Inspiring Our Littlest Theatregoers at The Welfare Ystradgynlais This Spring!

This season we have not one, not two, not three, but four; that’s right FOUR lovely shows for you and your little ones here at The Welfare Ystradgynlais. Let’s help them catch the theatre bug before they even start school!

Much more than just a nice thing to do for an hour; a trip to the theatre fires imaginations, fuels creativity and helps develop those all-important communication and social skills. So, mark the dates in your diary, print out and stick this newsletter onto your fridge as a reminder; or better still, book your tickets today and show your little one such stuff that dreams are made of!

Monday 19th February, 1.15pm
Tom is a toddler with a cool older brother, a secret dragon and a dribbling problem that just won’t stop! When Tom’s endless drooling threatens to tear the brothers’ friendship apart can their dragon’s amazing magic help them put it back together again or will it only end up making things worse? Suitable for age 2 years upwards. The show is around 1 hour long.

View the Trailer
Lots of fun resources, including songs and games
Book Your Tickets

Wednesday 28th March, 1.15pm
This magical show has been written especially for grown-ups to enjoy with their children, so come and relive the delights of this most mesmerising of tales complete with the traditional feast of sing along songs, colourful animal characters and heart-warming family fun. Suitable for age 2 years upwards. The show is around 1hr long.

View the Trailer
Lots of fun resources, including songs and games
Book Your Tickets

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a FlyTHE FLYING BEDROOM
Tuesday 10th April, 1pm
Elinor’s bedroom looks ordinary but it isn’t. When Elinor is asleep, her bedroom can fly. Join Elinor and her bedroom on an adventure to far off lands, under the sea and into outer space. A bilingual dance theatre show for 3-7 year olds. The show lasts 45mins and is followed by a free 45mins workshop for those who want to join in the fun.

Watch the Trailer
More Info
Book Your Tickets

Flying Bedroom Promo Shoot Jan 2017 - 1LEAF,
Thursday 26th April, 10am, 1pm & 3pm

A playful theatre experience for the very young inspired by nature and the seasons. Join us as we tell the life story of a very special leaf in this warm, intimate and playful new piece. Recommended for 3yrs and under. The show lasts for 25mins and is followed by a play session.

Book Your Tickets

Half Moon Theatre presents Leaf at The Welfare Ystradgynlais, SwanseaTickets for all these shows are available to purchase online or by calling the box office on 01639 843163. Tickets are priced from just £5. We hope to see you and your little ones soon!

BREABACH are a band at the very top of their game and one not to be missed!

Breabach at The Welfare Ystradgynlais, SwanseaIt won’t be long before Dry January is done and dusted, and what better way to banish those winter blues than with a barn-storming set of trad folk? Well, we at The Welfare Ystradgynlais don’t like to disappoint, and are kicking off Sugar-free February with a super-sweet dose of Scottish loveliness from charmers Breabach!

 Breabach began last year in exciting fashion as receivers of the Scots Trad Music Awards Folk Band of the Year for the second time and Album of the Year for their fifth studio album ‘Astar’. A special Celtic Connections show to celebrate the album was held in February in Glasgow’s City Halls and was received with a sell-out crowd and 5star review in the Scotsman.

The momentum continued with nominations for Best Band at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and for European Album of the Year in the Songlines Music Awards. This was underpinned by a packed live performance schedule including tours of the UK, Sweden and Canada and an exciting, energetic festival season across Europe.

Having been performing together for well over a decade, the band’s sweet, sweet repertoire of traditional Scottish tunes features pipes, whistles, bouzouki, fiddle, guitar, flute, double bass and their passionate live performances even feature step-dancing from the very talented Megan Henderson. Acoustic guitar and double bass thump out the rhythm while bagpipes, whistle and violin wheel above them in a battle for the lead melody. The duels between the wind and violins are the sizzling highlights of their set. Their fresh interpretations of the Highland tradition are delightfully put together, leaving you baying for more as their set comes to an end.

