Butetown: Meeting a poet and a filmmaker and actor

Poets Ali Goolyad, Ahmed Yusuf and Hassan Panero. Photo courtesy of National Theatre Wales

Poets Ali Goolyad, Ahmed Yusuf and Hassan Panero. Photo courtesy of National Theatre Wales

Ynysybwl is one of the communities that we are working with (see previous post for some more details), and whilst I was visiting Cardiff a couple of weeks back, we also met with another group we are hoping to partner with – Somali poets in Butetown, Cardiff, through National Theatre Wales. We had a very interesting meeting with poet Ali Goolyad (listen to his poem ‘A Somali in Cardiff’ here and to “a special podcast from Butetown” featuring Ali here) and actor and filmmaker Thaer Al-Shayei (Thaer met Ali whilst working on the National Theatre Wales production Bordergame). We’ve still got to work out the details but we talked about running poetry workshops with various parts of the Somali community in Butetown, with some videos and podcasts possibly coming out of it, which is very exciting.

We would like to work with the Somali community of Butetown because it has a link to energy in that it was originally drawn to Cardiff by the coal trade, with many Somalis working as coal haulers. Poetry plays a vital role in the traditional Somali life, hence our desire to use it as a way to explore how members of the Somali community of Butetown have related and still relate to energy. We partly want to build on the work the group of Somali poets have carried out with National Theatre Wales in their production: De Gabay, a three-day exploration of the Butetown area of Cardiff focused on the lives of its young Somali poets and prior generations. We hope to use poetry to

The De Gabay performance was the subject of a BBC radio 4 documentary, which is unfortunately not available online at the moment (although you can find a description of the programme here). However, you can find out more about the Somalis of Bute Street in this radio programme: Journeys Down my Street.

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