“Pan Ddaeth y Dreigiau yn Ôl i Gymru” & “Y Planedau”
"When the Dragons came back to Wales" & "The Planets"
THE PLANETS - 50 minutes
Mars - The Bringer of War
Venus - The Bringer of Peace
Mercury - The Winged Messenger
Jupiter - The Bringer of Jollity
Saturn - The Bringer of Old Age
Uranus - The Magician
Neptune - The Mystic
Mars part two
INTERVAL - 20 minutes
WHEN THE DRAGONS CAME BACK TO WALES - 50 minutes
“The Planets” by Gustav Holst
Written by Stuart H. Bawler and Hummadruz, present & past
Directed by Stuart H. Bawler
“When the Dragons came back to Wales”
Written by Stuart H. Bawler & Composed by Lenny Sayers
Conducted by Emilie Godden
Directed by Stuart H. Bawler and the Cast
“The Planets” designed and made by Stuart H. Bawler with help from the cast.
“Mercury” props made by participants of SENSE Cymru.
“When the Dragons came back to Wales”
Props designed and made by Stuart H. Bawler with help from the cast.
Puppets designed and made by Ruby Gibbens.
Backdrops designed and painted by Lizzie Twelvetree.
Education workshops facilitated by Stuart H. Bawler & Ciara Killick.
Poster illustration by Lizzie Twelvetree, Poster Designed by Alice Hawthorne (Alice Artwork).
Costume by Deborah Blake.
Stage Managed by Nia Morris.
Produced by Ciara Killick.
This production has been funded and supported by The Arts Council of Wales’ National Lottery Scheme and Welsh Government; Riverfront Theatre, Newport; Citrus Arts; Blackwood Miner’s Institute.
Very Special Thanks to:The Arts Council of Wales’ National Lottery Scheme and Welsh Government; Riverfront Theatre, Newport; Citrus Arts; Blackwood Miner’s Institute; Carys Wynne-Williams; Leah, Gemma, Chris and all the Staff at the Riverfront; James Doyle-Roberts; Eloise Tong; SENSE Cymru – Rich, Kate and all the staff; ITV Wales Backstage; Cleo Andriola; Cat Blake; Alice Hawthorne; All of our families for supporting us, and YOU, the audience, for coming to the theatre to indulge in some joyful, colourful and beautiful fun...... and supporting Welsh Artists!
Who we are
Stuart H. Bawler
I made all of this up out of my head.
The first “Hummadruz” show was performed in 1994 at Howard Gardens Student’s Union - a UV spectacle with a live DJ and live Techno, with the title “The Pyramid Spell”.Instead of dancing the night away, the Clubbers sat down and watched!
Since then, I’ve been a manager of 2 Theatres, Designer and Stage Manager for India Dance Wales amongst others, Theatre Technician, directed numerous community productions, Community Artist, Circus Performer, Psychedelic Dandy Man, Script-Writer and worked in dozens of schools boosting children’s creativity for the Arts Council of Wales Most of this work has happened all at the same time.
I put the team together knowing that everyone was much cleverer than me. I was proved right. I hope this production makes you smile and fills your heart and mind with beautiful and joyful thoughts.
When I grow up I want to be an astronaut.
Fe wnes i hyn i gyd gan ddefnyddio fy nychymyg.
Perfformiwyd y sioe “Hummadruz” gyntaf ym 1994 yn Undeb Myfyrwyr Howard Gardens - sioe UV gyda DJ byw a Techno byw, gyda’r teitl “The Pyramid Spell”. Yn lle dawnsio’r noson i ffwrdd, eisteddodd y Clwbwyr i lawr a gwylio! Ers hynny, rydw i wedi bod yn rheolwr 2 Theatr, Dylunydd a Rheolwr Llwyfan i India Dance Wales ymhlith eraill, Technegydd Theatr, Cyfarwyddo nifer o gynyrchiadau cymunedol, Artist Cymunedol, Perfformiwr Syrcas, Dandy Man Seicedelig, Sgript-Ysgrifennwr a gweithio mewn dwsinau o ysgolion yn hybu creadigrwydd plant i Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru Mae'r rhan fwyaf o'r gwaith hwn i gyd wedi digwydd ar yr un pryd.
Rhoddais y tîm at ei gilydd gan wybod bod pawb yn llawer clyfar na fi. Cefais fy mhrofi'n gywir. Rwy'n gobeithio y bydd y cynhyrchiad hwn yn gwneud ichi wenu ac yn llenwi'ch calon a'ch meddwl â meddyliau hyfryd a llawen. Pan fyddaf yn tyfu i fyny rydw i eisiau bod yn ofodwr.
Warren is a company director of Hummadruz Ltd and co-founded the company with Stu in 2014. Warren is a performer, maker, quizmaster and theatre technician from Cardiff. His principal role is Grampy in “Dragons”.
Mae Warren yn gyfarwyddwr cwmni Hummadruz Ltd a chyd-sefydlodd y cwmni gyda Stu yn 2014. Perfformiwr, gwneuthurwr, cwisfeistr a thechnegydd theatr o Gaerdydd yw Warren. Ei brif rôl yw Grampy yn “Dragons”.
Liam Wallace, A Cardiff Based Artist trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and graduated with a BPA(Hons) in contemporary dance in 2015. Since then Liam has been developing his performance & teaching practice in contemporary dance working as a freelancer on different projects across the UK.
Working with the WNO, Jo Fong and Krystal Lowe to develop of moving and teaching that promotes openness and individuality in movement while performing.
Choreographically Liam has worked on a range of art forms including film, Music videos and Dance work where his focus is to create strong, powerful and emotive work often relating to a dancer's physical strengths and their understanding of the body, while still giving the dancer freedom to explore possibilities within his movement language. His principal roles in the show are the Artist and Mayor.
Hyfforddodd Liam Wallace, Artist o Gaerdydd yn Northern School of Contemporary Dance a graddiodd gyda BPA(Anrh) mewn dawns gyfoes yn 2015. Ers hynny mae Liam wedi bod yn datblygu ei ymarfer perfformio ac addysgu mewn dawns gyfoes gan weithio fel gweithiwr llawrydd ar wahanol brosiectau ar draws y Deyrnas Unedig.
Gan weithio gyda'r WNO, Jo Fong a Krystal Lowe i ddatblygu symud ac addysgu sy'n hyrwyddo didwylledd ac unigoliaeth mewn symud wrth berfformio.
Yn goreograffyddol mae Liam wedi gweithio ar amrywiaeth o ffurfiau celf gan gynnwys ffilm, fideos Cerddoriaeth a gwaith Dawns lle mae’n canolbwyntio ar greu gwaith cryf, pwerus ac emosiynol yn aml yn ymwneud â chryfderau corfforol dawnsiwr a’u dealltwriaeth o’r corff, tra’n dal i roi rhyddid i’r dawnsiwr. i archwilio posibiliadau o fewn ei iaith symud.
Chez is a theatre maker, musician and wellbeing facilitator. Since training at Dartington College of Arts in Theatre and Choreography in 2009, Chez has toured and collaborated with a wide range of projects, companies and made her own work in and around the South West.
You may have seen Chez on a bike up the Wye Valley River Festival, as a clown with Performers without Borders, a music leader with Bristol beacon, up the ropes with EveryBody Dance, on the screen with Reading the Forest, out in the Streets with Pif-Paf, in the Big Top with Pazaaz, holding space for grief processing, down the Savoy for Panto season or even in the brass band up the road! Eclectic indeed - tis the life of a multi-disciplinary practitioner.
Chez also practices as a Sports and Remedial massage therapist in Bristol and Chepstow, encompassing trauma informed theory with a high level embodied anatomical knowledge.
The heart of this work is connection, play and authenticity. Delighted to be back on the boards with Hummadruz! Her principal role is as Awel in “Dragons”.
