A NEW theatre company is planning to recreate the day the Chartist Mural was torn down, but is appealing to Newport voices to help them do it.
The company is formed of three students who met through their applied theatre course at University of South Wales and found they shared a passion for what they call ‘theatre for social change’. Now in their third year, they formed a new community theatre company, Core Theatre.
Hammi Bilkha, 31, said: “We are planning to do a production in May centred around verbatim theatre using testimony and interviews from people around Newport to create a narrative about the day the mural was brought down. From that day on, what is Newport’s legacy –is there going to be another mural?”
On October 5 of last year, demonstrators were set to protest against the proposed destruction of the Chartist mural to make way for the Friars Walk development. But on October 3, unannounced, Newport council sent in a team to destroy it.
The three students moved to Newport for their studies and have lived here the past few years.
Mr Bilkha, who has spent most of his life in Germany, said: “It can be such a wonderful city – but you always questioned what Newport’s identity was. Suddenly, on that day for the first time since I have lived here, there was a massive outcry. That was the first time I’ve heard Newport have a voice.”
Mr Bilkha and his fellow students Steve Bond, writer and Alex Barnston, director, are looking for people to get in touch with them and talk about their experience of that day.
He said: “Through this, we are trying to empower the people of Newport.”
The performance is planned for May 16 in an empty shop in the city centre. The project is entirely non-profit and entrance will be free.
The group have already crowd-funded £400 of the £500 they require to cover costs for space rental, costumes and props.
To share your experience and be part of the project, email Mr Bilkha at firstname.lastname@example.org