Tag Archives: croatoan design

Cardiff: my personal geography, by Gwion Thorpe

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In Cardiff, home is…

Canton with the wife, kids and the coolest 3-legged dog in Wales.

Favourite Cardiff eatery

Hangfire Smokehouse at The Lansdowne

Ideal first date in Cardiff?

Fry up at Saffron, boating on Roath Lake, watch Wales beat England (again!) at the stadium, pints at Tap House, curry at Purple Poppadom, early night 😉

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you

I have the longest tongue in Wales (unofficial)

Earliest Cardiff memory

Watching Paul Bodin miss THAT penalty at the Arms Park and seeing grown men cry

What was the last film you saw?

Frozen (for probably the 20th time this week)

Favourite Cardiff shops

Rules of Play, Riverside Market

Best Cardiff-based leisure activity

Chilling in the park (take your pick). Simples.

What was the last book you read?

The Prodigal Daughter, Archer.

Biggest ambition

For my children to be proud of me and not to have any regrets on my death bed

Best Cardiff pubs

Urban TapHouse and The Lansdowne

Favourite Cardiff discovery

The New York Hoagie

Last album you listened to

Gipsy Kings, self titled (instant sunshine).

If you had friends coming to Cardiff for a weekend, what would you recommend they do?

Take me out on my ideal first date (minus the early night)!

Your ambitions for the future?

No regrets and make my children proud

What do you want to achieve this year?

Four million people taking part in The Big Lunch on June 1st!! 

Gwion Thorpe is involved in a number of social / community projects in Cardiff / Wales. Current day job is social marketing for The Big Lunch, a wonderfully simple campaign to help strengthen communities and spread a bit of happiness by encouraging people to have lunch with their neighbours annually on the 1st Sunday in June.  Also proudly a Director for Cardiff’s award-winning RCMA Social Enterprise (home of the Riverside Market) and a (very) part-time blogger at inspiringcardiff.com, sharing the stories of awesome people doing really cool things across the city. Cymro Cymraeg!

Gwion was photographed at The Lansdowne by Adam Chard

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“Adamsdown is my favourite” – Ellie

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I went to Aberystwyth University and had a few friends that moved to Cardiff when they graduated. A few of us hung around Aber for a bit not knowing what we should do and then decided we would all just move to Cardiff. I’ve lived in Riverside then Roath and now settled in Adamsdown. Adamsdown is my favourite, because it’s cheap and most of my friends live in the surrounding streets. Though I have fond memories of Riverside and my housemates, and Roath because I met a lovely landlord and his family who became my adopted Cardiff family! Cardiff is just so friendly and welcoming which is why it rocks!

By day, I am a legal secretary for a Patent and Trade Mark firm. It’s a job I fell into but it’s pretty great. In my spare time I do the admin for the Mary Bijou Cabaret and Social Club. If you haven’t heard of us we are a Cardiff-based (so far!) cabaret night. We began in 2010, staging themed shows in our local community hall that featured circus performers, musicians, dancers and actors from Cardiff and around the world. Our shows are immersive and intimate, driven by playfulness and good fun; the audience is invited to become part of the cabaret family for the evening. By 2011 these nights were growing in popularity, and we were invited by the Wales Millennium Centre to perform as part of the 2011 Blysh festival. Since then, Mary Bijou has been going from strength to strength. We recently performed at our second Machynlleth Comedy Festival 2013, of which we were invited back to before our 2012 first year’s festival was even over! We provide the after-hours’ entertainment in the evenings as well as daytime circus workshops.

We’re going to be back at The Centre’s Blysh festival this July and August, bigger and better than ever, with a show called “Hitch” in the Spiegel tent which is ever so exciting. This year we get a four night run!

We’re confident that this summer’s show for the Centre will be our best yet. We’re already planning our shows for Machynlleth next May, and hope to include a daytime family-friendly “children’s’ cabaret”.

Some of my favourite things to do in the city are head to the hula hooping class at the Nofit State Circus HQ or at a spin class after work, or trawling junk shops for 1950s kitchens at the weekend, going to any number of the wonderful gigs and shows happening around town, electro-swing hopping with the Kitsch n Sync girls at their Tuesday class, drinking Waterloo tea in Porter’s and catching up with friends.

There are a whole load of fun things to recommend in this city – but obviously the first one would be to come and see our show in the spiegeltent this July 31st until 3 August 2013!

