A new show coming to Pontio in Bangor this week tells a story from local history that organisers say has not received sufficient attention in the past.
Some of Eryri’s early mountain guides, entrepreneurial farmers, innkeepers and quarrymen saw an opportunity to earn extra pennies by sharing their knowledge, leading botanists, artists and others along Eryri’s rugged slopes.
The unique show, Creigiau Geirwon (with BSL and English subtitles), combines drama, live music and vertical dance to celebrate Eryri’s rich history.
Actors Iwan Charles (The Pact, Be di’r Ots, Emyn Roc a Rôl, Hanesion o’r Pla Du), Llŷr Evans (Emyr a Lucy, Hinterland, Twin Town) and Manon Wilkinson (Hidden, Hinterland, Stâd) use humour and drama to guide us through the history of the mountain guides, introducing us to several characters on our journey.
They’re accompanied by live music from Casi Wyn (Casi, Casi & the Blind Harpist), (Mared Williams on Saturday, 24 June) and Patrick Rimes (Calan, Vrï). The show also includes vertical dance and rope-work by the actors, supported by dancers from Vertical Dance Kate Lawrence.
The element of vertical dance is ideal for conveying traversing Eryri’s craggy slopes and the challenges posed by the mountains.
Actor Wyn Bowen Harries is the driving force behind the production. He has written, produced and directed the show, with choreography by Kate Lawrence.
Wyn said: “This is an aspect of our history which is new to most of us. We may be aware that artists flocked to Wales for our romantic rugged landscapes in the eighteenth century, or that early botanists came to search for, identify and collect new plants, but they relied on local knowledge to achieve this.
“Many local people were good botanists, they could identify plants and knew where they grew.
“The show presents parts of their story, and there’s a contemporary theme running through the whole.
“With climate change, and the threat to wild plants, this historical information is valuable to us today.”
This is Cwmni Pendraw’s third production. The theatre company specialises in presenting history and climate change themes in unique and compelling productions.