2018 will see Breabach back in the studio to record a sixth studio album as well continuing their adventures across the globe with tours of the UK and Australia to kick things off. Delivering an increasingly mature repertoire and live performance whilst continuing to build their reputation at the forefront of the UK’s world and roots music scene, this is a band at the very top of their game and one not to be missed.

Catch the band before they disappear off south of the equator, with one of only two Welsh dates being right here in Ystradgynlais on Friday 9th February, 8pm. To book your tickets, call us today on 01639 843163. Alternatively, you can book online. Tickets are priced just £12/£10. We hope to see you there!

Black History Month Exhibition


Paul Robeson and the South Wales Miners

This exhibition is part of The Welfare Ystradgynlais’ Community Arts Programme. It features art work by children of Ysgol Maesydderwen and their response to listening to Paul Robeson’s Transatlantic exchange with Miners during the 1957 Porthcawl Miners Eisteddfod.

Maesydderwen Art Department learners worked with experienced Community Artist Vivian Rhule to produce this exhibition.

The Welfare -Ystradgynlais – Y Neuadd Les and Maesydderwen School are grateful to Black History Month Wales / Cymru and Race Council Cymru for their support with this project which is part of their 2017 theme ‘Our Stars Our Future Our History’.

Sian Williams from South Wales Miners Library and the Paul Robeson Trust made the project accessible by introducing good resources and making the local connections

Well done to the pupils in Years 7, 9 and 10 for your artistic Collage work and involvement!

A Fun New Version of the Classic Tale by The Brothers Grimm’!

The Magic Porridge Pot by Sharman Theatre at The Welfare Ystradgynlais, Swansea

Image Credit: Emily Jones

Sherman Theatre presents The Magic Porridge Pot – a fun new version of the classic The Brothers Grimm tale. Written by award-winning playwright Alun Saunders, with songs and live music, this is the perfect trip to the theatre for families this Autumn.

In a village on the edge of the Enormous Forest, Aggie is always trying to help her mother and the other villagers, but often ends up just making a mess. Whilst on one of her adventures Aggie is given a magical pot which makes tasty porridge, but when her mother tries her hand at it and can’t make the pot stop, the town is filled with porridge and Aggie’s help is really needed… everyone.

Following last year’s highly successful production of The Emperor’s New Clothes, Sherman Theatre is delighted to be bringing this much-loved story to The Welfare.  A relaxed atmosphere perfect for the littlest of theatregoers and their grown-ups, The Magic Porridge Pot is overflowing with songs, music and fun for all the family, especially those under 7.

The show is just 50 minutes long, so plenty of time to get home for bed! The show is performed in the round, which means that the performers are in the middle and the audience sit around them on all sides. The children sit on cushions on the floor so that they are really close to the action; but don’t worry, there are chairs for grownups and more cautious children and you are welcome to sit on the floor with your child if that increases their enjoyment of the show.

The Magic Porridge Pot is at The Welfare on 8th November, tickets for the show are available to purchase online or by calling the box office on 01639 843163. Tickets are priced just £5 per person. We hope to see you and your little ones soon!

The Magic Porridge Pot
By The Brothers Grimm
Adaptation by Alun Saunders / Director Elgan Rhys
Wednesday 8th November, 6pm

Kasai Masai at The Welfare Ystradgynlais, Swansea

Feel Good Rhythms from the Congo!

Break up the autumnal gloom and take a long-haul trip to the smoking hot rhythms and sunny beats of the Congo this October with Kasaï Masaï; a firm feel-good favourite and a welcome addition to the line-up at the Welfare.

Kasaï Masaï bring the traditional sound of remote equatorial African villages to the UK, adding a unique and contemporary twist on the way.

Kasaï is a region of Congo that is named after a river in the heart of the rainforest where many tribes maintain their traditional lifestyles. The Masaï are a dignified tribe whose lives still centre around a nomadic existence.

