takepART 2020 Venue Cymru

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I had the great pleasure of being a part of takepART last weekend at the vast Venue Cymru in Llandudno.  Just twelve days after finishing “Sleeping Beauty” there, it was a train journey back to once again become Myfanwy, Queen Of Deganwy!

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Queen Myfanwy with Lord Mostyn in the opening ceremony!

Wales’ largest Creative Arts and Science Festival is held each year in Venue Cymru. Every available space is used to house workshops, events, performances and places for kids from 0-18 to literally take part in creating or discovering something.

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A montage of just a few of the things on offer over two days.

The vast Arena was used to house a Roller Rink, The Welsh National Opera Tunnel Installation with interactive creatures from the Opera “The Cunning Little Vixen” popping up to greet you. Inside this massive space you could find Magic Light’s Puppet Theatre- Black light/UV Puppets not only demonstrated in a show, but there to be picked up and played with.

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Stuart Loughland, Nigel & Libby Edwards- The stars of The Colwyn Bay Pantomime are both Magic Light Productions and Safire- illusionists, plus good mates!

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Still within the Arena was Vertical Dancing, using ropes and harnesses to teach you to walk on walls, alongside Make a Mini Sea Monster, and a fascinating Gadget that when you colour in a fish on a piece of paper, it is scanned and comes to life in a 3D Aquarium! (I did this one twice- it really captured the artist in me!)

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The Pirate in this picture is Famous children’s illustrator Johnny Duddle- he of Harry Potter Fame, signing the books and running Workshops on Pirates and Dinosaurs!

Still in The Arena there was a large Performing Space, as well as many other workshops, a soft play area, and clog dancing.

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A popular area (certainly with me!) was the Therapy Dogs area. Bojangles the Terrier is the meeter and greeter for this organisation. The cartoon above is by Harry Venning. Harry is my favourite cartoonist. He created “Hamlet” in the “Stage Newspaper” each week. Its wicked and topical and, unlike the dogs here, biting! Harry ran his “Release Your Inner Cartoonist” workshops here on both days!

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Bojangles in the Therapy Dogs section Ground Floor.

My Royal Walk-abouts filled in a lot of the time- from 10am -5pm on Saturday and 10-4pm Sunday. In between visiting all areas, I compered the Take To The Stage Variety Show in the Theatre Auditorium (Where we did The “Sleeping Beauty” Pantomime.)

The show featured local talents- The Rock Project, The Pearl Shaw School of Performing Arts (Our Junior Dancers in both pantomimes here), Barton Dance & Drama Academy and amazing illusions from Safire, international Illusionists.

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Just a few of the hundreds of workshops and activities at takepART 2020. Aardman Model Making Workshops, Harry Potter Events, The Royal Ballet’s Workshops on “Alice In Wonderland”- Make up sessions with Zoe Ellen, Storytelling, Space Explorers and a whole vast room dedicated to Space, with Professor Planet- The list is endless!

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The Cutting Of The Ribbon!

Over these two packed days, this year 11,500 people- mainly young people took part! You can see the size of the building- here it is (as designed by Architect Aidan Ridyard, who held his Create A New Llandudno Workshops ). It is vast!

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Every space became a place to join in, explore, watch, take part throughout two full days- and all FREE OF CHARGE! The Conwy Arts Trust funds this two day explosion of education and activities and during the Panto we held collections for this. During the two days here contributions were gratefully received so that next year can continue from strength to strength.

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My personal highlight was being captured on paper by the incredibly talented Harry Venning- these two cartoons of me are taking pride of place!

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Harry Venning draws Queen Myfanwy!

There are many other events to mention, from Pobwyl Y Cwm’s stars – it is one of the longest running “Soaps” in the country, second to Coronation Street- meeting their fans, through to Take A Poem, Create A Puppet, (Punch and Judy appeared in the foyer courtesy of Magic Light Puppets), Game Developers Workshop, Weaving, Archeology, Origami, Singing Workshops, Lion King & Mary Poppins Workshops..Only Boys Aloud singing on the staircase, A Radio Station, A pack of Junior Reporters touring every hour, and Paul Sampson leading a Pap Pack of young photographers- A truly magical and amazing event.

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John Evans Returns to Venue Cymru Next Panto. Here is his Understudy!

So, a huge thank you to the Venue Cymru Team and staff and army of volunteers- To Keith for running the Variety Show in the Auditorium- Here he is mid show!

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Keith running the corner.

Finally a huge thank you to Theatre Manager Sarah Ecob. She and her team ran the two days like clockwork. If there was a gap it was filled. If there was a queue, it was lessened- Sarah and her team worked non stop to create this very speacial event. Thank you so much for allowing me to takepART!

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