Gwneuthurwr theatr, cerddor a hwylusydd lles yw Chez. Ers hyfforddi yng Ngholeg Celfyddydau Dartington mewn Theatr a Choreograffi yn 2009, mae Chez wedi teithio a chydweithio ag ystod eang o brosiectau a chwmnïau ac wedi gwneud ei gwaith ei hun yn y De Orllewin a’r cyffiniau.
Efallai eich bod wedi gweld Chez ar feic i fyny Gŵyl Afon Dyffryn Gwy, fel clown gyda Performers without Borders, arweinydd cerdd gyda beacon Bryste, i fyny'r rhaffau gyda EveryBody Dance, ar y sgrin gyda Reading the Forest, allan yn y Strydoedd gyda Pif-Paf, yn y Big Top gyda Pazaaz, yn dal gofod ar gyfer prosesu galar, i lawr y tymor Savoy for Panto neu hyd yn oed yn y band pres i fyny'r ffordd! Eclectig yn wir - dyma fywyd ymarferydd amlddisgyblaethol.
Mae Chez hefyd yn ymarfer fel therapydd tylino Chwaraeon ac Adferol ym Mryste a Chas-gwent, gan gwmpasu theori wedi’i llywio gan drawma gyda lefel uchel o wybodaeth anatomegol ymgorfforedig.
Calon y gwaith hwn yw cysylltiad, chwarae a dilysrwydd. Braf bod yn ôl ar y byrddau gyda Hummadruz! Ei phrif rôl yw fel Awel yn “Dragons”.
Kimberley Noble trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance, she is a freelance dance artist based in Cardiff. Kimberley dances for various choreographers and companies as well as co- directing and choreographing for dance theatre company Kitsch & Sync Collective. She performs and creates with Alex Marshal Parsons who also makes work for outdoor spaces, Gwyn Emberton- contemporary intergenerational work, Caroline Sabine- who makes immersive theatre, Sean Tuan John- making work for young audiences, Spirit of Nimba – African fusion company, Untold dance theatre- intergenerational company and Matteo Marfoglia- dance theatre. Kimberley has also collaborated with 4Pi; choreographing and performing in India and Montreal with the dance and 360 degree film project ‘Liminality’. At the core of Kimberley’s practice is a passion for creating and performing that is exciting and inspiring to audiences of all backgrounds and ages that is a crossover of different art forms. Kim's principal role is Awel's friend.
Hyfforddodd Kimberley Noble yn Northern School of Contemporary Dance, mae hi’n artist dawns llawrydd wedi’i lleoli yng Nghaerdydd. Mae Kimberley yn dawnsio i goreograffwyr a chwmnïau amrywiol yn ogystal â chyd-gyfarwyddo a choreograffu ar gyfer cwmni theatr ddawns Kitsch & Sync Collective. Mae hi’n perfformio ac yn creu gydag Alex Marshal Parsons sydd hefyd yn gwneud gwaith ar gyfer gofodau awyr agored, Gwyn Emberton- gwaith cyfoes sy’n pontio’r cenedlaethau, Caroline Sabine- sy’n gwneud theatr drochi, Sean Tuan John- gwneud gwaith i gynulleidfaoedd ifanc, Spirit of Nimba – cwmni ymasiad Affricanaidd, Untold theatr ddawns - cwmni rhwng cenedlaethau a Matteo Marfoglia- theatr ddawns. Mae Kimberley hefyd wedi cydweithio â 4Pi; coreograffi a pherfformio yn India a Montreal gyda’r prosiect dawns a ffilm 360 gradd ‘Liminality’. Wrth wraidd ymarfer Kimberley mae angerdd dros greu a pherfformio sy’n gyffrous ac yn ysbrydoledig i gynulleidfaoedd o bob cefndir ac oedran sy’n gorgyffwrdd â gwahanol ffurfiau celfyddydol.
