Ynys Gwydr / History & Mystery

Summer 2012 – April 2013

Merthyr Tydfil may be famous for its industrial past but this project focussed on a completely different era – the area’s early medieval past. With the help of our partners Amgueddfa Cymru National Museum Wales, Cardiff University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion and Theatr Soar, participants were able to explore historical sites and amazing artefacts before devising their own community opera based on the stories they had uncovered.

Over 500 individuals participated in this project which took place over two phases:

History & Mystery
Funded by the Heritage Lottery, History & Mystery explored the area’s history including the destruction of the royal court of the Kings of Brycheiniog, built in the tenth century on a man-made island or crannog in Llangorse Lake. History and Mystery brought this little known story to life through a series of field trips, backstage museum visits and creative arts activities. History and Mystery culminated in an interactive exhibition called Fragments which showcased the work created by community members throughout the project.

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Ynys Gwydr / Island of Glass
Funded by the Arts Lottery, the second phase of the project involved the creation of a community opera based on the stories gathered during History and Mystery. The opera was written in a “pasticcio” style, whereby words written by community members were fitted to a “mash-up” of existing Handel tunes. The performance included people with diverse arts experience – ranging from those who had never been involved with arts activities before, through to newly qualified young professionals.

Participant Comment:
An amazing opportunity to participate in something I would never otherwise be able to do. To see the world of opera in a new light was an unforgettable experience

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