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Swansea plays starring role in new online drama

Action from GALWAD in Swansea Market. Pic Kirsten McTernan

Swansea has been a stage this week for GALWAD, a new exciting multi-platform drama being shown on digital and broadcast channels.

Blending conventional forms of storytelling with digital technology, GALWAD: A STORY FROM OUR FUTURE creates a new kind of cultural event in which audiences are invited to follow the story develop in real-time on social media and online platforms.

The story in Swansea unfolds at three locations: the beach and promenade by the Civic Centre, Middleton Street in St Thomas, and the city centre; and Swansea Council has been working with Collective Cymru, a pan-wales partnership led by National Theatre Wales, to facilitate the production.

GALWAD’s cast and creative team features a wealth of Swansea talent including: Aisha-May Hunte, who plays the lead character, Efa; Matthew Aubrey, plays a main character in the 2052 drama, Ifan; Anthony Matsena, lead choreographer who was born in Zimbabwe and raised in Swansea and has organised choreography and movement across the whole project; and Swansea-born artist Marc Rees, lead artist and one of the original creative team members.

Council cabinet member Robert Francis-Davies said: “GALWAD is a creative project that really melds different methods of storytelling, like film, theatre and dance, with digital technology to create something new and exciting and I’m proud that the council has been able to support it.

“Creative productions, like GALWAD, when made in Swansea help sustain the city’s growing creative sector, and I’m pleased to see local talent playing their part to bring this story to audiences across the country.

“When people see Swansea’s locations on screen, whether its urban environments or the surrounding coast and countryside, it generates an interest that supports our marketing efforts to attract more visitors to the city.”

Swansea has a strong track record of facilitating filmmaking in the city. Its can-do approach encourages producers to make films in Swansea, and the area’s diverse mix of locations, from coast and country to urban environments, has seen several high profile productions attracted to Swansea in recent years, like Netflix’s Havoc, starring Tom Hardy and due for release later this year.

Inspired by the Well Being of Future Generations Act (2015), Wales’ remarkable policy putting the rights of future generations at the heart of decision-making, GALWAD is a story that brings a possible future roaring into the present. It pushes the boundaries of how stories have been told, with characters and story-lines connecting across TV drama, live performance, social media and news.

The GALWAD story began on Monday with an electrical storm breaking over Swansea Bay, and 16-year-old girl Efa from Merthyr Tydfil coming face to face with her future 46-year-old self from 2052. The story continued this week (26 September – 2 October), moving to locations in Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Ffestiniog, and told in real-time on GALWAD’s online platforms (via the website galwad.cymru and with @GALWAD22 on social media).

On Sunday 2 October people can watch the whole story unfold on Sky Arts from 4.30-9pm with a four-hour takeover including a 90-minute live finale broadcast from Blaenau Ffestiniog followed by the final chapter of the story – a 60-minute drama set in 2052.

GALWAD is commissioned by Creative Wales as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK.