Cauldrons & Furnaces – ELEMENTAL

Four year project, which ended in Summer 2012

In 2009 Head for Arts was challenged to develop a Cauldrons & Furnaces project at Blaenavon Ironworks as part of Wales’ celebrations for the Cultural Olympiad. Following four years of outreach and development work, the project culminated in a large-scale, site-specific performance called Elemental, which was performed on 28th & 29th June 2012.

The inspiration for the piece was the industrial landscape of Blaenavon. The starting point was the creation of the Blaenavon Industrial Gamelan, a set of instruments which were made from reclaimed iron and steel collected in the local area. The journey then led us to the development of the FEED music app, which uses cutting-edge digital software to reflect the technical innovation that continues to take place in Blaenavon today.

The music composed for Elemental by Helen Woods, saw the fusion of different time zones and traditions in an intriguing combination of Javanese and industrial gamelans, children’s choir, brass bands, Celtic band, digitally generated soundscapes and the extraordinary fire-powered pyrophone.

During the performance, this incredible musical score was accompanied by mesmerizing contemporary dance and intriguing theatrical performances in order to create a unique artistic experience.

Participant comment:
‘It was amazing and I will remember it for the rest of my life’

Cauldrons and Furnaces is a partnership between Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service and Arts Council of Wales. Cauldrons and Furnaces Is part of the Wales wide project – Power of the Flame which has been funded by the Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK.

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