Five Minutes With... Gwennan Mair

Creative Engagement Director at Theatr Clwyd

Theatr Clwyd's Gwennan Mair leads the Flintshire-based theatre and arts centre's Creative Engagement team, who work throughout North Wales' schools and communities. Originally from Blaenau Ffestiniog she joined in 2017 from Angelsey's Cwmni'r Fran Wen and trained at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.

What's your role at the theatre?

Our creative engagement team works throughout our community to use theatre and creativity as a tool for change and to support health and wellbeing.

What inspired you to work in theatre?

To be honest, I'm not sure where I'd be if I hadn't been lucky enough to have the arts as part of my life. I believe everyone has the right to have the option of taking part in the arts. Sadly, this is not the case, and a lot of people do not get the opportunity to make this decision. I would love to see a world where there is equality in arts delivery, as I truly believe that it can make a huge difference to people's lives.

What's your best moment at Theatr Clwyd so far?

My best moment is when Liam (the theatre's executive director) shouted down the admin corridor "Gwennan... Gwennan come downstairs - they're here". I thought I'd done something terribly wrong! Five girls who'd followed every performance of our production of Mold Riots had walked up to the hill on their own looking for the theatre. This was a true moment of the theatre opening its doors. I also love the fact we are still in contact during this difficult time. One day, I hope they'll be leading the Creative Engagement team at Theatr Clwyd!

What challenges is Covid-19 bringing the theatre?

I think the biggest challenge has been to keep true to ourselves in our delivery of creative engagement work. I believe it's about listening, reaching out and being there for our communities during this difficult time and beyond. It's not so much about us shouting about all the good work that we do, it's about doing it well, sustainably and responsibly.

How has the theatre responded to Covid-19?

From Zoom Dance for Parkinson's sessions and online weekly theatre-making workshops with over 200 people of all ages, to projects helping young women with their mental health, it's been a really busy time for us. We've even delivered a creative project with six primary schools on climate change!

What do you do to relax/in your spare time?

I run a lot, and pre Covid-19, I did weight training, which I really loved! I really miss it a lot, and instead of it I have started to bake bread (I'm on my seventh loaf!).

What skills do you need to work with young people?

You need to treat young people - and all humans - as you would want yourself to be treated, and to show respect to all.

What's been your favourite show?

It has to be The Assassination of Katie Hopkins - I just loved the way it spoke to our world today and made people really think after they saw it

If you could ask people to do one thing to support the theatre and its work what that would be?

Support the theatre by coming to a workshop or taking part in a project near you or nominate someone that you think would love to get involved in our creative programmes. We deliver projects for all ages so its never too late to try something new!

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