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ArtWorks, Valleys Kids presents Stranger in Paradise


Thursday 21st September 6.30pm – Soar Centre, Penygraig, CF40 1JZ

In a classroom newly arrived refugees learn about multifarious Europe. Operating at the intersection of fiction and documentary, Stranger in Paradise reflects on the power relations between Europeans and migrants in a candid fashion.

In a classroom in Sicily, just inside the walls of Fortress Europe, recently arrived refugees receive lessons from a teacher (Valentijn Dhaenens) who has some rather unbalanced traits. One moment he mercilessly rejects the refugees – the next, mollifyingly, he embraces them. Operating at the intersection of documentary and fiction, Stranger in Paradise investigates the power relations between Europe and refugees. Europe is represented by a teacher who drags his class of refugees down into his despair. A plea that borders on the immoral; a welcome charged with a guilt complex; and the compromise between these, made policy: Stranger in Paradise is an unflinching film essay on the mechanisms through which Europe tackles the refugees’ desire for happiness.

From the Director

“I tried to look down on the Earth from above. Contemplatively, and far removed from moral judgements. It started in May 2013, with a visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa. There, I met some of the migrants who have landed up there, their hopeful dreams for the future seeming to clash with a Europe that has little to offer them. I was struck by the power relations: how those with happiness treat the desire for happiness in others.

The contours for this film that formed them have changed little since. I wanted to make the power relationship I observed from a distance (and then later, during the research phase, up close) not so much visible, as feelable.”

Guido Hendrikx, Amsterdam, November 2016

Crossings: Stories of Migration is an ICA-led UK-wide film and events programme supported by the BFI using National Lottery funding and in partnership with the Goethe-Institute and the School of Film & Television, Falmouth University.

For all the films available please visit


Valleys Cinema (Crossings) Fire at Sea

Friday 4th August – Soar Centre 6.30pm


Crossings: Stories of Migration is an ICA-led UK-wide film and events programme supported by the BFI using National Lottery funding and in partnership with the Goethe-Institute and the School of Film & Television, Falmouth University.

We live in an age of migration. Driven by political and military conflicts, the pressures and possibilities of increasingly globalised economies, climate change and the desire for a better life, more people than ever now move and live across borders. These are diverse trajectories; each journey has its own story and each story its own journey, traversing different landscapes and carrying with it its own past.

Through a programme of screenings and events, Crossings: Stories of Migration explores the stories of modern-day migration and reflects on cinema’s potential to interrogate the damaging ways in which it is often framed. Including a variety of documentary and fiction features, the programme engages with transnational crossings from the last five decades through different forms of aesthetically-innovative storytelling.

Crossings: Stories of Migration brings together leading commentators, critics and contributors from across various cultural and political contexts to create a rigorous yet diverse platform for discussion to explore migration from both global and local perspectives. Engaging with ethical and political questions raised by representing these narratives on screen, the season aims to open a space for dialogue at a time when this is more urgent than ever.

For all the films available please visit

 ArtWorks have been working with the ICA and the Goethe Institute to bring the film ‘Fire at Sea’ to a brand new audience.

Samuele is 12 years old and lives on an island in the middle of the sea. He goes to school, loves shooting his slingshot and going hunting. He likes land games, even though everything around him speaks of the sea and the men, women and children who try to cross it to get to his island. But his is not an island like the others – its name is Lampedusa and it is the most symbolic border of Europe, crossed by thousands of migrants in the last 20 years in search of freedom.






Trebanog – Get ready for us!

It’s Art But It’s Not is very happy to announce the re-opening of Rhiwgarn Infant School in Trebanog, with a programme of activities taking place from the 24th of August to the 2nd of September, led by the Welsh artist Owen Griffiths.

Local residents are invited to join artists, partners and designers exploring ideas related to seasons, food and making. The aim behind the inaugural two-weeks of activities is to spark transformation and reintroduce the community to a forgotten place, giving them the space and the tools to make it their own.

Activities designed by the artist Owen Griffiths include bread and pizza making, in a clay oven especially installed for the use of the community.

We’re open

Week 1 – August 24, 25 & 27

Week 2 – August 31st & September 1st

Morning Sessions 11am – 12.30pm (Lunch Provided)

Afternoon Sessions 2pm – 4pm

Evening Sessions 4 – 5.30pm (Dinner Provided)

There will also be a special celebration and surprise on Friday 2nd September….  We look forward to seeing you there. Rhiwgarn Infants School, Waun Wen, Porth, CF39 9LX


Changed Poster Soar

Sunday 14th August, 7pm Soar Centre, Penygraig, CF40 1JZ

In a small town, buried amongst the hills, a young boy named Phil wakes up one morning to discover he’s changed! Bewildered and terrified by his appearance, he fears his family won’t recognise him! He spends the play tormented by his thoughts both cruel and kind.

Having discovered Phil, the family is horrified by what they see! His father, unable to recognise him and worried he might be vicious; forces him back into his room.

Phil’s younger sister Eira protests that it’s Phil! She gives him hope that in time others will see it’s really him too! 

The Change is a dark, comical and emotive story that explores what it means to be to be truly human? Set against the backdrop of a seedy circus, with stunning physical theatre, it is a terrifyingly real story told in a beautifully imagined way.

Originally Devised by Tonyrefail Nurture group and Adapted by Penygraig Youth Theatre. Written and Directed by Claire Hathway

Kafka’s story told in our own unique way!


















Sunday 14th August 7pm in Soar Centre, Penygraig


Valleys Cinema


An exciting new initiative which aims to increase access to British independent and world cinema in areas where there is otherwise little or no film provision will bring the magic of the big screen to community venues in parts of Rhondda RCT, Ebbw Vale and Bridgend over the next six months, offering something for all members of the family.

Delivered in Wales by Zoom Cymru and Moviola, the project was developed by Film Hub Wales with funding secured from the British Film Institute’s (BFI) Neighbourhood Cinema Fund. The venues will screen twenty-four acclaimed new and classic films, spanning comedies, animation, drama and more.

The first movies start rolling on Tuesday 24th February, which include How to Train Your Dragon 2 and A Most Wanted Man, at Valleys Kids’ Soar Centre in Penygraig and the Ebbw Vale Institute respectively. Other venues including Valleys Kids at Penyrenglyn, Rhydefelin, and The Factory in Porth are participating. Maesteg Town Hall in Bridgend is also offering an extra special film and tea dance event.

With a film showing in each community venue every month, moviegoers can plan to see BAFTA-winning and much-applauded Pride, which is set in Wales during the Miners’ strike, and the 2014 British adaptation of bear-favourite, Paddington. Movies such as Imitation Game, Mr Turner and What We Did on Our Holiday will also feature, broadening choice for community audiences across the area.

Hana Lewis, Film Hub Wales Strategic Manager said

“Film Hub Wales, with Chapter as its lead organisation, is proud to develop the new and exciting Valley’s Cinema project in partnership with Zoom Cymru, funded by the BFI’s Neighbourhood Cinema scheme. Rural and community venues have an important and active part to play in the landscape of independent cinema here in Wales. They often bridge the gap for audiences, particularly where transport links are poor, where ticket prices are unaffordable or where nearby independent cinemas have been forced to close. We look forward to working with the four new venues and seeing how the project develops cinema audiences across the South Wales Valleys.”

Gemma Woolley, Director of Zoom Cymru added

“This is a great project for people of all ages across under-served communities for cinema in South Wales to enjoy a movie on the big screen with friends or family, right on their doorstep. Enthusing audiences through film is part of the core work of Zoom Cymru, and we’re looking forward to hosting innovative film-related workshops and masterclasses too in Rhondda Cynon Taff, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend and further afield during this year’s Zoom International Film Festival in March.”

Moviola will provide equipment to screen the films and content will come from thier vast film catalogue. They already have a relationship with over 20 existing venues in South and Mid Wales through their film booking and advice service. Longer-term, the pilot scheme is hoping to be successful enough to set up a regular film programme or access to a diverse year-round cultural programme in each area.