With a background in performance, Rhianna's artistic approach is built on a deep understanding of how an audience will interact with an art work. With a passion for illusion her aim is to dazzle audiences by bringing the suspension of disbelief, the true embodiment of theatre, to every project. She specialises in large scale puppets or sculptures and wearable art using a range of techniques, from wood to willow, Latex casts to foam carves, even metal and fire!
Rhianna is our lead puppetteer
Gyda chefndir mewn perfformio, mae agwedd artistig Rhianna yn seiliedig ar ddealltwriaeth ddofn o sut y bydd cynulleidfa yn rhyngweithio â gwaith celf. Gydag angerdd am rithwiredd ei nod yw syfrdanu cynulleidfaoedd trwy ddod ag ataliad anghrediniaeth, gwir ymgorfforiad theatr, i bob prosiect. Mae’n arbenigo mewn pypedau neu gerfluniau ar raddfa fawr a chelf gwisgadwy gan ddefnyddio amrywiaeth o dechnegau, o bren i helyg, castiau latecs i gerfiau ewyn, hyd yn oed metel a thân!
Jodi Ann Nicholson
Jodi is a mixed-race: British/Afro Caribbean dance and visual artist based in South Wales. Training in contemporary dance at TrinityLaban and exploring Fine Art in Cardiff School of Art and Design her practice plays with multiple disciplines.
When looking at her practice through a focused lens Jodi’s work is about understanding the impact of past and place on her identity; when looking at her creative practice through a wide lens, Jodi’s work is about community, identity, home and belonging.
She seeks to work with people and hold conversations that are relevant to them in relation to community, identity, home and belonging; with the aim to connect and celebrate the communities that we live in.
Recent works include: STREAMS a collaboration with writer Jaffrin Khan as part of NDCWales and Literature Wales Plethu commission, Fabulous Animals directed by Zosia Jo and community project: Barry Community Quilt “stitching the community together”.
Jodi's principal roles in the show are the muse and Burlesque dancer.
To keep up with current work visit: www.jodiannnicholson.com
Artist dawns a gweledol cymysg ei hil: Prydeinig/ Affro Caribïaidd wedi ei lleoli yn Ne Cymru yw Jodi. Wedi hyfforddi mewn dawns gyfoes yn Trinity Laban ac archwilio Celfyddyd Gain yn Ysgol Gelf a Dylunio Caerdydd, mae ei hymarferiad yn chwarae gyda nifer o ddisgyblaethau. Wrth edrych ar ei hymarferiad drwy lens ffocws mae gwaith Jodi yn ymwneud â deall effaith gorffennol a lleoliad ar ei hunaniaeth; wrth edrych drwy lens lletach, mae ei gwaith yn ymwneud â chymuned, hunaniaeth, cartref a pherthyn. Mae hi’n ceisio gweithio gyda phobl a chynnal sgwrs sy’n berthnasol iddyn nhw ynghylch cymuned, hunaniaeth, cartref a pherthyn; gyda’r nod o gysylltu a dathlu'r cymunedau yr ydym yn rhan ohonynt.
Mae ei gwaith diweddar yn cynnwys STREAMS, cydweithrediad â’r awdur Jaffrin Khan fel rhan o gomisiwn Plethu CDCCymru a Llenyddiaeth Cymru, Fabulous Animals a gyfarwyddwyd gan Zosia Jo a phrosiect cymunedol: Barry Quilting Club “Stitching the community together”
SET AND STAGE
Ruby Gibbens: puppet/set designer
I am a puppet designer and maker based in Cardiff. I specialise in creating bespoke puppets for companies both nationally and internationally. I have had the opportunity to work in Portugal, New Zealand, Ukraine, and Norway.
I graduated with distinction from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where I completed an MA in Design for Performance, specialising in puppet making. Following my graduation, I have acquired 6 years of experience as a freelance maker. Throughout this period, I have had the privilege of bringing inspiring and imaginative ideas, designs, and stories to life. This has encompassed a wide range of projects, from grand-scale creations to more intricate designs. And now, onto my latest endeavour: delving into the captivating realm of puppetry in Ultraviolet
Dylunydd a gwneuthurwr pypedau ydw i wedi fy lleoli yng Nghaerdydd. Rwy’n arbenigo mewn creu pypedau pwrpasol ar gyfer cwmnïau yn genedlaethol ac yn rhyngwladol. Rwyf wedi cael y cyfle i weithio ym Mhortiwgal, Seland Newydd, Wcráin, a Norwy.
