Fragments of Journeys Towards the Horizon has been a long time coming. I first met Jeroen van den Berg in New York back in 2006. We were both International Assosciates of The Lark – a play development company that is a player on the NY theatre scene. We struck up a friendship and in the years following our meeting we visited each other’s countries and saw each other’s work. A desire to collabotrate was a natural extension of our friendship. However, as per the best of intentions, our desire remained unrealised. That was, until one day, van den Berg and I walked amongst the dunes of Noords Vader on the island of Terscheliing (the location of the Oerol festival). I was inspired by that walk. Somehow it not only threw our friendship into relief but the whole nature of our desire to collaborate.
Upon return to Wales I drafted a text that kick started our collaborative process; a process which is outlined in two essays published alongside the play texts by De Nieuwe Toneelbibliotheek. To date, our collaboration has resulted in the creation of several texts, readings of our works, a short film, a full staging (of van den Berg’s text) and a several versions of ‘undetectable theatre’ (based upon my text).
Presenting our work at Oerol in June 2016 was, in essence a homecoming. We took back to the island the work that was inspired by it. Though both works differ considerably, they are thematically intertwined. And though they are entities in their own right, they are somehow greater when experienced together. It was wonderful to layer the texts upon the same landscape and create, that which was a palimpsest of site specific theatre.
It was also poignant as the works were presented at Oerol a week before the UK Referendum; an event that truly thrust the whole nature of UK / European collaboration into stark relief.
Between Oerol 2016 and the Rotterdam performances, Britain voted for Brexit. Not by my hand, may I add. The opportunity to host a reading alongside the re-staging of van den Berg’s production in Rotterdam is an exciting prospect. It will re-frame the texts in an urban environment and offer an opportunity to debate the collaborative journey we undertook alongside the greater issues re. international collaboration in a changed Europe.
This project has been a milestone in my development as a writer. It has enabled me to reach into Europe and place my own culture in a broader perspective. It will be a crying shame if, due to the xenophobic will of Little Englanders, that I, along with many other artists from this outlying rock, will not be able to continue our journeys towards new horizons.
Ian Rowlands, acteur, regisseur en schrijver
Ian Rowlands (1964) volgde de acteursopleiding aan The Welsh College of Music and Drama. Daarna richtte hij zijn eigen groep Theatr y Byd op, waarmee hij zijn eerste stukken uitbracht. In 2001 werd hij artistiek leider van Theatr Bara Caws, een Welsh-talig theater gezelschap, om In 2003 artistiek leider te worden van Llwyfan Cogledd Cymru, het gezelschap van Noord Wales. Vanaf 2008 werkt Ian Rowlands als televisie-regisseur. Momenteel combineert hij het regisseren van de BBC soap serie Pobol y Cwym met lesgeven en het schrijven van toneelstukken en hoorspelen. Zijn werk is uitgegeven door Drama Association of Wales, Parthian Books, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch en No Passport Press (NY)