The Gathering / Yr Helfa

The Gathering / Yr Helfa

12-14 September 2014, Hafod Y Llan, Snowdonia

The Gathering / Yr Helfa was a site-specific walking-performance revealing the day-to-day and seasonal workings of Hafod y Llan, a sheep farm located on the foot-hills of Snowdon. The performance took 200 participants on a circular journey that traced a six-kilometre route through the landscape and into the farm. As they walked participants experienced installations, performance, film, poetry, music and sound as well as farming activities.

The performance was evolved over a four-year period through a process of observing the farm at work and responding to the life and reproductive cycles of the ewes, the flock, the farm and the landscape. Gillian Clarke, the National Poet for Wales, wrote a twelve-month sequence of poems for the performance, Nigel Stewart evolved bespoke choreography and John Hardy, and his team, worked as music consultants sourcing regional folk tunes to which extracts of some of the poems were sung. 

The Gathering / Yr Helfa was supported by the team at Hafod y Llan farm and the National Trust. It was performed by a company that included the shepherds, their dogs, two hundred sheep, a company of five professional performers (see names below), aerial artist Kate Lawrence, the award-winning Deiniolen Silver Band, and children from Bedgellert Primary School.

This is a piece that makes you look and listen hard.

It’s lyrical but unsentimental, bloody and brutal. It makes the mountain sing.

**** Lyn Gardner, The GuardianFull review click here.

For The Observer on Sunday review click here.

Created, Directed and Designed by Louise Ann Wilson.

Written by Gillian Clarke.

Additional Writing (The Boy’s texts) by Louise Ann Wilson using the words of Arwyn Owen.

Choreography by Nigel Stewart.

Music Consultation by John Hardy Music. 

Sound and Film Recorded, Directed and Designed by Louise Ann Wilson.

Film Technical Editing by Janan Yakula.

Additional Sound Recording and Editing by Tic Ashfield.

Assistant Designer Dorrie Scott


Performed by Actors Ffion Dafis, Emyr Gibson, Gwyn Vaughan Jones, Gwion Aled Williams, Meilir Rhys Williams and the Aerial Artist Kate Lawrence.

Shepherding by Bryn Griffiths, Roger Hughes, Elgan Jones, Trefor Jones, Arwyn Owen, Tudur Parry, Andrew Roberts, Arthurs Williams and their dogs.

Music Performed by the Deiniolen Silver Band.

Archive Photographs Presented by the children of Bedgellert School. 


Production Team: Production Manager Jacob Gough, Project Manager Fiona Curtis.

Costume Supervisor: Angharad Matthews

Design Assistants: Ruby Spencer-Pugh, Phoebe Tonkin, David Honeybone, Stefan Gwyn.

Produced by National Theatre Wales with Migrations & LAW Co. 

Supported by the team at Hafod y Llan Farm and the National Trust.

Production photos by Lizzie Coombes and Joel Chester Fildes / National Theatre Wales.