Mari Elen Jones

11th November 2020

“My name is Mari Elen and I’m originally from a beautiful town called Harlech in Gwynedd. Growing up, Harlech had a brilliant Theatre and a thriving arts community, but sadly, like most of the seaside towns in Wales, it has become a holiday resort. I currently live in a small village close to Llyn Padarn with two small and loud children, and my partner. I’m a full time mother and a part time Theatre Practitioner, Script Writer and Performer. I’m a playwright and theatre practitioner based in North Wales. I predominantly write about female characters and female issues in my work, and enjoy researching into the concept of “Welshness”. Script writing is what I do most, but I thoroughly enjoy performing, creating devised theatre and more recently, writing poetry. I fell pregnant with my first child a year after graduating from university, I know I’m not the youngest of mothers, but I struggled. three years, two babies later, and I’m still struggling, but I’ve found that having a creative outlet helps me feel like the person I was BC (before children). I enjoyed writing and sharing stories as a child, and was lucky enough to be a part of a junior writing squad, but I’ve always struggled with my self esteem, and stopped going as I felt I wasn’t as good as the other kids in the group. I stopped writing creatively after that, and didn’t get back into it until I was at university. I was taught by super inspirational Theatre Makers at the Atrium as part of my course, Theatr a Perfformio, and I owe regaining my confidence to them. Just before lockdown, I finished seeing my councillor who had been helping me get over Post Natal Depression and my anxiety. During those sessions, I discovered I had very low self-esteem, and so I spent lockdown trying to build myself up and gain confidence. I listened to podcasts, watched loads of Ted Talks, and by doing this I came up with the idea of starting my own podcast, celebrating Welsh Women by comparing them to traditional Witches. I see witches as unconventional women in history who threatened a patriarchal society, and so in Gwrachod Heddiw, my aim is to find similarities between these amazing women I get to talk to, and witches. I’ve been commissioned to create a digital piece for Ceangal Dolen – a theatre conference for celtic languages – on the theme “Connections”. My piece is called “Mari a’r Fantell Wen”, a short film researching the connections between me and Mary Evans, who referred to herself as Mari’r Fantell Wen. It’s the first short film I’ve ever directed and first spoken word piece I’ve ever recorded, so I’m super excited for people to see it and let me know what they think. All the other creative Welsh women out there, empower me. I’m obsessed with women, and feel like we should all be learning and supporting each other in this industry, At the moment, my social feeds are full of incredible strong femxle artists, and seeing them out themselves out there makes me want to create. I struggle juggling everything, from my work, my children and my relationships with friends and family. At this moment in time I am with my children 24/7, without any childcare and am doing all of my freelance work during naps and at night. I’m exhausted, but with the creative industries being so fragile at the moment, I can’t commit to pay for childcare. I’m also very determined for my children to see me succeed by doing what I love for a living. I would never want them to feel or think that they have stopped me from pursuing my dreams, they’ve done the opposite. I hope I’ll get to do a bit more directing, but I’m currently working on a really cool project with Frân Wen, Popeth ar y Ddaear.”

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