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National Library of Wales
Brith Gof Archive

Reference code(s): GB 0210 BRIGOF

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Brith Gof Archive

Short Title: Brith Gof Archive

Creation date(s): [1974]-[2007]

Level of description: Fonds.

Extent: 1.723 cubic metres (56 large boxes, 11 small boxes, various outsize items, 8 rolls)

Name of creator(s): Brith Gof

CONTEXT

Administrative/Biographical history: Brith Gof was founded in 1981 by Mike Pearson and Lis Hughes Jones, following their departure from Cardiff Laboratory Theatre. Initially they were based in Aberystwyth and were resident in the Barn Centre throughout the 1980s. In [?1987] they relocated to Cardiff but returned to West Wales in 1994 to the University of Lampeter. Whilst at the Barn Centre they met the artist Clifford McLucas who began to design elements for their performances. He eventually became a full time member of the artistic team and he and Mike Pearson became joint artistic directors of the company. Brith Gof's work in the beginning was influenced by Welsh traditions such as music and song, poetry, oratory and preaching and they developed a performance style that mixed speech and song, soliloquy and physical action. Productions were almost always created as a hybrid of four elements - physical actions, scenography, text and music. Their work also became increasingly political, drawing on aspects of Welsh history and also experiences of cultural and economic decline. Although the company created formal indoor and street performances, increasingly they concentrated on creating events for special occasions and locations and created work for non-theatrical spaces such as barns, chapels, cattle markets and farms. A further development was to build their own staging units so that a performance could be staged at any venue bringing with it its own floor, seating or lighting. The company created a variety of small, medium and eventually large scale site-specific work and in 1988, in collaboration with the industrial music group Test Dept., their first large scale site-specific production, Gododdin, was created. After this the company concentrated on pioneering site-specific performances and two more large-scale site-specific productions followed, namely Pax (1989-1991) and Haearn (1992). Over the years the company performed in a variety of unusual locations such as disused factories, working sand quarries, ice hockey stadiums, railway stations and forests and their work was staged in various locations around the world including Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, France, South America and Hong Kong. They collaborated with a number of foreign companies including Osmego Dnia (Poland), Farfa (Denmark), Theaterlabor (Germany), Grenland Friteater (Norway), La Fura Dels Baus (Spain) and Sand and Bricks (Hong Kong). Brith Gof came to be recognised as Wales' leading performance group, setting the standards for site-specific practice in Britain and Europe. Brith Gof was also committed to pedagogical activities. The company held training and educational projects for students and also workshops, demonstrations and training programmes for wider groups of Welsh practitioners and joint projects with other Welsh and foreign groups. The company also tried to reach a wider audience through the production of television programmes. In 2004 the company was closed.

CONTENT

Scope and content/abstract: Papers of Brith Gof, including correspondence, papers and photographs relating to the company's site specific and theatre productions, projects, and television productions; together with administrative papers relating to company productions and company business and information papers; and general papers relating to the company and its work, site specific theatre and theatre in Wales. A further consignment of 8 crates Brith Gof's administrative papers were received from Mike Pearson, November 2012. This group is not yet catalogued.

ACCESS AND USE

Language/scripts of material: English and Welsh with some other languages as noted at the appropriate level.

System of arrangement: Arranged at NLW into four groups: site specific and theatre productions and projects; television productions; administrative papers; and general papers.

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to abide by the conditions set out in information provided when applying for their Readers' Tickets, whereby the reader shall become responsible for compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to any processing by them of personal data obtained from modern records held at the Library.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright laws apply.

Finding aids: The catalogue can be accessed on-line.

ARCHIVAL INFORMATION

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: Duplicates have been removed. All other records donated to the National Library of Wales have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are possible.

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Ms Margaret Ames, Llanilar, 2003-2006; Lis Hughes Jones per Mike Pearson, Aberystwyth, November 2012; and Giles Parbery per Mike Pearson, Aberystwyth, October 2012.

ALLIED MATERIALS

Related material: Audio-visual and video material has been transferred to the National Screen and Sound Archive Wales and digital and electronic material has been separated and are awaiting cataloguing. See also the Clifford McLucas Archive for related papers.

DESCRIPTION NOTES

Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by Nia Wyn Dafydd. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW: Brith Gof Archive and NLW: Clifford McLucas Archive.

Rules or conventions: Description follows NLW guidelines based on ISAD(G) 2nd ed.; AACR2; and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: September 2012.


INDEX ENTRIES
Subjects
Experimental theater | Wales
Site-specific theater | Wales
Theatrical companies | Wales

Personal names
Jones , Lis Hughes
Pearson , Mike , 1949-

Corporate names
Brith Gof

Places

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