November 30 2011

‘What Happened to Aphrodite?’

In Search of Aphrodite

We have just finished our most recent youth theatre production ‘In Search of Aphrodite’ and it was a huge success. The cast was made up of seven (nine originally) very talented young people from Bridgend Borough, who had worked with our Drama Development Worker Tracy Evans since September, and a very talented young assistant director, James Thomas, to create their devised performance.

The performance began as an exploration of sexual promiscuity in Bridgend and beyond. It quickly reached into areas of TV, the media and celebrity. We explored Ted Hughes’ text ‘Tales of Ovid’ as a stimulus, and in the end the main thread of the exploration seemed to centre around female promiscuity and the ways in which this is viewed by the media and society in general, male ‘performance’ in finding a partner, and the role of TV lifestyles in mental fractures, ruptures and breakdowns.

The piece was performed three times to audiences at Bridgend College and Brynteg Comprehensive School and was followed each time by a lively discussion about the themes.

Some of the comments made by audience members:

“ It makes you think of when are we performing – are we always performing? When can we see the real person?”

and in response another suggested:

“on my own when I’m relaxed in the bath!”

Others said:

“ We don’t have to do what celebrities do, but seeing them makes us think about how we want our lives to be – sometimes that’s the opposite of what we see on TV.”

“ The piece really played with the idea of the perfect woman – from the 1950s perfect housewife, we now expect our female celebrities to look a certain way and act a certain way.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this, with so much equipment and technology … it really works.”

“ It’s more open doing a performance this way … it allows us to think for ourselves.”

This production was part of a wider county-wide arts project exploring sexual health, and the project was funded by The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Bridgend County Borough Council and The Arts Council of Wales.