Graddiais gyda rhagoriaeth o Goleg Brenhinol Cerdd a Drama Cymru, lle cwblheais MA mewn Dylunio ar gyfer Perfformio, gan arbenigo mewn gwneud pypedau. Yn dilyn fy ngraddio, rwyf wedi cael 6 mlynedd o brofiad fel gwneuthurwr llawrydd. Drwy gydol y cyfnod hwn, rwyf wedi cael y fraint o ddod â syniadau, dyluniadau, a straeon ysbrydoledig a llawn dychymyg yn fyw. Mae hyn wedi cwmpasu ystod eang o brosiectau, o greadigaethau ar raddfa fawr i ddyluniadau mwy cymhleth. Ac yn awr, ar fy ymdrech ddiweddaraf: ymchwilio i fyd hudolus pypedwaith mewn Uwchfioled
“Cardiff based painter and illustrator. Specialises in intricate fantasy landscapes featuring magic creatures and using vibrant colours.”
Nia is a freelance theatre director, facilitator and stage manager from Cardiff. Nia makes theatre with and for young people and often uses dance/movement and design as her inspiration.
Lenny Sayers - Composer and Clarinet
Originally from Keighley, West Yorkshire, Lenny Sayers is a clarinettist and composer based in Cardiff. Lenny joined the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 2011 as their Principal Bass Clarinet and has been a tutor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama since 2012. As a composer Lenny’s mission is to write music that can appeal to a wide variety of audiences. He has written four works involving audience participation for the BBC NOW Family Concerts, and in 2022 he wrote ‘For the Dreamers of Dreams’, a ‘celebratory concert opener’ for the County of Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan Youth Orchestra. Also in 2022, he wrote a Chamber Opera for Swansea City Opera called ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ - a moving and humorous tale based on true stories of men who attend a ‘Men’s Shed’, currently on its second tour of Wales in Autumn 2023.
Since 2017 Lenny has become a regular collaborator with Stuart Bawler and his Black-light Theatre group Hummadruz. ‘When the Dragons Came Back to Wales’ is a true collaboration between him and Stuart and has been a few years in the making.
When he is not being a professional musician Lenny is a member of Les Croupiers Running Club in Cardiff and is a Run Director at Cardiff parkrun.
Yn wreiddiol o Keighley, Gorllewin Swydd Efrog, mae Lenny Sayers yn clarinetydd a chyfansoddwr wedi’i leoli yng Nghaerdydd. Ymunodd Lenny â Cherddorfa Genedlaethol Gymreig y BBC yn 2011 fel eu Prif Clarinét Bas ac mae wedi bod yn diwtor yng Ngholeg Brenhinol Cerdd a Drama Cymru ers 2012. Fel cyfansoddwr cenhadaeth Lenny yw ysgrifennu cerddoriaeth a all apelio at amrywiaeth eang o gynulleidfaoedd . Mae wedi ysgrifennu pedwar darn yn ymwneud â chyfranogiad y gynulleidfa ar gyfer y BBC NOW Family Concerts, ac yn 2022 ysgrifennodd ‘For the Dreamers of Dreams’, ‘agoriad cyngherddau dathlu’ i Gerddorfa Ieuenctid Sir Caerdydd a Bro Morgannwg. Hefyd yn 2022, ysgrifennodd Opera Siambr ar gyfer Opera Dinas Abertawe o’r enw ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ – stori deimladwy a doniol yn seiliedig ar straeon gwir am ddynion sy’n mynychu ‘Men’s Shed’, sydd ar ei hail daith o amgylch Cymru ar hyn o bryd yn hydref 2023.
