What do a dead shark on double yellow lines and Jack the Ripper have in common?

Parking Page of shame from the cambrian news

Parking Page of shame from the cambrian news

For the second project of the Aberystwyth Arts Centre Writing for Performance Group I knew that I wanted to find a theme for the
that was very much about Aberystwyth to firmly locate our group within the community that it lives and writes, and also to find a subject
that might appeal to draw new people along to see the work of the group.

At the time the town was besieged by news reporters, which wasn’t an exaggeration. National Wales and UK news journalists and TV crews
were visiting the town that had no traffic wardens to witness the chaos.

It was entertaining story but also there was depth in observing human behaviour would be as a town be able to manage our own parking from
caring enough ourselves about where we stuck our cars.

Then another much bigger story hit the news; the UK riots. I don’t watch TV news very often now. I hate the bias that is no longer even subtle
but outrageously thrown in our faces. I watch news via my facebook and twitter feeds, if a news story is big enough then I might choose to sit
down and watch some footage – and just try not to get angry about the bias.

So that night as I sat to watch the news of the UK riots I waited for the Wales news to discover, not only no mention of the UK riots which was soon
to be renamed the England riots, but noticed that the lead story for West Wales news was how many dolphins there were in Cardigan Bay.

Then Hurricane Irene swept the eastern Seaboard of the US causing devastation , then it headed across the Atlantic until the edge of it hit Wales to create a slightly windy day in September.   It struck me that big news often hits us in Aberystwyth in exactly the same way. So that here in Aberystwyth we just get the vague remnants of news blowing over us with little effect on our daily lives.

I suggested the project to the group as a way to centre and challenge the next project. Allowing the group to learn how to address a subject that is given to them (a skill any writer needs if they want to be commissioned). I also suggested that we should use the project to explore how to make a bigger play. The first project had allowed everyone in the group to write a short play the next challenge was about making it bigger but we could do this as a group. Each writing our own short piece whilst also collaborating together to find a way to link the stories together and give the play an overall structure.

For the last two months the group has watched the news in Aberystwyth, looking at the stories in out local paper the Cambrian News whilst seeing what stories from Aberystwyth make it out to the bigger world and what bigger stories make it through to our isolated position.

And Aberystwyth has not let us down, the traffic warden story continues to flow, a dead shark was found on double yellow lines, DNA testing was used to track two young people who ran away from a £65 B&B bill,  further proof was found that Jack the Ripper was buried in Aberystwyth cemetery , a young mother who stays up late into the night pursuing trolls on the internet  a woman fighting against impending compulsory purchase order in the face of yet another Tesco battle.