15 April 2020
“My name is Gwenan, I was born in Carmarthen and grew up near Cardigan in West Wales. (The village is called Llechryd, but it’s so small I usually have more luck saying what it’s near!) I am now living and working in London as a Director and Stage Manager for theatre.
I originally trained in musical theatre and worked for while as an actor after graduating. During that time I realised that although I enjoyed being onstage, I found what I loved most was the rehearsal process, and the opportunity it gives to try new things, workshop ideas and craft something. I found myself making more notes on what the director did or said than on the characters I was playing. I began to look into director’s training programs as I didn’t want to go back into full time education so soon. I got in touch with the wonderful The Bread & Roses Theatre in Clapham and was lucky enough to work with them for a year as their Emerging Director.
I have been incredibly fortunate in my career as a woman creative so far, in that I have had a lot of strong role models who are constantly advocating for more women representation within the arts. There have definitely been times where I have felt patronised whilst working on, or discussing projects, something that I think is accentuated by my being a young emerging woman creative. The connotations that come with being ‘emerging’ can be both positive and exciting, but can also add to the imposter-syndrome that I – and I think many others – feel. We are all constantly learning whilst we work, but that doesn’t mean our authority or views are any less valid.
Although I have fallen deeply in love with the London fringe theatre scene I am really eager to start doing more work regionally as well, particularly in Wales as I often feel quite far from home. Before covid-19 I was about to start a national tour of a production which has since been postponed (we’ll be back!) and I am so excited about the prospect of meeting creatives working in other places. You can often feel isolated as a freelancer so I am a huge advocate for connectivity and a supportive network, the more wide reaching the better! These are trying times, especially for our industry, but I’ve seen nothing but love and support so far from my theatre family, and I want to extend that and say that if anyone’s going through a rough patch then my e-door is always open and a video chat is only a few clicks away.
What’s next for me? I am currently producing a new writing night which will be held at the Bread and Roses Theatre once they have re-opened post covid-19. It’s an unusual process as I am doing the planning without having a set date, but it’s been really rewarding so far and the amount of interest has been truly humbling. I want the night to celebrate the wonderful creative spirit of fringe theatre whilst also raising some money to support the B&R as it reopens. On that note submissions are open until this Saturday (18th), so if anyone reading this is a writer of new musical theatre, spoken word or short plays then please do get in touch with your submissions!
Lastly, thank you to the wonderful Alice and BolSHE for letting me chat. Stay safe everyone.”
Find Gwenan on socials: