Aberystwyth writers share new work

playpen boz grodenScriptography Productions is back with Crash Test at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Wednesday 30th September.

Following their successful Edinburgh Fringe Festival run with Catrin Fflur Huw’s play To Kill a Machine which explores the story of Alan Turing’s treatment by the government and society for his sexuality, Scriptography Productions is back supporting writing and writers in Ceredigion. The company performed to sell out shows, received a string of 5* reviews, were nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and are currently in talks for a UK and world tour of the play.

Crash Test is a scratch night which offers writers and performers the chance to share work in development with a supportive audience. It includes work from Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Writing for Performance Group along with several other writing groups and individuals from Aberystwyth. Previous scratch nights have included comedy sketches, cabaret, plays, short film scripts, storytelling, poetry, performance art and stand-up comedy. The evening has an open slot in which individuals are welcome to present any form of text based work.

Image Gan By Keith Morris

Image Gan By Keith Morris

The evening is hosted by performance artist, writer and stand-up comedian James Baker who recently performed his own one man show, You have to be mad to work here and it doesn’t even help, at Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

Crash Test will feature some special guests invited to inspire writers about different ways to create work. First is Cardiff based writer, performer Jemma Llewellyn who will be performing some work in development and then answering questions about working from autobiographical material. Also appearing will be Rick Yale who recently appeared as The Betray in To Kill a Machine who will be performing a piece written especially for him by Catrin Fflur Huws. In addition Joanna Bond will be along to share some work and talk about her current project Singing the Line into Existence which will be shared at Ceredigion Museum on 3rd October.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Producer Sandra Bendelow said, “It’s great to be back at the beginning….. To Kill a Machine has been an incredible success but without groups like Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s Writing for Performance Group and nights like Crash Test we don’t get to the end product of amazing plays like To Kill a Machine. This is what the company is about, nurturing writers and helping them get the confidence as beginners to get those first few pages performed and then helping them work through and test work until they get better. But most of all I would recommend audiences just come along to Crash Test, we have some great local performers who get to really show their skills and we have lots of fun. It is very informal, very supportive.”

If you are interested in participating as either writer or performer then contact scriptographyproductions@gmail.com


Crash Test Thursday 11th June

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Crash Test night will be back on Thursday 11th June at Aberystwyth Arts Centre at 7.45PM.

Crash Test is a scratch night at which local writers are invited to share work in progress with a supportive audience. All forms of performance are welcome the only restriction is that it must involve words.

Crash Test has taken place throughout Aberystwyth and Borth over the last few years and has proved very popular with audiences, writers and performers.

Previous scratch nights have included poetry, comedy sketches, performance cabaret, stand-up comedy, short plays, short film scripts, storytelling, play excerpts. We have presented a debut stand-up comedy performance from Julie Grady-Thomas and the first ever public performance of a play in development by James Baker.

Crash Test night at Boulders Café Borth in June 2013

Crash Test night at Boulders Café Borth in June 2013

The new scratch night is produced by Scriptography Productions and offers a chance for writers from the Aberystwyth Art Centre’s Writing for Performance group to scratch their work whilst also inviting other writers to take the opportunity to test their work in an informal and friendly environment.

Scriptography productuions recently toured a new play by the Writing for Performance Group’s Catrin Fflur Huws – a play about Alan Turing called To Kill a Machine which has received one of only 10 Arts Council Wales ‘Wales in Edinburgh’ grants to take the play to Zoo Aviary from 7th – 31st August.

Scriptography Productions will also be announcing on Thursday 11th June a new call for submission of ideas as it begins the search for the next To Kill a Machine.

If you would like to share work please contact scriptographyproductions@gmail.com , we have performers who are available to perform short plays and if you would like to perform your work yourself then simply come along on the evening.

Participating performers and writers get FREE entry, all other tickets are £5 (£3). Tickets can be booked through the Arts Centre Box Office on 01970 623232.

Crash Test Wednesday 4th March

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????We are holding a very special Crash Test on Wednesday 4th March at the newly re-opened Brynamlwg. We are very pleased that some of the Aberystwyth Arts Centre Writing for Performance Group have been selected to take part in the Dirty Aberystwyth with Dirty Protest Theatre. The writers wanted to test out the work so we thought we might as well have a Crash Test and throw in some other work in progress, some poets and some short stories. We are also very pleased that some of the Chinwag poets will be coming along to join in the evening ahead of their evening on 11th March at Aberystwyth Arts Centre. The evening starts at 8PM. We look forward to seeing you for this very special edition of Crash Test.

