Sky Arts is today announced as the broadcast partner to present GALWAD: A STORY FROM OUR FUTURE, a human story created, filmed and set in Wales that offers a glimpse into the future and asks what would happen if the future tried to contact us.
The story will unfold in real-time on digital and broadcast platforms, blending live performance and TV drama, to form a new kind of cultural event, from 26 September to 2 October 2022.
GALWAD, commissioned by Creative Wales as part of UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, brings together a 200-strong team of Wales’ boldest creative talent to tell a story through live streaming and live broadcast from Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Among the acting talent announced today for GALWAD are Alexandria Riley, Matthew Aubrey, Nitin Ganatra and Rhodri Meilir.
From 26 September, audiences can follow the story on social media and TV as it moves between Wales today and thirty years into the future, with unannounced interventions on S4C and by following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
The story culminates in a four-hour broadcast on Sky Arts and Freeview, offering the chance to catch-up on the week’s events in Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Ffestiniog before the final live broadcast from Blaenau Ffestiniog and a 60-minute drama set in the future.
September 26 2022 - an electrical storm crackles dramatically over Wales. The unthinkable happens - time cracks, the future makes contact and messages start appearing.
Efa, a 16 year-old girl in Swansea, however, claims that more than just messages have made it through. Her 46 year-old mind from 2052 is now in her 16 year-old body today - that she is a visitor from our future….
As she tries to find a way to explain to her friends what has happened, fragments from 2052 appear suddenly, randomly, on the airwaves, on phone messages, on television channels. She journeys across Wales, looking for answers and wrestling with how much she should tell.
What would you say? Would anyone believe you? This happens live, in real-time across a week as Efa heads to the epicentre of the storm desperate to return home.
In 2052, 16 year-old Efa finds herself in her own 46 year-old body. The world is changed, completely and irrevocably. She is terrified. She just wants to return. To see her Nan again. Around her, others are discovering long lost connections to the past, to loved ones and old events and they are considering what they should do and say. A second storm is coming, one that could see everything reversed, time is running out and Efa needs to get back.
GALWAD began with a ‘world-building’ process led by Alex McDowell (Minority Report) with 120 people from across Wales. It is inspired by the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, which puts the future of young people at the heart of policy decisions and invites audiences to explore the moral dilemmas and possibilities of a future impacted by a 1.8 degree rise in global temperatures and widespread social change.
GALWAD is a major pan-Wales collaboration across film, digital, theatre and sustainability sectors led by National Theatre Wales with Frân Wen; the Centre for Alternative Technology; Disability Arts Cymru; Clwstwr; Ffilm Cymru and Sugar Creative and Mad as Birds TV production company.
The creative team for GALWAD have been advised by the Centre for Alternative Technology - experts in climate change and migration, Disability Arts Cymru, Deaf Talent Collective and many other Wales-based partners on building the future world.
Creative Director for GALWAD, Claire Doherty leads a team of established and emerging Welsh talent, including writer Owen Sheers with a 16-strong writing team; theatre director Gethin Evans; choreographer Anthony Matsena; writer and dramaturg Kaite O’Reilly; composer Dyfan Jones with musicians Lemfreck, Dunja Botic and Greta Isaac; and artist Marc Rees working with designer Edith Morris.
Claire Doherty, Creative Director, GALWAD, said: “Now more than ever we need new and unexpected stories of the future. GALWAD represents the next generation of storytelling and storytellers from Wales. It is a creative and collective act of the imagination which builds on Wales’ rich history of site-specific performance and brings that roaring into the digital and streaming age. GALWAD is as much a story of how we might respond if we glimpsed our future, as it is a vivid imagining of life in 2052.”
The GALWAD TV drama, produced by Wales-based production company Mad as Birds, broadcasts on Sunday 2 October on Sky Arts. Casting includes Alexandria Riley and Aisha-May Hunte who both play the part of the central character, Efa. Alexandria is best known for her roles in The Pembrokeshire Murders, The End of the F**king World and In My Skin. Aisha-May Hunte has appeared in His Dark Materials, Enid A Lucy and The Left Behind.
They are joined by Matthew Aubrey (Birdsong, War Horse and Black Mirror) and Nitin Ganatra (EastEnders, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Other cast members in the 2052 cast include Andria Doherty (It’s a Sin), Nadeem Islam, Rhoda Montemayor, Jenna Preece and Boo Golding.
The young cast, who join Aisha-May Hunte to perform GALWAD LIVE throughout the week from 26 September includes Ciaran O’Breen, Ifan Coyle, Gabin Kongolo, Meg Lewis and Londiwe Mthembu. Rhodri Meilir (In My Skin and Craith/Hidden) will undertake a key role in the live broadcast from Blaenau Ffestiniog on Sunday 2 October.
Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, said: “We are looking forward to an exciting celebration of creativity, based on co-creating, and involving diverse communities right across Wales.
“The work of GALWAD champions the Well-being of Future Generations Act, our creative talent and will showcase Wales on an international stage. We are seeing how it is investing in the creative and technology sectors, creating opportunities for under-represented talent and supporting the creative industries as we emerge from the pandemic with investment and job opportunities. I’m delighted that GALWAD, which will be broadcast on Sky Arts includes Welsh talent and produced by Wales-based companies. We look forward to seeing the end result in September.”
GALWAD is one of ten ground-breaking major events that form UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, a UK-wide celebration of creativity bringing together science, technology, engineering, arts and maths until the end of October.
Lord Parkinson, Arts Minister, said: “GALWAD will engage audiences in innovative ways, showcase some of the brilliant artistic talent in Wales, and create opportunities for young people to forge careers in the UK’s booming creative industries.
"I'm delighted that Sky Arts will help to bring it to audiences across the whole country as part of Unboxed: Creativity in the UK."
Martin Green, Chief Creative Officer, UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK, said: “GALWAD is a thrilling mix of unfettered imagination, ideas and technology that come together in an extraordinary piece of live and broadcast storytelling for those inside and outside of Wales to enjoy. And, like other UNBOXED projects, it has brought opportunities for young people in Wales to develop the skills needed to build careers in the creative industries.”
Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts: “When the creative team behind Galwad brought it to us we were immediately seduced by the scale, ambition and imagination of the project so it was an easy step for us to hop on board as broadcast partner. We are delighted to be supporting such a ground-breaking piece of work and the creative communities who will benefit by being a part of it.”
A diversity of lived experience is embedded into the devising and performance which is presented in English, Welsh and British Sign Language.