Ers 2017 mae Lenny wedi dod yn gydweithredwr rheolaidd gyda Stuart Bawler a’i grŵp Black-light Theatre Hummadruz. Mae ‘Pan Daeth y Dreigiau yn Ôl i Gymru’ yn gydweithrediad gwirioneddol rhyngddo ef a Stuart ac mae wedi bod yn ei wneud ers rhai blynyddoedd.
Pan nad yw'n gerddor proffesiynol mae Lenny yn aelod o Glwb Rhedeg Les Croupiers yng Nghaerdydd ac yn Gyfarwyddwr Rhedeg gyda parkrun Caerdydd.
Emilie Godden - Conductor
Emilie has just completed the Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, in association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. She is mentored by Martyn Brabbins. Through the association with the BBC SSO, Emilie has regularly assisted Chief Conductor Ryan Wigglesworth. Recent engagements include a concert performance and studio recordings for Radio 3 with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, assisting Ryan Wigglesworth with the BBC SSO at the Proms, and assisting Martyn Brabbins with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland. Upcoming engagements include a concert performance and a schools project with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, as well as concerts with both the St Woolos Sinfonia and the Bath Symphony Orchestra. As a member of the first violin section of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales since 1999, Emilie has experienced performing a broad range of symphonic repertoire over two decades.
Neil Shewan BMus Hons AGSM
Neil Shewan is presently Principal 3rd Horn of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and has been a member since joining over fourteen years ago. He studied for his BMus at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and during his final year there, won the prestigious International Paxman Horn Competition, the first British player to do so.
Neil has performed with many of the countries finest orchestras and chamber groups. These include the LSO, Philharmonia, LPO, RPO, ENO, CBSO, Royal Opera House, Halle, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, ECO. He has also been a member of the UK’s premier brass quintet, Fine Arts Brass Ensemble.
You can hear Neil playing on many film and tv soundtracks including the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jason Bourne Trilogy, Dr Who, Blue Planet, Human Planet and many others.
Neil is currently a Horn professor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and has been an invited guest teacher at the Royal College of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire and Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 1997 Neil was presented the Bulgin Medal by the Worshipful Company of Musicians, for his services to youth music.
Neil is a Horn tutor for the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain and player mentor for the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. In 2018 Neil qualified as an examiner for Trinity College London, a role that takes him far and wide in his travels around the world and gives him a platform to keep encouraging people to learn their chosen instrument.
Catherine Roe-Williams - piano
Catherine started her professional career in Hong Kong, where she worked with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Hong Kong Arts Festival opera productions. She then moved to Reykjavik, Iceland, and worked with the Icelandic Opera Company, the Icelandic National Theatre, and the Singing School in Reykjavik. Since moving to Cardiff, she has worked with the Welsh National Opera, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and is also a vocal coach at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.
Lowri Porter - Violin
Lowri is a busy and much in-demand freelance violinist, leader and principal player. Until December 2022 she was Co-Leader of the Welsh National Opera Orchestra. Since leaving, engagements have included guest principal work with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Opera House Orchestra, Knussen Chamber Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
Joining Welsh National Opera in 2005, Lowri enjoyed a distinguished and rewarding career with the company, regularly appearing as Leader of the Orchestra. Whilst at WNO, she made guest appearances as Leader of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic, and Co-Leader of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Lowri is a dedicated member of the teaching staff at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and believes in preparing students in a holistic way for the challenges they will face as professional musicians and supporting them in their self-development. To that end, she has trained as a coach through the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, achieving her Practitioner award through the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC) in 2022.
She was recently made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in recognition of her achievements.
Tabitha is a cellist local to South Wales, who grew up in Cardiff and studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama for her Postgraduate degree. She is a founding member of Quartet Draig- a Welsh string quartet committed to making classical music accessible and engaging. As an orchestral musician Tabitha freelances with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Welsh National Opera, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and is a core player with Sinfonia Cymru. She has also performed solo on two separate occasions for HM King Charles, and has recently performed at Fishguard Festival of Music and Cowbridge Music Festival.