Playing ancestral music which has been passed on from generation to generation, their sound is rooted in the healing power of the driving percussion and singing combined with the majestic Congolese guitar and jazz saxophone. Written in Swahili, Lingala and Kimongo, the lyrics reflect the cultural diversity of a region where more than four hundred languages are spoken.

”Kasai Masai successfully marry a respect for vintage grooves with an overwhelming urge to move the dance floor this is the sound of the old and new, of the countryside and the city, from deep in the heart of Africa…” Nige Tassell, WOMAD

Kasaï Masaï give an incredible live show, packed with crowd pleasers and absorbing African rhythms. First class exponents of the soukous style of music, Kasaï Masaï aren’t known for doing things by halves.

Based in London, and led by Voodoo King, Nickens Nkoso, Kasaï Masaï mix the traditional sound of the equatorial African village with a distinctive urban edge. The band’s fast-paced style of soukous and rumba meld with Congolese folkloric traditions to create an infectious form of dance music. Nickens has previously collaborated with artists such as Koffi Olomide, Papa Wemba, Kanda Bongo Man, Mose Fan Fan, Samba Mapangala and many more.

From the plains to the soaring heights, this is a sound that will transport you to a land where music is more than just entertainment; they will take you to a place where it is a way of life.

To book tickets, contact the Box Office on 01639 843163 or book online! Tickets are priced at £12, or £10 for concessions.

I do hope that you can join us for what promises to be a very memorable October evening!

Catch Kasai Masai here at The Welfare Ystradgynlais on Friday 27th October at 8pm!

Visit their website here, or catch them on Social Media:
Listen to them here!

Platfform Artist Call-Out!

Theatr Iolo are delighted to invite submissions from emerging artists to be part of the third and final year of Platfform, our artist development programme. This year, it’s all about families…

They are inviting submissions for two residency opportunities and are thrilled to be continuing their collaboration with us, The Welfare Ystradgynlais, and The Riverfront in Newport. They are inviting submissions from theatre-makers (devisers, directors, writers, musicians, poets, spoken word artists, game-makers, puppeteers, story-tellers, comedians, live artists – the list goes on), organisations and partnerships interested in exploring and devising a new idea with and for families.

“Platfform has allowed us as artists and theatre makers the chance to form a stronger bond with Welsh venues. It has challenged our practice and given us the time and space to explore the world of theatre for children and young people. Platfform has opened doors we never knew existed!”
Tin Shed Theatre Company, Platfform artists year 2

Full information, including who we’re looking for, how to apply and what to do if you want to have a chat about anything first can be found by clicking here!

The deadline for applications is Friday 11th August at midday. Interviews will take place on Tuesday 5th September.

Mae’n bleser a Theatr Iolo wahodd ceisiadau gan artistiaid sy’n dod i amlygrwydd i fod yn rhan o drydedd flwyddyn Platfform. Dyma flwyddyn olaf ein rhaglen datblygu artistiaid. Eleni, teuluoedd sy’n bwysig…

Mae nhw gwahodd ceisiadau ar gyfer dau gyfle preswyl ac yn falch o allu parhau â’n cydweithrediad gyda nhi, Y Neuadd Les Ystradgynlais, a Theatr Glan-yr-Afon yng Nghasnewydd. Mae nhw yn gwahodd ceisiadau gan wneuthurwyr theatr (dyfeiswyr, cyfarwyddwyr, awduron, cerddorion, beirdd, artistiaid y gair llafar, gwneuthrwyr gemau, pypedwyr, storïwyr, comedï wyr, artistiaid byw – mae’r rhestr yn ddi-ddiwedd) sefydliadau a phartneriaethau sydd â diddordeb mewn ymchwilio a dyfeisio syniad newydd gyda theuluoedd ac ar gyfer teuluoedd

“Mae Platfform wedi caniatau i ni, fel artistiaid a gwneuthurwyr theatr greu cysylltiadau cadarnach â lleoliadau Cymru. Mae wedi herio ein canfyddiadau ac wedi rhoi amser a lle i ni archwilio byd theatr plant a phobl ifanc. Mae Platfform wedi agor drysau na wyddem eu bod yn bodoli!”
Cwmni Theatr Tin Shed, Artistiaid platfform yr 2il flwyddyn

I gael manylion llawn am y prosiect, i wybod am beth yr ydym yn chwilio,sut i wneud cais a sut I drefnu sgwrs gyda ni, cliciwch yma!

