2014-04-17
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Show celebrating Cardiff's Somalian community to be taken into city homes

Wales Online
Thursday, February 7, 2013

Poets Ali Goolyad and Hassan Panero
Poets Ali Goolyad and Hassan Panero


After staging a play in a city taxi, the National Theatre Wales’ latest production is set to take audiences into the front rooms of Cardiff’s southern suburbs.

The brainchild of a group of Somali poets, De Gabay will shine a spotlight on the Somalian community in Butetown through poetry and parades.

The day-long production will see audiences be split into groups and ushered into around 50 living rooms across Butetown and the nearby wards of Riverside and Grangetown.

After an intimate performance of poetry, they will then take to the streets of Cardiff towards the Senedd with a grand parade representing Butetown’s past and present generations.

The show will culminate in a “parliament of poetry” and end with a dazzling finale, which is being kept tightly under wraps until the performance day.

National Theatre Wales’ artistic director John McGrath said: “There’s something amazing about starting off in this very small intimate space and then ending up in a public place like the Senedd.”

The show is the creation of Daud Farah, Ali Goolyad, Ahmed Ibrahim, Hassan Panero and Ahmed Yusuf.
“We were approached by the poets after the Soul Exchange, who said they wanted to do a project centred around Butetown,” said John.

“The longer we worked on it the more we found there was an opportunity to do something quite special.”
An idea was developed to create a day-long project based in and around Grangetown. It was awarded funding of £175,000 over two years from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in 2011 and has been working with the community, providing workshops and events from their warehouse space in Cardiff Bay.

Creative Associate at the National Theatre Wales Gavin Porter said: “In a way, we’ve been embedded in the community since we started the project. We’ve really got to know the community inside and out.”

The organisers are appealing to any residents living in Butetown, Riverside and Grangetown with an interest in theatre to get involved in technical and backstage opportunities with the show.

An open session for anyone who would like to get involved will be held on Saturday, February 9 from 11 to 3pm in the Man Gwyn Room in the Wales Millennium Centre.

De Gabay will take place on Sunday, March 3. Ticket prices start at £1 and people can pay as much more as they like in order to help fund future National Theatre Wales projects in Butetown.





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