Cauldrons & Furnaces brings Extraordinary Stories to Life in Wales

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Cauldrons & Furnaces brings extraordinary stories to life in Wales

Cauldrons & Furnaces brings extraordinary stories to life in Wales

Today, Wednesday 16 May, just nine days before the Olympic torch crosses the border into Wales, the Welsh Government welcomes another strand of the Cultural Olympiad, launching a number of high profile celebrations at Wales's castles, palaces and industrial sites.  The celebrations, collectively called Cauldrons & Furnaces, will take place at eight iconic Cadw sites and have been supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Legacy Trust UK.

Today's launch of Cauldrons & Furnaces, which took place at Caernarfon and Caerphilly Castles, highlighted how Wales's history will be brought to life as stories of ancient pilgrims, fiery dragons and mesmerising myths and legends are told through walks of discovery and spectacular performances across Wales this summer.

Cauldrons & Furnaces will tell extraordinary stories in extraordinary places at eight iconic Cadw sites from 16 June - 17 July. Thousands of young people will be sharing their nation's colourful history from its mythical beginnings to modern times with visitors from all over the world.  On route they will discover the diversity, skills and talents of the 17,000 young people and artists taking part.

Cauldrons & Furnaces is a partnership between Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environment service, and the Arts Council of Wales. The project is part of Power of the Flame, and has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity which is creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding local talent to inspire creativity across the UK. 

Huw Lewis AM, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, who spoke at the Cauldrons & Furnaces launch in Caerphilly Castle's Great Hall said: 'I am delighted to be here today at the launch of this magnificent cultural event. Cauldrons & Furnaces is all about telling extraordinary stories in extraordinary places.  Wales has a history to be proud of and it's inspiring to see our young people telling stories of their history - not only to welcome the Olympics to our nation but also to excite their own communities about what their local heritage means to them today.'

Marilyn Lewis, Cadw's Director, said: 'We are excited to be forging new links with artists in Wales. Cauldrons & Furnaces is about collaborating with the creative community to help bring Cadw sites alive and make them relevant for people today, especially those who live and work in and around these special places."

Dugald Mackie, Chair of Legacy Trust UK said: 'Since 2008 Legacy Trust UK has been funding projects across Wales which will leave a lasting legacy from London 2012. Cauldrons & Furnaces has worked with local communities across Wales during this time to create a legacy of engagement and understanding of the country's rich heritage. We encourage everyone to support this fantastic project this summer.'

Clare Williams, the creative events programmer of Cauldrons & Furnaces, said: 'It's been a real pleasure working with so many young people from all over Wales; and I have been delighted by their enthusiasm in preparing for Cauldrons & Furnaces.  The series of Cauldron & Furnaces events across Wales will be an opportunity for people to visit their local heritage sites and see the amazing talent of the young people in their local community, as well as for visitors to see Cadw sites really brought to life.'

Isabelle Hughes (15) from Ysgol Dewi Sant in St Davids said: 'It's been really good fun working on the Cauldrons & Furnaces project.  I've learnt a lot working with the local artist involved, and it's great to be part of something bigger and celebrate the Olympics here in West Wales.'

At the launch events, representatives from the eight individual projects showcased their work and gave an insight into what locals and visitors will experience at the events.

For lovers of Wales's stunning landscape and history, visitors can trace the tracks of ancient pilgrims, kings, saints, madmen and paupers on a pilgrim walk from Llanthony Priory to St Davids; witness a multisensory celebration of a unique industrial landscape at Blaenavon Ironworks and take part in enchanted adventure trails and tales in the grounds of Laugharne Castle. 

Arts and cultural enthusiasts will be wowed with magical dance and music displays from choirs, orchestras and rappers in Caernarfon and Harlech castles, theatre performances in St Davids Bishop's Palace, and story-telling, puppetry and fire sculpture in Denbigh.

All the family can join the children of Flint through a journey of discovery from mythical beginnings to the Roman, Norman and English invasions.  Dragons, giants and masked characters will parade through the town to the castle for a magical and exhilarating gala performance; and Caerphilly visitors will be inspired through poetic sculpture, film, dance, music and drama.

History fiends will discover ancient specialities at St Davids Bishop's Palace where pilgrims from the 22-day trek across Wales and visitors will be welcomed with a celebration of music, medieval food and dance.