Dyddiad cau ar gyfer ceisiadau yw Dydd Gwener Awst 11eg am hanner dydd a fe gynhelir cyfweliadau ar Ddydd Mawrth Medi’r 5ed.

Summer Workshops at The Welfare Ystradgynlais, Swansea

Our Summer Brochure Is Out Now!!

Take a look at what we have planned at The Welfare Ystradgynlais this Summer!

From cinema blockbusters, live theatre broadcasts, summer workshops and theatre for tots and families, we have something for everyone!

Click on the link below to open it up in your browser or alternatively you can download the pdf here!

Clwb Weeble: A Bunting Printing Workshop for Families

Clwb Weeble Family Workshop at The Welfare Ystradgynlais, SwanseaThis summer, Ystradgynlais is hosting ‘Buskagynlais’, a day of busking and street entertainment. There is so much being planned for the day, giving families the perfect opportunity to spend time together and explore what Ystradgynlais has to offer.

At a recent Buskagynlais meeting, organisers discussed how to decorate the village, the obvious choice for such an event was ‘Bunting’, however Ystradgynlais does not have village bunting! Hence the ‘Let’s get Bunting’ community project!

The organisers of Buskagynlais would like the whole community to get involved in creating bunting for the village. They want the current population of Ystradgynlais to make something that can be used for years to come. This is where you come in!

Once a month, we hold a workshop here at The Welfare Ystradgynlais for families: Clwb Weeble. During our next few Clwb Weeble sessions, we’d like to put our own stamp on the village by making our own bunting for use at Buskagynlais and future events!

Our special Clwb Weeble Bunting Workshops will take place on Sunday 7th May & 11th June, 3-4pm, and will also include story telling and games. We charge just £1 per child.

BFI Black Star ICO National Tour


BFI Black Star is the UK’s biggest ever season of film dedicated to celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors in some of the finest performances ever committed to film.The season puts stars of the past and present back on the big screen, recognising the vital role black actors have played in the history of cinema.
Drawing on the pioneering performances of the earlier days of cinema (The Proud Valley), through overlooked masterpieces (Nothing But a Man), to modern day classics (The Color Purple, Glory), Black Star showcases the work of actors classic and contemporary, from early pioneer Dorothy Dandridge to icons like Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul Robeson and Denzel Washington.
Crossing genres, generations and the Atlantic, BFI Black Star celebrates performances that will inspire audiences and champions films that deserve to burn long in the memory.

Read more at:

A month of heritage & classic films at The Welfare Ystradgynlais - Carmen JonesCarmen Jones (U) (1954)
Sunday 20 November,  4pm

In the perfect mix of opera and sexuality, Dorothy Dandridge (Porgy & Bess) heads up the all-black cast in Otto Preminger’s wartime update of Bizet’s opera Carmen by way of Oscar Hammerstein II. Dandridge smoulders in the title role as the temptress who lures handsome GI Joe (Harry Belafonte) from his fiancée Cindy Lou (Olga James), in the first Oscar-nominated performance by an African-American woman. Joe, an obedient corporal is all ready to go to flight school and marry his sweetheart until Carmen enters the picture with disastrous consequences. Preminger took a major risk in pursuing this film in the culturally conservative 1950s, but it paid off, becoming an instant box office hit and propelling Dandridge into stardom.