We are having a party with Cassandra and you are all invited

Image by Keith Morris

Image by Keith Morris

Response Time will be returning this weekend with it’s unique form of performed response to art, space and environment with a response to Cassandra’s Rant by Shani Rhys James at Ceredigion Musuem.

So what exactly is unique about it and what is a performed response you might ask. Two very good questions!

Response Time is a collective of artists and performance makers from varying disciplines of performance including dance, performance art, playwrights, physical theatre, poetry. They are given 48 hours to respond to an exhibition – responding to the art, space and environment.

The project started at the Gas Gallery in Aberystwyth where responses included Transitions, Beneath The Surface, Open Space and Adleisio which have included exhibitions by Annie Suganami, Catrin Webster and artists from Aberystwyth Printmakers. At Aberystwyth Arts Centre we responded to Tim Shaw’s Black Smoke Rising and we responded to Artes Mundi 6 at both National Museum Wales and the Ffoto Gallery in Penarth.
exhibition shaniThe participants spend 48 hours in the gallery and are asked to create a short piece of work which we then collectively curate into about an hour of performance. The audience are invited along at the end and follow us through a promenade performance of the pieces. The 48 hours demands an immediate response – there is no time to think too much about it. Participants have to formulate their initial responses, their gut reactions to the work because there is simply not enough time to do anything else.

There are no restrictions on the work that participants create – we simply ask that it is a response to the art. It allows the participants a freedom to explore their own work and practice through the stimulus of art, space and environment. Effectively they can leave whatever project they are working on, and ideas about how they normally work at the door and enter a space for 48 hours in which they can play. Very importantly it offers the chance to gain valuable and rare performance experience. Everyone knows it is a piece of work created in 48 hours and so it will not be polished, it will probably not be complete, and so the participants can also simply enjoy sharing the work with an audience.

Also importantly we respect the work and the artist – we have spent 48 hours with the work, we have lived with it for two days, we have probably seen things that a quick visit to a gallery will not offer, we have looked at it from different angles, we have challenged our own thoughts on it, and interrogated our thoughts on it, it has haunted our dreams and kept us from sleeping. We will through the 48 hours fall in love with, fall out of love with it and then fallen back in love with it – and occasionally sworn revenge on it.

We have declared on several points through the 48 hours that we are simply not worthy of the art, we have become intimidated by the hours, days and weeks the artist has taken on each piece and been overwhelmed by the thought of how we can possibly express something worthy of what the artist has put into the work.

Also though we have had fun, been part of a great and growing collective, we have had a space to play, a space to talk, a space to chat about what is bothering us about our work and the world. We have shared 48 hours of magical moments and we’ve opened up our hearts to the art and the artist and we’ve been brave enough to share our thoughts and ideas to an audience.

Shani Rhys JamesTomorrow we will begin that journey with Cassandra’s Rant an exhibition of Shani Rhys James automata at Ceredigion Musuem – we will be sharing the work as part of the official opening of the exhibition on Saturday 14th February at 12PM. Come along, see the exhibition and see what we have created. We will probably look tired but we will be really pleased to share what we have created with you.

If you would like to take a look at what we get up to through the 48 hours then do call into the museum during the next two days – or follow us on www.facebook.com/scriptographyproductons or @scriptography

If you would like more information on the project then contact us at scriptographyproductions@gmail.com

Artes Mundi Response Timii (The correct plural of Time) by James Baker

James BakerFor those of you that don’t know what a Response Time is: Sandra Bendelow marshals a group of writers, artists and performers, takes them to a gallery space, and gives them 48 hours to make some performances in response to the Art in the Gallery (or the Gallery itself and its environment,) which are performed to a public audience at the end of the time. It’s crazy.

In October and December, Artes Mundi invited us to create responses to two of its locations (The National Museum in October and the ffotogallery in December).

These were the 8th and 10th Response Time events, and the 7th and 8th ones I attended, but they marked a new and exciting phase for the project, and weren’t like anything that came before it. At least in terms of logistics. Normally the events take place in Aberystwyth, with all the participants being more or less local, but these involved trekking down to a CITY. A CITY. And staying there for the duration of the process. It was definitely a bizarre experience, not being able to go home, but it was heart-warming to discover I can maintain a happy, homey, procrastination schedule even in the most unusual of conditions. Home is where you have a corner with a plug socket and a wifi connection.