Cadw has set a challenge for people to attend as many events as possible to be in with a chance of winning one of five Cadw annual family memberships.  For details of how to take part pick up a Cauldrons & Furnaces leaflet at a participating site or visit

For more information about Cauldrons & Furnaces and how you can get involved, visit  find Cadw on Facebook or follow @CadwWales and the hashtag #CF12 on Twitter.

Details of the Cauldrons & Furnaces events (Saturday 16 June - Tuesday 17 July)

Saturday 16 June - Saturday 7 July
Pilgrimage walk, Llanthony Priory to St Davids
Trace the tracks of ancient pilgrims, kings, saints, madmen and paupers with a dedicated group of artists and storytellers on a 22-day Pilgrimage across South Wales. There will be special events, eye catching performances and educational workshops at key points along the route. FREE event, join at  /  

Saturday 23 June, Castle Performance 7.30-9.00pm
Spirits of Dragons, Flint Castle
Travel through the mists of time with a musical spectacle as your companion. Join the children of Flint as they tell the story from mythical beginnings through to Roman, Norman and English invasions with performances from dragons, giants and masked characters. FREE ticketed event.  Book at   08453 303 565.

Friday 29 & Saturday 30 June, 6.30-8.15pm
Elemental, Blaenavon Ironworks
A multisensory celebration of a unique landscape and the elements - witness the reawakening of this incredible World Heritage site, that once kick-started an industrial revolution, through creative and musical performances.
FREE ticketed event. Tickets available from  

Sunday 1 July, 2.30-4.30pm
Cipio'r Castell, Caernarfon Castle
A spectacular musical procession to kick start a month of artistic celebrations - visitors can enjoy specially commissioned raps, orchestral and choral music, live theatre and a month-long series of innovative art installations within the castle walls.  FREE with a wristband, available from 1 June at  or from Caernarfon Tourist Information Centre or call 01286 672 232.

Saturday 7 July, 1.30-6.00pm
Event starts - Oriel y Parc 1.30pm, procession leaves Oriel y Parc 2pm
Finale events at St Davids Bishop's Palace 3.00-4.15pm (yellow wristbands), 4.30pm-5.45pm (silver wristbands). 
Dewi Sant Pilgrims, St Davids Bishop's Palace
One big walk, one small city - after a 22-day trek across Wales, the pilgrims are welcomed with fanfares, music and artwork. Visitors can join the last leg of the journey through the city ending at the Bishop's Palace with a celebration of music, food and dance. FREE with a wristband available from 16 May at Oriel y Parc, St Davids, email or call 01437 720 392.

Sunday 8 July, 6.30-9.30pm
Mantell, Denbigh Castle
One legendary golden cape. Thousands of golden memories. Visitors will be taken on a journey through the castle and witness the story unfolding through storytelling, puppetry, animation, music, dance and fire sculpture - culminating at dusk in a magical and glowing finale.  Booking essential. Tickets £2, available from 1 May from Denbigh Library call 01745 816 313 or visit  

Wednesday 11 July - Friday 13 July, 6.30pm-9.00pm (10.00pm Friday)
Awen, Caerphilly Castle
Myths and legends have always been intriguing and Awen is no different.  A three-day celebration of poetic inspiration through sculpture, film, dance, music and drama reflecting vibrancy and culture of the region.  FREE ticketed events. For tickets visit  /   or call 01495 227 206. 

Saturday 16 June - Sunday 15 July
Saturday 14 July - Promenade Theatre Event 2.00-4.00pm
Sunday 15 July - National Botanic Gardens 2.00pm.
Talacharn Trails & Tales, Laugharne Castle
The enchanted twelfth-century castle will play its part in an adventure trail laden with clues and riddles. By peering through the gatehouse or roaming the gardens, visitors will find answers to unlock the secrets of this literary town.  Normal castle and garden admission prices apply; visit  or  or call 01437 720392 for more information.

Monday 16 & Tuesday 17 July, 8.00-9.30pm
Men of Harlech, Harlech Castle
Get ready to rock! Seven centuries of Welsh history brought to life with a creative bang.  An anthem to stir the soul and provide inspiration for this two-night spectacular of music, song and dance - over 250 young people from Gwynedd tell the story of seven historic epochs through twenty-first century eyes.  Tickets £8/£5 concessions / £20 family (2 adults + 2 children). Tickets available from  and Harlech Castle on 01766 780 552.