Equally dedicated to inspiring the next generation of young musicians, Tabitha has a busy private teaching practice and is also an active member of ‘Cardiff and Vale Music Education’ where she teaches, is an orchestral tutor and is director of the ‘Senior String Ensemble.’
Outside of music Tabitha has a keen interest in literature and philosophy, and is passionate about veganism.
Elizabeth May GRSM ARCM
After studying at the Royal College of Music with Graham Mayger and Sebastian Bell, Liz May joined the orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, where she was sub-principal flute and principal piccolo for 13 years until 2000. Since then, she has enjoyed a flourishing freelance career playing as a regular extra, and often playing principal piccolo, with, amongst others, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, BBC Symphony Orchestra and the English Symphony Orchestra. In recent years Liz has frequently played as guest Principal piccolo with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra including several tours around Europe, Asia and USA with the latter. Liz very much enjoys her teaching, of both flute and piccolo, at the Royal Welsh College of Music and at Cardiff University and she also examines regularly at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music and Royal Welsh college of Music and Drama. She has also tutored on NYO Inspire and National Wind Orchestra of Wales courses. Hobbies include walking, gardening and cooking as well as attending concerts, theatre and Arts events of all descriptions!
Nancy Johnson comes from Derbyshire. After graduating from the Juilliard School she built up a busy freelancing career from London which she now continues from her home in Wales. Nancy has played regularly with the London Symphony Orchestra since 2001 and works with many orchestras of varying sizes including as principal viola with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland. Nancy has recorded chamber music for the Naxos and RTÉ labels and has performed with groups at the Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Weill Hall. Nancy also enjoys performing small scale operas, working with Music Theatre Wales, WNO, Birmingham Opera Company and Opera’r Ddraig, with whom she recorded and toured Bhekizizwe by composer Robert Fokkens. She teaches viola and violin at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and Cardiff University.
Born In South Wales, Phil studied Percussion, Timpani & Drum Kit at Trinity College of Music in Greenwich. While in London he played for English National Opera, English National Ballet, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Wicked in the West End. During this time he also worked with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. From London he moved to Cardiff where for 14 years he has worked regularly with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Welsh National Opera. Other work has been varied including the first live performance of Rick Wakeman’s The Six Wives of Henry VIII, with Rick on keyboards, at Hampton Court Palace and a performance of West Side Story at Dartmoor Prison, part of The Prison Choir Project with prisoners taking some of the roles. The role of Officer Krupke was played by one of the prison officers! Phil is a regular member of The Novello Orchestra, touring the UK performing a series of Film with Live Orchestra events including Star Wars, Pixar in Concert and La La Land. Other work has been with touring shows including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Miss Saigon
Rob Johnston- Trumpet
Rob trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama between 1998 and 2003 and since then has worked as a busy freelance trumpet player across the UK. He works with orchestras including Welsh National Opera, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony, BBC NOW and The Philharmonia and has been lucky enough to tour across Europe and as far a field as Hong Kong and Dubai. He has very much enjoyed being involved in 'When The Dragons Came Back to Wales' and is looking forward to seeing the whole project come together tonight!
Michael Chaffin has performed throughout the United Kingdom, United States as well as engagements in Europe and Asia. A native Philadelphian, he studied at Temple University where his primary teachers were Joseph Conyers (Principal of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and Rob Kesselman (Philadelphia Orchestra). He graduated in 2015 and spent the next five years freelancing around the Philadelphia area as well as teaching both privately and as a lecturer of Double Bass at Ursinus College.
In 2021, Michael and his wife, Lucy moved to Cardiff to be closer to her family and to explore a different part of the world. He spent two years studying with David Stark (Principal of BBC NOW and Assistant Principal of Academy of St. Martin in the Fields). Michael has had the pleasure of performing with some of the top tier orchestras in the UK including the Philharmonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, The Hallé, Ulster Orchestra, and Welsh National Opera as well as being a regular guest musician with BBC NOW.