Ellie Pilott has collaborated with Mary Bijou since the first show in 2010. Nofit State circus inspired her to take up hula hoop but she is too shy to perform so she stays in the background and does a number of jobs filling in where appropriate but mainly the administration and marketing. She is a proficient tea drinker, junk shop trawler, hula hoop teacher and property finder. She makes Mary Bijou Go, Go, Go! Catch Mary Bijou on Facebook or Twitter @themarybijou or on their website. She currently lives in Adamsdown.

Mary Bijou’s show Hitch premieres in their purpose-built Spiegeltent in Cardiff Bay outside the Wales Millennium Centre between 31 July and 4 August 2013.

Ellie was photographed with her hula hoops at Porter’s by Adam Chard

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Reminder: We Are Cardiff’s film is premiering at Chapter Sunday 7 July – last chance to get tickets!

A reminder that our lovely film about what it’s like to live through a year in Cardiff is PREMIERING at CHAPTER ARTS CENTRE this SUNDAY 7 JULY at 12.30 MIDDAY!

We’re creeping towards capacity, so if you need tickets get them here from Eventbrite

Facebook event with more info here

Adam Chard will be selling limited edition prints of our lovely city of Cardiff that he’s designed for the special price of TEN POUNDS at the launch on Sunday! Total bargain. Check out his pretty A3 print below!

It’s available pre-order on his BigCartel page here. It’s an edition of 50 hand-numbered and signed 420x297mm prints on 350gsm silk card.

You can either order to collect at the We are Cardiff documentary premiere at Chapter Arts Centre on Sunday 7 July, or for dispatch on Monday 8 July – remember the preorder price is reduced so place your orders before midnight on Sunday!

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Limited edition poster prints available at our film premiere Sunday 7 July…

It’s just a few days to go now until the premiere of the We Are Cardiff: Portrait of a City documentary! Haven’t got a ticket yet? You can book one here!

Our AMAZING designer Adam Chard (aka Croatoan Design) will be manning a stall at the premiere at Chapter. He’ll be selling a brand-new limited edition print of our pretty city of Cardiff!

The design will be revealed at the weekend but it’s going to become clearer throughout the week – think you can work out what’s on there? Have a look at Adam’s blog!

It’s an edition of 50, all hand-numbered and signed. The 420x297mm print will be available at the bargaintastic price of £10 to anyone who goes to see the WAC movie – after next Sunday any remaining prints will be priced at £15. Want to reserve one in advance? Drop Adam a line at adam@croatoandesign.co.uk

There will also be We Are Cardiff t-shirts and prints of the movie poster available on the day.

We all hope to see you there!

We Are Cardiff
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We Are Cardiff: Portrait of a City – film poster unveiled!

Cardiff-based designer and artist Adam Chard (aka Croatoan Design) was one of the original troop who set up We Are Cardiff back in 2010. And wouldn’t you know it – he’s only gone and designed us an amazing poster for our film!

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Pretty spiffing, eh?

A reminder that our FILM is PREMIERING at Chapter Arts Centre on Sunday 7 July at 1pm. Tickets are £6 in advance. Get em while they’re hot! Adam will also have a limited edition print of the poster for sale at the premiere …

“Unity Festival’s visiting acts always comment on how much they love coming to Cardiff” – Ben

Ben Pettitt-Wade photographed by Adam Chard

For the last nine months I have been planning and organising Hijinx Theatre’s annual Unity Festival – a two week event that sees a variety of award winning inclusive arts companies descend upon Cardiff. I have to say I’m exhausted! We’re a Cardiff-based inclusive arts company with a very small team. In reality we don’t have enough staff or resources to be doing this, thank goodness for volunteers! But every hour spent is worth it for Cardiff, the arts and the performers.

Having worked in Liverpool, London and Seville (albeit briefly) and Cardiff, I can honestly say that Cardiff is on a par with these cities in terms of the inclusive art scene and the work being produced, but it’s the audiences that differ. I’ve sat in packed 1,000 seat theatres in Seville watching a piece of inclusive dance, we wouldn’t get that in Cardiff, and that’s something we are trying to change through Unity Festival. We believe in the work we present and believe it should be enjoyed by everyone.

We started in 2008 with an audience of 1,500 people and year on year the festival has grown in both size and ambition to become one of the largest inclusive arts festivals in Europe, with more than 7,000 people enjoying performances in 2012. Last year will always be unforgettable. For the first time we received £100,000 of funding from the Arts Council of Wales which meant we could start thinking big and turn what were pipe dreams into a reality. We brought Back to Back Theatre from Australia over for the Festival; they performed for three days in the middle of Queen Street. It was incredible.

