Riches and Rebellion Artist Residency

Adam Blake performing A Story of Heroes and Villains

This spring, Tredegar House is hosting our first Artist in Residence project, supported by Arts Council Wales. Part of Riches and Rebellion, this work explores the Morgan family's role in the Newport Rising. Adam Blake will be bringing these stories to life through performance, community workshops, and adventure walks.

The Morgan family of Tredegar House was instrumental in the shaping and development of Newport, South Wales, and beyond. Their influence and this impact can still be seen across the physical and social/political landscape of Newport today.

" Possessed, Sir Charles, of an immense estate, your power of doing good is almost boundless... I before observed, and I will repeat it, that I am not surprised at your knowing so little of life. You associate with none but those whose interest it is to flatter you."

Over 10 years later, on the 4th November 1839, 5000 men marched to the centre of Newport, the last large-scale armed rebellion against authority in Great Britain. 2019 marked 180 years since the Newport Rising, when over 20 Chartists were killed in the city.

Today, Tredegar House and its surrounding 90 acres are the only remnant of the once enormous Morgan estate. The people of Newport are shaping its history once more, reclaiming the spaces as their own.

This artist residency investigates this history collaboratively with National Trust staff and volunteers.

" We are really excited by this opportunity to bring to life this fascinating time in the history of Newport and the Morgan family. This is the first residency that we have hosted at Tredegar House and is a great chance for our teams to work with local artists, and for our visitors to experience the house in a completely new (and unexpected!) way. "
- Jess Courtney, Visitor Experience Manager, Tredegar House

Riches and Rebellion: A story of heroes and villains

Here's a sneak peek of 'Riches and Rebellion: A Story of Heroes and Villains'. Book your ticket and delve into the story of the Newport Rising.

About the artists

Adam Blake

Adam is a free lance performer, with interests in clown, puppetry, fooling and physical theatre.
Image of Adam Blake
Adam is a free lance performer, with interests in clown, puppetry, fooling and physical theatre.

Hello, my name is Adam and I work as a performer and theatre maker. My background is in physical theatre, improvisation and storytelling. I also work with puppets and masks and fun things like that. I've toured work internationally but have a huge love and passion for community based projects having worked a lot with schools and care homes.


Emma Williams - Associate Artist

Emma is a theatre director, facilitator, dramaturge and writer.
Image of Emma Williams
Emma is a theatre director, facilitator, dramaturge and writer.

Emma is a theatre director, facilitator, dramaturge and writer.  For nine years, she was performance director for the Design and Puppetry productions at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.  These were large-scale outdoor puppetry performances in sites around Wales including Death and the Nightingale and The Desert Daydreamer at Dyffryn Gardens, The Ratman at Castell Coch and Alice through the Looking Glass in Cardiff city center. In 2018/19 she worked with National Theatre of Wales exploring Llanthony Priory as a potential performance site for a new outdoor promenade performance.  Her passion is live performance that is accessible, intelligent and surprising.

About the Performance

The public performances will be held on select dates from February to April and tickets will be available at Visitor Reception on arrival. The performance is free but normal admission does apply, and capacity is limited.


15th & 16th February - 11.30, 12.30, 2.30

7th March - 11.30, 12.30, 2.00

10th March - 11.30, 12.30

19th March - 12.30, 2.00

20th March - 12.30, 2.00

21st March - 11.30, 12.30, 2.00

22nd March - 11.30, 12.30, 2.00

28th March - 11.30, 12.30, 2.00

Community workshops

Adam is working with a number of community groups, leading workshops around the themes of the exhibition. 

Adventure walks

Adam will be hosting adventure walks on select dates in March and April, encouraging families to discover more about the wider themes of the exhibition, through exploring the outdoors. Tickets will be available to book soon and are free of charge. The walks are aimed at 5-9 year olds.


Monday 6th April


03 Feb 20

Rehearsals have started

The second part of our artist residency has now started, with Adam and Emma on site researching and developing the performance. Before Christmas Adam spent some time getting to know Tredegar House and our teams.

John Frost flyer image

04 Feb 20

Day two of rehearsals

Day one of rehearsals meant touring around the House and getting used to working in our unique heritage setting. Today was about character work and making progress with the story of the performance. Emma and Adam also met with Goff, one of our volunteers, who helped influence the show through more anecdotal and human stories linked to the Rising and the Morgan family.

John Frost in the Gilt Room at Tredegar House

05 Feb 20

Halfway through the first week of rehearsals

Halfway through the first week of rehearsals and today a chance to delve into Octavius Morgan and the challenges in how varied a character he was. Adam and Emma also met with Euros, a volunteer with Tredegar House, and went through the beats of the story with Jess from the Tredegar team, and Rebecca Spooner from Peak Cymru. Emma had a baked potato for lunch, and Adam had a panini.

Octavius Morgan