As part of Theatr na nÓg’s online advent calendar Adventures in Advent which is free to all schools in Wales, an original Welsh Christmas song is being released today, Hwyl yr Ŵyl. The song composed by Barnaby Southgate with lyrics by Phylip Harries and sung by Welsh actors Daniel Lloyd and Carys Gwilym is being released to raise funds to create work for industry freelancers. The money is being raised to replace box office earnings that the company would have taken had it not been for the Covid pandemic and will create Theatr na nÓg projects for young people that will in-turn employ freelancers.
Welsh actor and musician Daniel Lloyd has performed in theatres throughout the UK, in the West End in The Commitments, and currently S4C’s Rownd a Rownd and knows only too well the impact the pandemic has had on his industry. “I’ve been a freelancer since 2004 so I know what waiting for the next job is like and what hand to mouth existence is. But this, this is another level, it’s been a struggle for so many - both financially and mentally.
“But being a part of the Adventures in Advent, Hwyl yr Ŵyl and many other Theatr na nÓg projects has given me a boost for sure. And what’s really touched me is the effort Theatr na nÓg have put into helping freelancers maintain some semblance of a work pattern throughout the Covid pandemic. They did not have to commission this song, and they did not have to make sure that the funds will be there to produce work that I can hopefully work on, and that will entertain their audiences.”
With theatres closed and live performances restricted the innovative award-winning theatre producing company has spent the last 8 months focussing on employing freelance actors, designers, technicians and writers to create new work in innovative new ways. They have supported over 100 freelancers on over 16 projects since April, including radio plays and online productions in both Welsh and English, as well as developing a brand new prog rock musical.
The impact of Covid on the industry has meant that the majority of creative industry freelancers have seen their livelihoods disappear overnight. Artistic Director, Geinor Styles said of the devastation that Covid is leaving in its wake “It has been heartbreaking to see the level of disregard for an industry that not only pays back its value in millions of pounds but also it feeds our souls and revitalises our spirits. We refuse to standby when trained professionals are being advised to retrain. Our role as an employer of between 20- 30 freelancers each year is to strive and continue producing theatre that not only employs these talented individuals but that we continue to inspire future generations for a confident and compassionate society.
“We’re calling on all who have engaged, participated and seen our productions since 1984, that’s over 1 million people, to try and imagine a world without theatre. We would love people to listen to the song and feel compelled to donate what they can.”
Theatr na nÓg’s online advent calendar Adventures in Advent is free to all schools in Wales, and can be accessed by signing up the company’s mailing list, it starts on the 1st of December running through until Christmas eve.
Hwyl yr Ŵyl is available on all of Theatr na nÓg’s platforms and text donations of £5 + are encouraged by texting TNN and the amount, you wish to donate to 70085. e.g: To donate £5 text TNN5 to 70085. Texts cost the value of your donation plus one standard message rate.