Cauldrons & Furnaces has, at its heart, the ambition to tell extraordinary stories in extraordinary places. A visitor who makes a journey around these eight iconic Cadw sites in the summer of 2012 will experience something of our small nation’s rich and diverse cultural heritage from its mythic beginnings to modern times. On route they will discover the diversity, skill and the talent of its young people and the artists who inspire them.
Our journey starts, appropriately, with a Pilgrimage departing from Llanthony Abbey on 16 June. It follows the route of medieval pilgrims, kings, saints, madmen and paupers and arrives 22 days later in St David’s, Pembrokeshire. To mark this historic moment specially commissioned anthems, artworks and plays will be performed and displayed. Everyone is invited to join St David and the pilgrims’ procession for the last leg of the journey through the city and the cathedral and into the Bishops Palace where the end of the journey is celebrated in a ‘feastival’ of music, food and fun.
On route the Pilgrimage will pass through castles, holy wells and ancient sites -including Blaenafon, Caerphilly and Laugharne- where special events will be held. During the month long Talacharn Trails and Tales Laugharne Castle will be enchanted by stories hidden within its walls and gardens. In addition there will be a series of fairs, festivals and craft days. Caerphilly Castle hosts a three day festival of poetic inspiration. Awen includes sculpture, film, drama, music and dance and examines the castle’s place in Caerphilly’s past, present and future. In complete contrast the industrial landscape and the geological harvest lying underneath the surface provide the inspiration for Elemental, at Blaenafon Ironworks.
Cauldorns and Furnaces: MabinogionIn the north a different metalworking heritage is explored. Denbigh Castle’s project Mantell celebrates the Bronze Age and tells an heroic story (akin to Homer’s Odyssey) inspired by the prehistoric riches of north east Wales and, in particular, by the Mold Gold Cape.
Further north still the children of Flintshire have been on their own 3 year journey. Their work culminates in an historic pageant at Flint Castle - a journey from mythic beginnings through to the Roman, Norman and English invasions.
Rappers, digital designers, composers, set designers, film makers, rock singers, actors and graffiti artists come together in Caernarfon Castle for a startlingly original series of installations and live performances that mark the ‘Cofis’ (the people of Caernarfon) inhabiting their castle. Cipio’r Castell awakens the spirit of Owain Glyndwr- symbolised by the sleeping dragon and from the moment the visitors enter the castle they will be delighted by surprise happenings and even more surprising guests!
The Harlech Music Festivals that ran in Harlech Castle every summer from 1867-1932 put Meirionnydd on the map. Using the framework of the Harlech Pageant of 1922 the young people of south Gwynedd tell the story of seven historic epochs through twenty first century eyes. Each episode is related to a musical motif including the body popping, beat boxing, hard hatted construction workers of Edward I and the charismatic rebel rock idol Owain Glyndŵr as a type of Ziggy Stardust! The specially commissioned 2012 anthem, new arrangements of the Men of Harlech song and state of the art digital technology ensure that this will be a stunning night time finale to the Cauldrons and Furnaces programme of events.