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Local schools bring Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant’s story to life

Actor performs as William Morgan on a small stage in front of a crowd of school pupils at Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant, Conwy, Wales
A Mewn Cymeriad Performance of William Morgan at Tŷ Mawr | © National Trust Images / Tape Productions

We recently teamed up with Ysgol Llanddoged and Ysgol Ysbyty Ifan on a project to celebrate an old treasure through young voices, creating new interpretation at Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant, the birthplace of William Morgan who translated the Bible into Welsh.

The month-long programme began with an introduction to the fascinating history of Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant’s most famous resident, Bishop William Morgan, through a fun and interactive ‘Mewn Cymeriad’ performance onsite by actor, Llion Williams.

With the help of local facilitators, ‘Tape Community, Music and Film’, the schools then went on to imagine the sounds William Morgan would have heard as a child their age, at the farmhouse over 400 years ago. The pupils were then tasked with the challenge of creating a map of Tŷ Mawr and bringing the house to life through sound.

Sessions involved recording real sounds, such as the stream and a process of re-creating sounds known as Foley sounds, which involved getting creative with unexpected props, such as bubble wrap for recreating the sound of fire at the hearth.

Lois Jones, Partnerships and Programming Officer, for National Trust Cymru at Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant said, “We wanted to work in partnership with the schools, offering them the chance to learn new skills whilst tasking them with the challenge of creating interpretation for visitors. Within those parameters, the programme was designed to be child-led and we were really impressed with their enthusiasm, engagement with the process and ownership and pride in the work.”

Gareth Davies, Head of Ysgol Llanddoged and Ysgol Ysbyty Ifan, said, “It was a special experience for the pupils and a great opportunity for them to learn about the history and importance of Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant in Welsh culture. The pupils had the chance to work creatively to create a resource that children and young people in the area and beyond will be able to benefit from. Thank you very much for the opportunity to work together.”

The Trust recognise they had to make some big changes at Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant in response to the pandemic, but the charity is keen to emphasise that it is committed to celebrating this symbolic national gem and are developing plans this year.

Trystan Edwards, General Manager for Eryri, National Trust Cymru added “Following the successes of working with schools we’re looking to develop a focus on education at Tŷ Mawr going forward. It has been so rewarding and heartening to see children being able to enjoy experiences we all took for granted before the pandemic. There’s also something so great about hearing a story from the perspective of young people.”

“We started this season by inviting families to Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant to celebrate the schools work, there was a fantastic turn out and such a lovely community feeling that day, a strong theme for subsequent open days too.”

If you’d like to see the pupils’ work, the exhibition room and grounds are open daily throughout the season. You can hear the sounds when the farmhouse is open.

Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant will be opening on the first Sunday of the month until October, each open day focuses on a different theme and it’s free to attend. In addition to the open days the farmhouse will be open on an ad-hoc basis depending on staff availability throughout the season and visitors are encouraged to check the website for latest opening times before setting off.