Ticket prices vary from just £1 – £5 and should be booked in advance where possible.

See individual venues for full screens and times.

Screenings 2015*:

Valleys Kids, Soar Centre, Penygraig.
Tuesday 24th February – How to Train Your Dragon 2 – 6pm in Penygraig
Thursday 26th March – Paddington – 6pm – Penygraig
TO BOOK TICKETS CALL 01443 303032 or pay on the door (£2.00 Adults, £1.00 Children)

Cinema Night in Soar Centre

Valleys Cinema posterThe Valleys Cinema Team, ArtWorks and Zoom Cymru have been working together on a project called Valleys Cinema.  We will be bringing cinema to your communities across RCT over the next few months.  We have showings in Penygraig, Penyrenglyn, Rhydyfein and the Factory in Porth so make sure you keep your diaries free.

The first film we are privileged to be able to bring to Soar Centre is ‘How to Train your Dragon 2’ and will be shown at 6pm on Tuesday 24th of February.  Tickets will only cost adults £2 and Children and Cons £1.  We hope to see you all there.

For more information contact Rachel from ArtWorks on 01443 30 30 32


Angry Roads by Big Brum Theatre

THE ANGRY ROADS FrontArtworks are once again delighted to welcome back the very talented Big Brum Theatre in Education Company, with their fantastic production of ‘The Angry Roads’ By Edward Bond

Friday 27th February, 7.30pm in Soar Centre, Penygraig

Evening in the city.
In a flat a teenage boy is sorting through play things from his childhood; he is sorting through his past in search of the truth about an accident that destroyed his family. The Father remains silent, is he refusing or unable to speak about it?
The son struggles to know the truth and take control of his future.
Young people today grow up in a world that their parents did not grow up in. So much has changed that the age-old problem of communication is becoming ever more difficult.

In THE ANGRY ROADS internationally renowned playwright Edward Bond has created a unique dramatic way of opening up the problem and revealing what is at stake in it for young people. It takes them on a journey from repression, denial and evasion, leading to understanding and the acceptance of responsibility and freedom, and, finally through rites of passage into the modern world. It is a journey your students will recognise because it is a journey they are already on.

‘The Angry Roads’ by Edward Bond; a challenging and extraordinary play, which considers themes of power, repression and lies, as a teenage boy seeks the truth about a tragic family accident that has left his Father unable to speak or tell the truth about what really happened.

Perceptions by Flight Wings Rhydyfelin


On the 29th of October in Rhydyfelin Methodist Church at 7pm our 16+ Rhydyfelin Flight Wings Group will be performing their latest piece, ‘Perceptions’.

They are a group of mixed abilities a real testament to the support and respect of the young people is how encouraging and creative they are as a group.  They all help each other to achieve their best and thats why this piece of theatre is particularly special.  Gemma has been working with this group of young people over the last year to tell their stories of how people perceive them and others within society.

The piece explores themes such as poverty, homelessness and disability and they have used their own experiences to help devise this piece of beautiful theatre.

The Church itself isn’t huge so we are asking that people book tickets to avoid disappointment.  All tickets are free for this event.  The Church is located on Poplar Road, CF37 5LS

Footprints in Time

RDW FootPrints in TimeOver the last year Rhydyfelin Drama Workshop have been devising their story of ‘Footprints in time’ which follows the ups and downs of a woman’s life called Mary The idea started on an untold story quest, which saw Artworks other drama groups Penygraig Youth Theatre and Nurture group along with Rhydyfelin drama workshop coming together to share their stories that were untold.  Since the development of the untold story project, the group have attended residencies and carried out research on the different era’s of Mary’s life.  The group have visited St Fagins and the Maes-y-felin centre in Rhydyfelin, where they met ladies and gentlemen who had lived through WW2.

Footprints in time is a unique theatrical experience where the lines between the performance space, actors and audience are constantly shifting.  Audiences will have the opportunity to explore a heart warming story that will excite you as well as make you question the way we view old people today.  Come and join us as we take you back into footprints in time.