The first event, in the National Museum was the biggest change, the space was vast and… Cold, I guess? Partly that’s down to the sheer size of it (The Gas Gallery, our usual home, could have fit inside it many times over,) and partly the clean and clinical nature of a big, modern art gallery. Lots of big open spaces and clean white walls. It’s hard to say if the work itself was more… cool and alienating than I’m used to working with, or if it was just the space that gave that impression. This had a noticeable effect on, if not my actual process of creation, then the mood of it; usually we’re all working together in a small space, able to observe and chat, but here we could each work individually, undisturbed for long periods.

The second space, the ffotogallery in Penarth, was much more like home, and I settled in to it immediately. A lovely, small space.

Response Time: Open Space. Image by Keith Morris

Response Time: Open Space. Image by Keith Morris

The two processes and performances ended up being fairly radically different. The first was a large group of us (9), responding to lots of different pieces, and taking the audience on a hefty journey around the space, which led to a very choppy sort of thing. It was difficult to achieve a real sense of flow (I didn’t envy Sandra’s Job of jigsawing our work together into a whole. At all.) While the second was a small group (6 of us), responding to 4 artworks, by 2 artists, in 3 rooms, and ended up really cohering, despite the various differences in performance tone, style and energy.

I think overall, I preferred the second event, even though the piece I produced at the first one is one of my favourite performances I’ve created, and the piece I made at the second is the first time I’ve really felt like I needed extra time… I just needed another day to really work out what I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say it.

If you’re a playwright, a poet, a prose writer (can we start calling them “prosers”?), an actor, a dancer, a musician, an artist, a photographer, a documentarian, a film maker, a… sculptor(?), whatever… I cannot recommend getting in touch with Sandra at Scriptography Productions and enquiring about getting involved with one of these things in future. Response time has radically developed my creative practice. There is nothing I’ve found to equal that buzz of adrenaline in going from a standing start to performing to an audience in 48 hours. Being unable to prepare, having to rely on inspiration, or an approximation thereof, and throwing caution to the wind, throwing out perfectionism, and just MAKING ART is an amazing experience, and I’ve been able to take those new styles and practices into my life in general.

You can follow James Baker
Website http://JamesBakerPerforms.weebly.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-Baker-Performance-Maker/627317057395999
Twitter  @James_Baker


Response Time Artes Mundi 6 Turner House Gallery

We would like to invite you to come along on Thursday 11th December for a lunchtime performance at Turner House Gallery 1.05PM for the latest Response Time project.

What is Response Time?
Response Time is a performed response to art, space and environment working in art galleries and spaces that exhibit art. It began at the Gas Gallery in Aberystwyth and has since produced responses to Tim Shaw’s Black Smoke Rising at Aberystwyth Arts Centre and the Artes Mundi 6 at National Museum Wales.

Response Time challenges multi-disciplinary and cross art-form performance makers to respond to art in the form of live or digital performance in 48 hours. The focus on the project is providing young and emerging artists the opportunity to develop their performance skills and their practice alongside more experienced performance makers in a supportive and creative framework.

What will the performance be like?
Response Time is difficult to predict, we literally never know what is going to happen, with the individual pieces – it could be poetry or a play, it could be dance or physical theatre, it could comic or it could be devastatingly sad. We often have a visual artist decide to write text or a playwright decide to do an entirely physical piece. Then as we curate it together into a performance, most of the time it is a mixture of everything along with a few things that defy definition, sometimes words dominate sometimes there is an glaring emptiness of words.

We have just 48 hours to respond and to form that response into a performance so we can guarantee it will be immediate, raw and authentic,  and it will worthwhile. We can offer you the chance to see art and see art through the eyes of a collective of performance makers who may well go off in all sorts of random directions which is what makes this project very unique. We can promise you that a visit to a gallery will never be the same again after you have experienced a Response Time.

It is very informal – we have just 48 hours to put this together so we are sharing work that may well have been written five minutes before we start.

Who is doing it?
Participating artists include James Baker, Caroline Stockford, Hayley Addis, Sandra Bendelow, Cet Haf, Petra Aydin Barberini and Mar Shro Gora. Though we quite often grab a few extra people along the 48 hours and occasionally lose a few too. It is very easy to get lost in galleries!

