Rise Up: Cwmni Tebot

Cwmni Tebot is the name of a theatre company set up by three Welsh friends: Mair Elen, Mared Llwelyn and Llŷr Titus. It means The Teapot Company and the company was founded because the three of them found it harder and harder to break through and get performing work locally. The three put on a night of performing their own work and out of that Cwmni Tebot was born.

From this, they found that people liked what they were doing and there was a gap in the market for it, so they kept going and have been a success ever since.

In Pwllheli, the local town where Mair, Mared and Llŷr live, there is a lack of theatre; with two big arts centres an hour away, this doesn’t do much for the community to experience more theatre.

we believe that theatre should go to the people, not the other way around.

So Cwmni Tebot aims to do just that: bringing theatre to the people!

Cwmni Tebot produces work at the time and expense of the three creatives behind it, as they all have their own work and social lives outside of the group. Between finishing a PHD, working full and part time, and children, the three creatives behind the company have a lot to juggle to make their homegrown theatre company work. Rest assured, they still do.

Their community night at their local theatre Neuadd Dwyfor was a great success, so much so that they had to turn people away at the door as there were simply no seats left for them. Expecting the place to be empty and instead filling about a hundred seats was “a great first experience”.

Cwmni Tebot have also put together a show for a beer festival that was written by a local poet:

It retold a local folk story about a man falling in love with a mermaid which was a lot of fun, even with the various prop malfunctions, torrential rain and wind, and Llŷr nearly running a member of the audience over with a bike…

They have also performed at last year’s Eisteddfod (a huge Welsh language culture festival), and this year have worked with Theatr Bara Caws (Bread and Cheese theatre Company), who commissioned Cwmni Tebot to write a show for them, which then toured around community halls across North Wales.

The show Costa Byw (Costa Living) was a two-hander and discussed the topics that are worrying people at the moment: from high house prices to climate change, lack of opportunity and second homes, and set in dystopian 2050, the show featured a lot of humour and received a great reaction from audiences – selling out at nearly every venue.

Through all of this, the highlight for Cwmni Tebot was performing at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol in Cardiff, where they received some amazing feedback, including having people tell them that they have to do more. They also point out that they loved seeing people from the village Llanuwchllyn near Bala head to the village hall as a community to see the work they had created:

it was like the whole village was moving and there was such a feeling of community spirit, it was great.

You can catch Cwmni Tebot in action at this year’s Eisteddfod in August! This will be a new piece of work and they are hoping to build on last year’s success to make this year even better. Costa Byw will also be performed at the Eisteddfod by Bara Caws as a week of an encore.

As Cwmni Tebot take their roots seriously and their community is always at the heart of their work, this vision sets them apart from many of the larger companies in Wales.

We are giving voice to issues that are important to our community and our generation.

In a year’s time, Cwmni Tebot hope to be doing more work and hoping to do this type of work full time. Watch out for this little Welsh company with big dreams!

Quick Fire Questions

  • In the theatre world, who inspires you? “we do take some inspiration from all the little political theatre companies that sprouted up around Wales for a while from the seventies onwards”
  • What is your favourite show that you’ve seen? “a difficult question!..Y Storm by Theatr Genedlaethol….A stage adaptation of A Clockwork Orange by Volcano Theatre…Theatr Clwyd’s Cyrano de BergeracChwilys (inquisition) by Welsh playwright Aled Jones Williams”
  • What is your favourite genre of theatre? “we’re indebted to amateur theatre because that’s where we started off”
  • What do you think we need more of in theatre? “Access in general, theatre is for everyone.”

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