National Eisteddfod, August 2013
During July, we received an email about a new fund for digital research ideas, to develop audience or for business purposes. We bounced ideas around the Theatr Gen office but couldn’t decide what the best option would be to develop further. We decided to meet with possible digital partners at the Eisteddfod. During a very sunny afternoon in the Eisteddfod in Denbigh, Arwel Lowri and myself met Rob Ashelford – the Programme Manager for the Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts in Wales – so we could learn more about the fund and how we should go about applying. It was clear to me after the meeting that the idea needed to be innovative to be in for a chance.
One of the companies that we’d arranged to meet during the week was Galactig. It had turned quite cold on the Eisteddfod Maes by now, so swapped the ice cream outside for a coffee inside and we had a great meeting. Although I’m familiar with Anest and Derick of Galactig company, and their work – they developed ein-tir.com for S4C which was a television version of our production, Tir Sir Gar – we had a chat to introduce our work to each other. During the chat, Derick mentioned his experience of the audience of Tir Sir Gar. Derick is from Scotland and is learning Welsh, and although he used the cards which has and English synopsis of the scenes in the production, he explained that recording the actors’ voices would be a better idea. The non-welsh speakers could listen to the translation using their phones.
Arwel explained that Welsh learners and non-welsh speakers had access to Blodeuwedd by listening to a synopsis recorded by the actors on specific times during the performance, but that production was unique as the whole audience listened to the dialogue on their headphones. Derick mentioned that this would be possible by creating an app and downloading it to the phone. The conversation picked up and we all started to get really excited realising we were on to something good… but then of course, the meeting had to come to an end as we all had various events, performances and meetings we had to be at! It was the Eisteddfod after all!
That afternoon, Arwel, Lowri and I discussed over a paned what the next steps were to complete the application. Time was against us. It was the beginning of August, most of us had arranged a holiday or were going to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and we had to complete the application by September. We were sure that the idea we discussed with Galactig was the right idea for the fund. We didn’t feel that other ideas we had were innovative enough, or using the latest technology and developing audience. So we were decided – this would be our innovative idea!