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Online resource created as a direct result of parents of Welsh-medium pupils needing more support

To coincide with #WorldStorytellingDay, Theatre Company (@Theatrnanog) launches online resource for young children to access original Welsh language stories.

Neath based Theatr na nÓg have launched Goslef to help support children and their parents with their Welsh language skills. Goslef, meaning a soothing tone in Welsh, is a series of Welsh language stories for young children to help immerse them in the words and sounds of the Welsh language.

Due to the pandemic and homeschooling, some parents and children struggled with the Welsh language element of homeschooling. On learning of the challenges, award-winning Theatr na nÓg took the initiative to reach out to Welsh schools to see if they could help. And through this research and collaboration with teachers and theatre professionals, Goslef was created, an online resource of original children’s stories, written and read by Theatr na nÓg’s collective of creative associates.

“Theatre, in its true essence, is storytelling. We all need stories.” Geinor Styles, Theatr na nÓg’s artistic director, explained her decision to create Goslef: “As someone who grew up in an English speaking home and attended Welsh school, I know how important it is for parents to support their children in learning. Home-schooling has tested them this last year. To hear that parents and teachers were worried about how much Welsh language their pupils were hearing, we  were compelled to find a creative solution.”

Speaking about the online resource Lynne Jones, headteacher at Ysgol Santes Tudful, in Merthyr Tudful, a member of the Company’s innovative Artistic Advisory Group, said: “Goslef is perfect, it’s not just a tool that can help parents and teachers have a break while children listen to a Welsh language story, but it’s also a break for the child from that never-ending screen time, it’s a step away into a virus-free world that can help spark their imagination.

“What’s unique about Goslef is not only that the stories have originated in the Welsh language, but that the stories themselves are original and fresh, and children deserve new and exciting stories.  Whilst our young children can’t access live Theatre, they can sit alone or in a group and let an actor’s voice take them on a Welsh language adventure. No one in all of Wales does that better than Theatr na nÓg.”

To conclude, Geinor Styles added: “We are grateful to the Arts Council for Wales for its commitment to the Welsh language, enabling us to be creative and responsive to this particular call to action. Once again, the pandemic has afforded us the time to help support our audiences and our network of artists to produce innovative work in the Welsh language.”

Goslef currently has five stories on its platform, including Alis Wen a Gwynt yr Hebog (Alis Wen and the Flight of the Peregrine) by actress and writer Mali Tudno Jones.  Amser i fod yn Llonydd (Time to be Still) by Llinos Daniel, and Ioan Hefin reads Gwyn Thomas’s Nel y Sbel with kind permission of Jennifer Thomas  and  Gwasg Gomer.

Goslef stories are available to download on Theatr na nÓg’s Spotify page:

Goslef is not the first show of resilience and resourcefulness by the forward-thinking theatre company. As Covid-19 has changed the face of the creative industries in Wales, Theatr na nÓg has continued to create – from a radio drama series for young people, to the development of a new prog-rock musical, releasing a Christmas charity song and setting up Y Consortiwm Cymraeg with three valleys venues Theatr Soar in Merthyr Tydfil, The Welfare in Ystradgynlais and Maesteg Town Hall. This ambitious collaboration aims to present high-quality accessible Welsh language theatre and an exciting programme of engagement for communities, to improve their language skills through the arts and culture.

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