Time is a memory, time is a moment that we will cherish forever, we only get one chance because once you use it, it is gone forever.

This Saturday ArtWorks Proudly presents Rhydyfelin Drama Workshop in ‘Footprints In Time’.  The show will be performed in the Ilan Centre in Rhydyfelin and is a promenade piece meaning tickets are limited.  Too avoid disappointment call ArtWorks on 01443 303032.

Miranda becomes a Fellow.



Our very own Miranda Ballin (ArtWorks Artistic Director) has been selected for this once in a lifetime opportuinity to become a Fellow through the Clore Leadership programme.  We couldn’t be more proud of her.
Creating a new culture of leadership

·         20 UK Fellowships awarded for 2014/15
·         New association with BBC announced
·         Bursaries introduced on Short Courses to address barriers to participation in leadership development

The Clore Leadership Programme today demonstrated its commitment to promoting diversity in leadership when it announced the names of the exceptional individuals from across the UK who have been awarded Fellowships on the programme for 2014/15; an association with the BBC to support its new senior leadership development programme for people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds; and the availability of bursaries on this autumn’s Short Courses for independent artists and those with caring responsibilities.

New Fellows

The 2014/15 Fellows begin their individually tailored programmes of personal and professional development in September 2014.  With mentoring support from a senior cultural leader, a professional coach and the Clore team, and a secondment in the UK, each Fellow undergoes a period of intense learning adapted to their aspirations, needs and circumstances.

This year’s cohort is entrepreneurial, resilient and collaborative. They come from very varied professional backgrounds: some work for major organisations such as the Barbican, English Heritage and the National Records of Scotland, others are committed to developing stronger, healthier communities through initiatives like Valley Kids in Wales, the Great North Run Culture and the Cornwall Museums Partnership. All share a belief in the value of culture and the difference it can make in today’s society.

Sir John Tusa, Chair of the Clore Leadership Programme, commented: “We welcome the new cohort of Clore Fellows. Chosen from a highly competitive field – they are clever, fun, energetic, brave and curious. We look forward to watching them take their places in the nation’s vigorous arts leadership scene. They show that the wish to lead, the need for arts leaders is as healthy as ever. The Clore Leadership Programme is proud of being part of this process.”

Partnership with the BBC

Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, announced today that he was launching his own senior leadership development programme for talented people from BAME backgrounds who will receive training and support from the Clore Leadership Programme. Tony Hall said: “I’m delighted that successful candidates on our new leadership development programme will benefit from Clore’s expertise. I’ve seen first-hand what the Clore scheme achieves – and they’ll be learning from and with the best in the industry.”

Sue Hoyle, Director of the Clore Leadership Programme, said: “The Clore Leadership Programme encourages individuals to play to their own strengths, to learn from one another’s difference and to welcome diversity.  We don’t impose a fixed style or a particular approach to leadership, and we share with the BBC a commitment to developing the broadest possible range of talent and enabling people to reach their potential as leaders.”

Short Course Bursaries

The Clore Leadership Programme is introducing two types of bursary for the Short Courses it is running this autumn: the Caring Support Fund and the Independent Artist/Practitioner Award. Up to 12 individuals will be awarded Short Course bursaries this autumn across these two schemes, almost 25% of participants. The bursaries have been introduced in response to a survey on leadership development needs, commissioned by the Clore Leadership Programme on behalf of the cultural sector in England, and undertaken by Trends Business Research.  The survey identified cost and caring responsibilities as some of the most significant barriers to participation in leadership training.

Miranda Ballin (Arts Council of Wales Fellowship)
Lives in Rhondda Cynon Taff.  Artistic Director of ArtWorks, Valley Kids, a community development charity operating in the South Wales Coalfields. Previously a theatre director, performer and youth arts development worker.   Miranda has worked with a number of theatre companies including the TIE Company, Welsh National Opera and Red Ladder Theatre.  Miranda is also the Chair of Zoom Cymru, they work with young people through digital media to develop skills for life, work and the future.