Leeway Productions, in partnership with Theatr Soar and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, are pleased to be launching Academi Leeway, a grassroots musical theatre academy for 14-25 year olds.
Calling the young people of Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly, Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot – we want to hear from you!
The three companies are looking for young people who want to develop their creative skills, who are interested in creating or performing musical theatre and are willing to push the boundaries. Welcoming singers, musicians, composers, writers, designers, poets, beat boxers… artists or performers of any kind. No previous experience is needed – just a passion for being part of something new that belongs to you.
Academi Leeway aims to be a laboratory for the development of new musicals in Wales, providing training and inspiring young people using brand new material from Wales.
Academi Leeway will give young people the opportunity to bring local stories and histories to the stage and create new musical theatre with deep roots in Wales. Working alongside experts from the arts, Academi Leeway will motivate and inspire young participants and offer them clear pathways into the future.
To launch the Academi, Academi Leeway will be creating a digital songbook packed with songs and illustrations of a new musical – all of which are intended to be rooted in Valleys history and created by a young and creative group from the area.
Academi Leeway is looking for up to 6 young people aged 14-25 to be part of this launch project. You must be able to speak Welsh – fluently or otherwise – and be from Merthyr Tydfil, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly, Bridgend or Neath Port Talbot.
The project will take place in January and February 2021.
An audition opportunity will be available to all candidates and the panel will include Angharad Lee, Kizzy Crawford, David Laugharne and a member of our team at Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.
Angharad Lee is an award-winning director who broke new ground with her accessible production of The Last 5 Years. Last year, she directed one of the most ambitious shows the National Eisteddfod of Wales has ever seen, Y Tylwyth, which was the festival’s opening production staged in the Eisteddfod Pavilion.
David Laugharne is a highly acclaimed music director. He has worked on Avenue Q; Legally Blonde and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in the West End and Miss Saigon; The King and I; and Annie on tour. He has played in the orchestral pits of musicals including, Les Miserables; Wicked; The King & I; Jersey Boys; Sunset Boulevard; Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; Lion King and many more.
Kizzy Crawford is a well-known singer worldwide. A Welsh speaker with Bajan heritage her ambition is to leave her mark by fusing bilingual soul-folk jazz and she’s already getting recognition for her work with airplay on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, BBC 6Music, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, Jazz FM.
Angharad Lee, Director of Leeway Productions said:
“Having discussed with Theatr Soar and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru for months now, it is a privilege, as someone who learned her craft through grassroots training, to be able to establish Leeway Academy in the middle of a community with a unique history and energy. We are committed to discovering those stories our communities want to experience.”
Lis McLean, Chief Officer at Theatr Soar said:
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to young people in our valleys. This project will inspire ambition at a time when we’ve never needed it more. I’m looking forward to seeing what this new partnership can bring to our communities and what will be created by the young people.”
Rhian Davies, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru's Executive Producer said:
“After working in partnership with Theatr Soar to co-present a Welsh-language theatre show with Criw Brwd in Merthyr in February 2020, we’re pleased to develop the relationship and work with Leeway Productions to increase the opportunities for young people in Merthyr, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly, Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot and to offer exciting cultural opportunities through the medium of Welsh.”
About Leeway Productions
Leeway Productions is a theatre company dedicated to producing new and existing musical theatre. Inspiring creativity and curiosity in Cultures, we are dedicated solely to musical theatre.
Using artist-led practice to challenge traditional forms of music theatre we inspire creatives to collaborate on fresh ideas which give voice to the stories at the heart of our communities.
Our flagship production of ‘The Last 5 Years’ broke new ground in inclusivity for musical theatre.
We are a company who is diversity confident and put access at the artistic heart of our productions, whilst always striving for artistic excellence and allow the spirit of our communities to sing.
About Theatr Soar
Theatr Soar is a community theatre that provides a stage and space for the Merthyr and valleys communities. The organisation is run by Menter Iaith Merthyr Tudful who play a leading role in the development of the Welsh language through collaborative working.
Building an environment that inspires creativity, builds self-confidence and broadens horizons is at the heart of the Theatr Soar’s work.
About Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s vision is to place Welsh-language theatre at the heart of the nation. We create and present theatre productions that aim to enthral and entertain our audiences and fire their imagination. We also provide development opportunities that will nurture and inspire the next generation of Welsh-speaking theatre artists, and offer creative opportunities for people across Wales to experience the transformative impact of the arts.