National Theatre Wales (NTW) TEAM, Counterpoint Arts and the people of Pembrokeshire are not letting lockdown get in the way of their Summer Solstice celebrations this weekend, devising a digital opportunity for midsummer revellers to unite together in the form of a celebratory virtual procession taking place on Zoom platform.

This weekend sees the Summer Solstice marking the longest day of the year. Traditionally  an opportunity to celebrate the long summer evenings with festivals, feasts, bonfires, summer events and activities, restrictions in place due to COVID-19 have demanded a more creative approach to getting people together. NTW TEAM has created a way to celebrate this significant date, Saturday 20th June, with an online, digital procession that promises to be a joyful visual feast of community and creativity.

Over the last four years NTW TEAM has been embedded in the communities of Pembrokeshire, exploring the key things that matter most for the people of the county. Having decided on climate change and the environment as the most urgent issue, TEAM are currently working towards its culminating production Go Tell The Bees, a large scale event created with the local community – a bold new work that tells a universal story of our human connection to nature and to each other, originally planned to take place in Manorbier and Pembroke later this year. As part of the co-creation events leading up to Go Tell The Bees, NTW TEAM & Counterpoint Arts have been working on this  Virtual Procession, bringing people from across the Pembrokeshire county together online through music, dance, video and art work created with local artists, musicians, choirs, schools and community groups.

Inspired by the Summer Solstice, this procession will see hundreds of Pembrokeshire people, and people across Wales, turning towards the sun to celebrate and explore the mysteries surrounding the Preseli Bluestone, the original source of the Stonehenge stones.

Leading the procession will be two of Wales’ treasured performers – Carys Eleri (Olwen) and Ioan Hefin (Belenus) with original music created by Branwen Munn & John Lawrence (formerly of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci) along with a number of talented Pembrokeshire creatives.

Devinda De Silva, Head of Collaboration at NTW said “We feel that it’s more important than ever to fulfil our commitment to the people of Pembrokeshire. The Go Tell The Bees virtual procession continues our journey together. It will be a celebration and a party which takes us towards our finale in Pembroke and Manorbier.”

NTW TEAM have recently been encouraging families across Wales to create homemade paper Sunflowers which will form part of a virtual procession which brings us together to explore the origins of solstice celebrations and our relationship with the natural world we share. (Those wishing to create their own Sunflower for the procession can click here. To participate in the procession  with the Sunflower, sign up here - participate here).

Naomi Chiffi, NTW TEAM Coordinator and co-creator of Go Tell The Bees said “We know, from the work we have been doing in Pembrokeshire over the past four years, that this county is full of amazing, talented people whose ideas and enthusiasm sit at the heart of Go Tell the Bees.  With over 500 sunflower packs having been sent out and involvement from choirs, schools, dancers, bands, storytellers and artists from Pembrokehsire and beyond, our virtual procession is proving to be a true celebration of our connection to each other, despite these difficult times.”

Blazing across the sky, Olwen, Welsh goddess of the sun, summons you.  The bees are not happy. We must learn to speak to them once more and the Summer Solstice is our opportunity to get their attention.

Olwen is here to get the party started and negotiate with the bees on our behalf. Join her and the people of Pembrokeshire for a virtual gathering as we turn our faces towards the light, gift the bees a sea of handmade sunflowers and dance and sing in worship of the sun.

Will the bees listen to us now? What will we tell them?

When the time is right, Go Tell The Bees will be shared against a magical Pembrokeshire backdrop; creating a festival-style celebration on the county’s beautiful beaches, mountains, forests, castles and towns, shaping a live production co-created between National Theatre Wales TEAM, Counterpoint Arts and local communities.

The Digital Procession will take place on Saturday 20 June 2020 at 7.00pm. The procession will be broadcast live on: NTW’s AM channel https://www.amam.cymru/nationaltheatrewales

Audiences can choose to watch the procession or join in. To participate, register here: Participate here

The Digital Procession is delivered in partnership with We Grow Pembs, Counterpoint Arts & Size of Wales.

NTW TEAM is generously supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

For further information about National Theatre Wales visit www.nationaltheatrewales.org