A month of classic & heritage films at the Welfare Ystradgynlais - The Proud ValleyThe Proud Valley (PG) (1940)
Wednesday 30 November, 7pm

Pen Tennyson directs this Ealing Studios drama set in a Welsh mining valley. In a role written for him, actor, singer and activist Paul Robeson stars as David Goliath, a charismatic African-American drifter who ends up in a small mining village in Wales. There, he finds work alongside the miners down the pit, and his magnificent singing voice attracts the attention of local choir director Dick Parry (Simon Lack), who has ambitions of winning the national choir contest on the strength of Goliath’s talent. However, a mining disaster puts both of these occupations on hold, and Goliath rouses a group of activists to march to London in the hope of reopening the mine in time to serve the nation’s wartime needs. It remains today an almost unique depiction of on-screen blackness for the time, with a multi-faceted hero: a politically active working man who transcends race and nationality.

This is all part of our month of Classic & Heritage Films!
Visit our website for more information on Anthropoid (15) (2016), The Battle of The Somme (PG) (1916) and Ystrad in Lights – Tick Tock and More.

Art Exhibition

Three Artists Print – Lynne Bebb – Patti Mckenna-Jones – Viv Rhule
This exhibition is accompanied by participatory printmaking workshops for adults – enquire at The Welfare if you wish to take part – workshops are funded by ACW and cost £3 per session

The Welfare Ystradgynlais presents An exhibition of prints by members of Swansea Print Workshop.

Three Artists Print

The three artists, Lynne Bebb, Patti Mckenna-Jones, Viv Rhule, whose work is on display in our Lesser Hall are all members of the Swansea Print Workshop. They have each explored many of the wide ranging, non toxic techniques that are available to printmakers at the Swansea Print Workshop. They have translated drawn images into prints with themes that include landscape, music, inclusive dance, protest, life studies and the world of nature Swansea Print Workshop is a fine art printmaking studio run by artist members. It is unique in Wales for its outreach work promoting community participation in the arts, as well as providing resources and facilities for professional artists and the public alike. The exhibition runs from now to the end 14th October alongside Print Making Workshops run by Lynne Bebb, Patti Mckenna-Jones and Viv Rhule.
Workshop Dates
Sat 24th September
Sat 1st October
Sat 8th October
All from 11am to 4pm
£3 per session

Visitors are advised to ring the box office prior to travelling to check the exhibition is open The Welfare Brecon Road, Ystradgynlais, Swansea SA9 1JJ Phone: 01639 843163

Evolving Artist Training

Are you a professional artist, musician, or performing arts practitioner?

Are you an artist or recent arts graduate interested in Community Arts work?

Whether experienced or looking to gain a foot hold in community arts practice, read on!

Join our Community Arts Database and receive training funded by the Arts Council of Wales.

The Welfare – Ystradgynlais is the theatre and community arts organisation serving the upper Tawe valley area.

We run regular programmes of community and youth arts activity and are currently seeking to increase our data base of experienced community artists, musicians and performing arts practitioners. We may also able to provide training and work experience opportunities for professional artists, musicians and performing arts practitioners without any experience of community arts practice.

The Welfare – Ystradgynlais is looking for individual artists who are committed to working with youth or community groups in the upper Tawe valley and will be available to work on art projects with us in the future.

Less experience community artists will be offered free formal training and may be offered shadowing opportunities to work alongside more experienced community artists while participating in a community arts project, thereby putting your formal training into practice. A fee would be paid to artists selected for the shadowing work.

The following formal training is suitable for all community artists and is not art form specific. Welsh Language Awareness and Dementia Awareness training will also be made available.

Formal training expected in 2016 includes:

Disability Rights
 Friday 8th July 10am – 4pm
Facilitated by Maggie Hampton of Arts Disability Wales

Community Arts Practice.
Community Arts training with an emphasis on visual arts and cross art form projects.
Facilitated by Lynne Bebb and Vivian Rhule
Date to be arranged

Arts Training by Chickenshed
Monday 26th September 2016
With an emphasis on inclusion, diversity and young people, suitable for all community artists from across art forms using performing arts techniques.
Facilitated by Chickenshed Theatre

Participative approaches to working with young people.
Monday 3rd October 10am – 4pm
Facilitated by Mess Up The Mess Theatre

Equality and diversity for creative practitioners
Monday 10th October 10am – 4pm
Facilitated by Mess Up The Mess Theatre.

