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Brith Gof was a theater company. I worked closely with its artistic directors Mike Pearson and Cliff McLucas from 1993 to 2001. I became a company director in 1997; we closed the company in 2004.
With Cliff I ran The Three Landscapes Project at Stanford Humanities Center - from 2000 to Cliff's death.
We have started a new project in media archaeology - where writing the company's history generates a forgotten past - http://humanitieslab.stanford.edu/BrithGof - another case of animating the archive
Brith Gof was internationally acknowledged as a leading experimental performance company - developing innovative ways of working across different media. The company was part of a distinct and European tradition in the contemporary performing arts - visual, physical, amplified, poetic and highly designed. Rather than focusing on the dramatic script, its work was part of an ecology of ideas, aesthetics and practices which foregrounds the location of performance, the physical body of the performer, and relationships with audience and constituency. Brith Gof's works thus dealt with issues such as the nature of place and its relation with identity, and the presence of the past in strategies of cultural resistance and community construction. The company worked at all scales, from small solo works of storytelling to large epic works staged in locations such as disused factories, sand quarries, ice hockey stadiums, railway stations, abandoned farmhouses and even deep in the forest.
Brith Gof was cofounded in 1981 by Mike Pearson and Lis Hughes Jones. From the beginning its theatre was focused on physical performance rather than the dramatic text, and it rarely worked in the conventional theatre with stage, proscenium arch and auditorium. A shift to explicitly site specific work occurred in 1988 when Clifford McLucas joined the company. He brought a complementary interest in the architectonics of scenography.
I began working with Brith Gof in 1993 when Mike Pearson, trained as an archaeologist, came to me with his ideas for an archaeology of performance. This developed into the project Theatre/Archaeology. The key ideas focus on the question of the materiality and documentation of performance - "what comes after the event?"
Later, Cliff McLucas and I began discussing the relation of place to representation. A major new work in 1995, Tri Bywyd, began a series of works leading to The Three Landscapes Project. This has been running at Stanford since 2000 when Cliff was a senior fellow at our Humanities Center, with Dorian Llywelyn, theologian, who had worked with the company in the 80s.
I joined Brith Gof in 1997 as a company director, among other things to help explore links with the academy.
Mike Pearson and I had developed ideas of deep-mapping; The Three Landscapes Project began pushing these towards a more formal realization - a Center for Deep Mapping. While we never pulled this together through Brith Gof, my Metamedia Lab is what Cliff envisioned, and, hopefully, more.
Mike Pearson is now Professor of Performance Studies at University of Wales Aberystwyth.
Cliff McLucas died in 2001 of a brain tumor - a tremendous loss to the arts.
I hope Mike picks up the company again - he has an extraordinary talent.
A new project in media archaeology for Brith Gof - [link]
>> Gododdin - the video (rather dark - I am reediting it)
>> Y Pen Bas | Y Pen Dwfn Clip One
>> Y Pen bas | Y Pen Dwfn Clip Two