Gruff Rhys winner of Original Music Set Fire to the Stars
With a carpet as red as the Welsh dragon, the streets of Cardiff opened up to support the glamour and talent that has come out of Wales for the 2015 BAFTA Cymru Awards. Stars that are known among the TV dwellers, some who have reached the realms of Hollywood and even celebrities that fly the flag for this wonderful country were out in their glory in the centre of the capital.
Seeing and getting the chance to speak to the likes of Scott Quinnell, Charlotte Church and Russell T Davies was a joy but also a warm sense of pride was evoked for someone who comes from a Welsh mother but predominately studied and trained in this creative country that is not given enough acknowledgement in the industry.
It is all well and good celebrating the United Kingdom as a whole, but to celebrate Wales specifically is a triumph. Underestimated for its acting, musical and writing talent, we have brought out fantastic shows and films from the BBC, S4C and Pinewood Studios.
This especially comes from conversations I have had with those I know in other parts of the country. There is an attitude that this event is nothing but a lower version of the larger event – a laughable act to celebrate Wales. But how can this be? Do people so easily forget that majority of our programmes and creative people come from Wales? And that this is only growing.
Due to this underestimation of Welsh talent, the focus I wanted to find from talking with these people was what should young people be doing in Wales to get into the industry? Many move away to find better opportunities, and while I moved myself, I was under no illusion that there were prospects in Wales, but more to experience somewhere else for a short time.
Russell T Davis especially was so interesting to speak to. He recommended that the industry is hard work but just to persevere. Writing, especially, the key is to just keep writing. And while this is specific, it could be said that this is great advice for everyone. Working hard gets you everywhere and within a country that slowly is becoming more recognised for the talent it produces, the industry will become harder than it already is, and hard to break.
Other conversations, mostly with actors gave opinions that Wales is a great place for the young in the industry. With fantastic institutions, the way to train and get involved has changed from the days of leaving and finding the hard work of the big smoke that is London. London and England no longer is the be all and end all of the industry but nor does the advice to work hard and find these institutions means that the industry is a lonely place where you look out for only yourself. It was said that finding a group that supports talent such as drama classes or dance classes can also open avenues. Some fall into the industry from these outlets but ultimately, with Wales being such a small place, these training classes can open avenues which still will rely on hard work.
This patriotic and beautiful celebration gives much food for thought, especially for those like myself who moved away to find herself never far from Wales and returning. London is beautiful, it’s fantastic but it is vast. Sometimes lonely and difficult in this vastness. And while Wales is becoming more and more recognised for fantastic talent and may one day will become as vast as London, the warmth and patriotism of the country at such events shows that the industry does not need to be so wide and for the solo, but can be homely, welcoming and so close-knit as Wales as a whole, in my experience, has always been.