Following the success of Llygoden yr Eira, their co-production with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, which was available for families to watch on YouTube during April, Theatr Iolo have made a selection of their past work available online, as well as commissioning a number of new pieces made especially for online platforms.
The theatre company, who make work for children and young people, had to cut short their tour of Welsh language production Chwarae in March and postpone their upcoming show Owl at Home which was due to embark on a tour of venues throughout Wales during May this year.
The company, who tour work in the UK and internationally, were first hit by the COVID-19 lockdown measures when their tour of Chwarae had to be cancelled just weeks before the end of the run.
Michelle Perez of Theatr Iolo says:
“We had three more venues left on the tour and we thought we’d make it to the end, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. Many of the audiences who had booked, including several schools, were unable to see the show and so we desperately wanted to find a way for them to experience it. Luckily, we had filmed the show for archive purposes at an early rehearsal, so were able to turn this into a full video of production.”
Chwarae, a Welsh language production about the joy and importance of play for children aged 4+ is now available to watch on the company’s YouTube channel, with subtitles available in both Welsh and English.
Following the tour of Chwarae, Theatr Iolo’s next production, Owl at Home, was due to embark on a tour of Wales this May. Based on the illustrated children’s book by Arnold Lobel, Owl at Home is the story of a solitary owl who, with no one to talk to, sings to himself and finds stange ways to pass the time. Owl at Home was due to be performed by actor and musician George Williams, so rather than leave the actor without work, Theatr Iolo asked him to make a short series of videos entitled George at Home, in which he reads the story from his garden shed.
Lee Lyford, Artistic Director says
“Completely by coincidence, the story explores themes of isolation, loneliness and how friendship can be found in the most unlikely of places – feelings that many people will be experiencing at this moment in time. This series of videos, in which George tells the Owl at Home story, offers children an opportunity for both entertainment and reflection. As humans, and even as owls, we thrive on connection and company. It’s so important to be able to find ways to connect in this strange world we find ourselves in.”
Readings of the story by George Williams can be found on Theatr Iolo’s YouTube channel, with subtitles in English. They are also available to listen to through Theatr Iolo’s podcast channel, making them accessible for those who are blind or visually impaired and perfect for bedtime stories. Owl at Home has been postponed until May 2021.
Theatr Iolo are also developing a new version of their past production, Transporter, by writer and performer Catherine Dyson. Funny, fearless and frightening, Transporter explores themes of identity, difference, conflict, and what it means to come or not come from somewhere. The story will shortly be available on their podcast channel as an audio play and for D/deaf audiences as a visual story, with graphic novel images and subtitles that accompany the production on the companies YouTube channel. Transporter will be available from Monday 15 June 2020.
You can find out more about Theatr Iolo’s online productions and podcasts by visiting https://www.theatriolo.com/iolo-online