This year we’re lucky to have secured the same funding and as a direct result of the Paralympics we are welcoming more home grown acts than ever before. Our mission is to build on the Festival each year while staying true to its core – to provide a platform for the inclusive arts, offer more opportunities within the spotlight for disabled artists and expose their amazing talents.

For the first time, Cardiff audiences will be able to enjoy spectacles including modern fable The Iron Man (a colossal iron puppet the size of a double decker bus) from London-based Graeae Theatre Company, who can be credited with kicking off the whole movement in disability arts in the 1970s. As well as Three Acts of Play from Candoco Dance Company, UK pioneers of inclusive contemporary dance; it will twist your perceptions of who can dance and who enjoys it!

We are also showcasing international acts, Sevilliano flamenco Cia Jose Galan, back by popular demand following a near sell out last year and jaw-dropping acrobatics from French company Cirque Inextremiste. I saw this show in Marseille and I guarantee it will blow you away.

More than anything I love the feel good vibe that the Festival creates and can’t wait to experience it again. Our visiting acts always comment on how much they love coming to Cardiff, how friendly people are and the great reception they get. So, people of Cardiff, I’m asking you to come and see for yourself the brilliant theatre dance, music and comedy on offer and help make this year the best yet with the biggest audience!

Ben Pettitt-Wade was born in London, grew up in Carmarthenshire and has lived in Riverside for the last six years. Following completion of a drama degree, Ben’s acting career was cut short when he broke his ankle in rehearsals; he then joined Spare Tyre Theatre Company in London where he co-ordinated inc.Theatre, a training course for learning disabled actors. It was here that Ben discovered a passion for working inclusively and specifically in drama with learning disabled performers. Since then he has amassed over 10 years experience in this field, in Cardiff, London and Seville. Ben is responsible for the Hijinx Academy, the Hijinx Pods, the community projects,  forum theatre pieces, and the Unity Festival. He currently lives in Riverside.

Unity Festival runs from 12-22 June 2013, and offers both free and ticketed performances across the city at Wales Millennium Centre and Sherman Cymru. Visit www.hijinx.org.uk/unity for a full programme or see @HijinxTheatre on Twitter. 

Ben was photographed in Cardiff Bay by Adam Chard

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“Cardiff, it has been the most wonderful dream” – Sarah

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When I first came to Cardiff on a University open day in 2007, rain soaked and fearful, I never expected that this would be the place that I would make my home. At the time I thought that Cardiff was just a place to study, and that after my undergraduate degree, I would move back to my real ‘home’.

And yet, four years later, I have fallen head over heels with Cardiff, and it is a love affair that looks set to continue as I have just accepted an offer of a postgraduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism right here in this beautiful city.

You see, after four wonderful years, Cardiff has become my true home. That may sound cliché, but it’s absolutely true.

In this city I have lived my life, and become an adult. I have gained my independence, experienced freedom for the first time, and learned how to cook.

In this city I have loved. I have held hands under the neon glare of Winter Wonderland, shared whispered dreams for the future and danced in the arms of lovers.

In this city I have explored. I have wandered through kitsch, rambling arcades, sought bargains and eaten strange foods in new restaurants. I have lost myself in the winding terraced streets of Cathays, and I have rowed on Roath Lake.

In this city I have laughed. I have made great friends, shared experiences and cried over good-byes. I have lounged in Bute Park, celebrated birthdays and said met some wonderful strangers.

In this city I have been inspired. I have marvelled at the beautiful University buildings, and stared in awe at the war memorial. I have been a journalist and I have let this city sculpt the experiences that I write about.

I have worked, played and learnt so much more about the kind of life that I want to have. And I have been very lucky to do all of that right here.

Cardiff, it has been the most wonderful dream. Thank you.

Sarah Powell graduated from Cardiff University in 2010, and has since spent a year working as Head of Student Media and gair rhydd Editor at Cardiff University Students’ Union. She is due to spend next year studying Broadcast Journalism, and generally contemplating whether life will exist without gair rhydd. She currently lives in Cathays, where she spends a lot of time drinking tea and trying to write. You can find her on twitter @sarah_powell.

Sarah was photographed in the gair rhydd offices in Cardiff University’s Student Union by Adam Chard

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