This lunchtime performance will also include performances from the Third Age Critics.

What’s next for Response Time?
On February 14th Response Time will be responding to an exhibition of Shani Rhys James automatons at Ceredigion Museum Gallery. If you are interested in being involved in Response Time then contact scriptographyproductions@gmail.com

Naomi Heath talks about responding to Artes Mundi 6

A blog post – An attempt. Having been asked to write a guest post about my experience responding to Artes Mundi #6. I was full of vigour. Confident even. Then I realised the problem – how to keep this short when I am not sure even where to begin? It’s hard to quantify or qualify the exact narrative that will escape these fingertips at the best of times.

So what is Response Time?  You could say “The Response Time project is a 48 hour challenge for performance makers from a wide range of mediums to respond to the art, space and environment of a Gallery producing a performed response which is shared with an audience.” However, for me as an artist it’s the opportunity to share creatively, collaborate and engage with art.

Why do I participate? Over many Responses Times I have had the pleasure to get to know  some incredibly passionate and talented artists in many mediums. Also, I admire Sandra Bendelow, who has lovingly created a platform for emerging and established artists to collaborate through this Response Time project. This platform allows for new narratives about art that are both mental and physical.

Why participate in a Response to Artes Mundi? Artes Mundi is a deeply important exhibition of works that are important to the culture of Wales. I could go on for hours about this, however I promised to make this blog post short.

How did I feel getting there? Well I got there. The National Museum of Wales. I had found myself lost at the gaping large pillars hold the mouth of the temple. In a place of countless ideas, knowledge and secrets – where the walls whisper here as the space expands.

I panicked.

Inside the time tested monument of history sat the contemporary –  Artes Mundi #6,  is of course a breath taking and meaningful exhibition.

This made responding difficult, for the following reasons:

1. I wanted to respond to the building

2. I wanted to respond to every piece of art here

3. I needed to research but wasted(?) at least two hours being overwhelmed.

What kind of artist am I? I  have my fingers firmly in many pies, I am however sadly not a pie-maker.  Basically, I do everything and anything – but not pies.

What did I choose to respond to? I chose to respond to the wonderful work of Renzo Martens and the Institute of Human Activites.

How and why did I respond to this? Performance poetry was the only way I felt I could respond.

The work was a beautiful, impacting and meaningful. The room was filled with chocolate sculptures – the sculptures were self portraits  originally out of clay by plantation workers – then digitally printed. This work really resonated with me, not only on a sensory level (the smell was to put it bluntly – delicious). It impacted me, it was empowering communities, was deeply multi layered in meaning and was bitter-sweet.

I admired this work,  it made me consider my actions and way of life.

Here is my response in full…

Please do not touch the Exhibits

I want to eat all the sculptures,

Devour chocolate statues and incantations across this –

Cosmic Rift,

Until my mouth is filled with bitter-sweet melancholy.

Warm chocolate oozing across my cold teeth and sharp tongue.


The  luxurious earth rising through the soil.

Vanilla scent of clay in each space of word.

I am vulnerable.

Here amongst the exotic forms – repackaged and redefined.

Memories of communities forever stacked in minds eye.

Now boxed and ready for transformation into a new age.

I want to rummage my face in the kiss hold.

Transmit digital waves of folkloric.

Statues once analogue now binary.
Now ready to pass through the medium of many.

A modern subversion.

Floral scents of affection fill the air

-A shared breath exhaling words once energy.

Once energy consumed –

Each molecule of water, across the thousand spaces in between share one moment.

The distortion of contours that are and were landscape.


Protect the cultures now reshaped by their own communities hands.

And, Please do not touch the exhibits.

Songs of melody form cultural understanding.

The trees in humidity basked in light dancing like puppetry.

Can I bite this?

Can I perform the dance of speculation?

Alleviate my guilt into ethical promise.

Deliver me to the bodies fertile, ground rich, shadows –


Working deep in rivers bed I was but sleepwalking –

Chasing the moons edge on tide.

Can I put a whole sculpture in my mouth until I choke and become the ground?

Root the reach of their land shape.

Infinite is this secondary glance within a spectrum of light – made of fruit.

Turn and pose look,

Pass the choreography  –

Hold the chin

And bite.

Many thanks to all at Artes Mundi, National Museum Wales, Scriptography and of course the marvellous people that came.

Response Time will be responding again at the Turner House Gallery on Thursday 11th December.