If you wish to join The Welfare Ystradgynlais’ Community Arts Data Base or if you wish to apply for a place on the training sessions and be selected for the shadowing work, please apply to Wynne Roberts, including a CV, confirmation you may be available for occasional community arts work and why you wish to join our Community Arts Data Base.


Places are limited, please e-mail


1_WHATS IT ABOUT_PenblwyddPoenusPeteRehearsalskirstenmcternan-16Platfform

We’re thrilled to have been chosen for the second year of Theatr Iolo’s Platfform project for emerging artists.

The Welfare Ystradgynlais and Theatr Iolo are now on the hunt for artists who fall into two broad categories:

  • A writer interested in developing a piece of new writing specifically with and for 11 – 14 year olds
  • A theatre-maker (devisers, directors, writers, musicians, poets, spoken word artists, game-makers, puppeteers, story-tellers, comedians, creative partnerships, live artists – you name it) interested in exploring and devising a new idea with and for children and / or young people and their families (the age group will be decided by the artist and venue partner)


We’re looking for writers and theatre-makers that are:

  • ‘Emerging’. By this we mean at the beginning of your career with a couple of projects under your belt or emerging into the young people’s theatre market for the first time i.e. you are not at the beginning of your career but have not previously made work for a young audience
  • Genuinely excited at the prospect of making theatre and collaborating and co-creating with young people and their families
  • Have original, adventurous and exciting ideas and are interested in sharing those with a network of artists, venues and audiences
  • Have at least 6 months of experience in working with communities
  • Are Wales-based or able to demonstrate a strong commitment to working in Wales
  • Are willing to be mentored and develop practice.


The selected artists will receive a bespoke package of support that could include:

  • Time, support and space to test, play with ideas, develop, explore, create
  • Support from the Associate Producer and partner venue to realise ideas and make links with the community, as well as technical, administrative and marketing support
  • Access to a bespoke package of training and go & see visits
  • Mentor support from within the company and industry practitioners
  • A daily rate adhering to industry standards
  • A project budget to be managed with the Associate Producer. The amount available will be set on a project-by-project basis.

Theatr Iolo are inviting submissions for two residency opportunities. They’re thrilled to both continue working with  year one partner The Welfare in Ystradgynlais and to be introducing The Riverfront in Newport to the Platfform venue mix.

Projects will take place between September 2016 – June 2017 (but may not last the full ten months, depending on the nature of the project). During this period we hope selected artists will throw themselves into Platfform and the world of young people’s theatre. This might include planning, researching, getting to know their partner venue and the local community, making contacts and networks, seeing work, attending training and developing an adventurous, engaging and interesting programme of activity with children and young people. This will build towards a work-in-progress performance event of some sort at the end of the residency.

You can find out more about what might happen during a Platfform residency

Here it is:

and don’t forget to check out the blog. You may also want to check out what’s been happening over the last twelve months with our first cohort of artists. You can find out more about Platfform, why it was set up and what Theatr Iolo wants to achieve through the programme.

We welcome submissions from artists working in English, Welsh, bilingually, multi-lingually, through sign language, audio description – the list goes on. If applicants require additional support in completing their application in terms of access and / or language please contact Olivia at Theatr Iolo at who will be more than happy to put arrangements in place or offer information in a different format.

If this all sounds right up your street, your next step is to make an application.

Here it is:

Partnership with the Tate

The JHAFC recently worked in partnership with TATE on a major project called ‘Mining Herman’. We worked with TATE to offer a range of digital resources and participatory activity for engagement with art, cultural and heritage for all to enjoy.

The Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru’s archives are now organised and digitised and are accessible through local archives and at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. You can find further information about Tate and their heritage project ‘Transforming Tate Britain: Building, Archives, and Access ‘on their website:

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