Working over five days in the magical Taliesin garden of Bryngarw Park, teenage boys and then families explored the ancient Arthurian legends. Learning new creative, forest and survival skills, meeting and working with new people and creating an experience to remember were all part of the special Summer Arts projects with Valley and Vale.
Fourteen boys took part in a three-day event. Aged 12-14, some of the boys had been coaxed by parents and friends to take part! At the end of day one, everyone was amazed at how interesting they were finding it, and by the end of day three all of the boys said they would like to do more of this kind of work!
From the interviews, all of the boys said they had enjoyed it more than they expected. In particular, they found the following bits the most interesting:
…working with tools
…building a boat
And they were less impressed by:
…the introductory talk
…the waiting around for tools
The boys learned about some of the Arthurian legends, in particular stories about how the knights might have lived and worked, and they created a number of large-scale props from the stories that the families then were able to incorporate into their weekend afterwards, including a throne, a boat and a bridge.
The sun continued to shine for most of the weekend as families arrived to explore the legend of The Sword in the Stone. The adventure wove threads of the magic of Avalon and Merlin with the coronation of a new king, before it quickly fast-forwarded to Arthur’s final battle and the sailing of his wounded body in a boat to receive healing from Avalon.
Some of the children in the group decided they wanted to change the end of the story- so instead of Arthur dying before sailing to Avalon, he sailed away wounded, in search of healing, in a boat surrounded by herbs and plants with healing powers. In this way, the mystery of death could remain with us, and the dream of a place of healing would remain with us. We finished the weekend in a special gathering at Avalon, where all of the warriors were praised, and where a special dance for peace for the world was sung and danced.
As the families packed up to leave, whispers of “this is one of the highlights of our Summer” were heard amongst the trees…
A special thanks to BCBC staff Ceri Evans, Dan and Keith at Bryngarw Park for supporting the project and helping to make it happen.