front of us and we cannot do anything for them. A young man told a story using a clown as the narrative about immigrant youth struggles in a foreign land, a small seed hope for new life and a dilemma between real and showy life, using natural objects to tell a story, and offering new ways of learning through play.
Yes, theatre can break boundaries and build bridges across the great oceans of the world. We need not worry about who is from where and who is going where. One situation that is weighing heavy on the world is the situation with Brexit. Equally raising the same voice that through art, culture, theatre, and performances we should make one world and one stage.
On the last evening, a farewell party was held at the local famous Pub, Yr Hen Lew Du. All the participants enjoyed drinks and danced while Roughion (Gwion the marketing assistant for the festival) played music. Every dance step was fascinating and all the dancers who were representing their countries did their traditional dance. I found that all the guests really enjoyed the evening. After the official farewell party ended, my friends and I decided to go to a local club where I found the atmosphere to be so expressive and exciting. Club culture is a big part of the town. The weekends are for rest where at least people can forget about the work week and give their body a chance to relax. After the farewell, I had only one day left in Wales, and I did not want to miss my opportunity to walk around Aberystwyth where I spent my 3 weeks. I am sure I will never forget this town or the Arad Goch Family who welcomed me with great warmth and hospitality. I will also miss the Turner Family who treated me like a member of their family. In addition, I will miss Mari whose support and love will remain with me for the rest of my life. On my first day and my last day she came to the train station and she waited there until my train arrived and departed. We just waved our hands at each other leaving me with an unforgettable moment. During my travel from Aberystwyth to Birmingham Int’l Airport, I was thinking about the Arad Goch family, all the people I met and the festival. I learned how we should promote our language, culture, and tradition through theatre, art, dance, music, social gatherings and community performances. I am sure this overall experience and knowledge I have gained from Arad Goch will always guide me to continue my work using art to help the communities and those working new methods that I can apply back in my home Nepal.
Words by Sunaina Panthy