FOR 21-year-old Ewan Richards from Llanelli, trips to the theatre to watch children’s shows and pantos as a young boy has sparked a life-long love of the arts. Which is why when Ewan heard that Carmarthenshire Theatres were recruiting volunteers to act as ambassadors for the theatres back in 2019, he was one of the first to sign up.
Two years have passed since the University of Wales, Trinity St David student who lives in Bynea, enrolled as an ambassador. In that time, he’s taken part in a wide range of activities connected to theatre life, from providing feedback to theatre companies developing new plays, to helping build audiences and promote upcoming shows to fellow students and attending community events.
The volunteer ambassadors play a vital role in the community; they promote the theatres and raise awareness of events, by talking to people, or by posting about them on social media. The also connect the theatres to new audiences, and help shape the work of the theatres by getting involved in specific projects.
Reflecting on his two years as an ambassador and the many experiences he’s had as a result, Ewan said; “One of my highlights would be The Syrian Refugee Week; The Celebration of Life Day I attended where I had the opportunity to meet people from different cultural backgrounds and learnt about their way of living.”
When the first lockdown arrived in March 2020 and the theatres were closed, Ewan was keen to stay connected to his fellow ambassadors and so decided to set up fortnightly catch-up sessions via Zoom. The ambassador meetings aren’t the only thing to move online, with Ewan attending a virtual read through of a new Welsh comedy play in development, as Ewan explains, “it was unique as it’s the first online session I had attended, and it felt great to finally be doing ambassador activities online.”
Online theatre productions and virtual shows have also become a regular occurrence during the last 12 months, and Ewan has kept busy and connected with theatre by attending Carmarthenshire Theatre’s online shows – having not missed a single show since the programme was launched last year. Keen for others to know about the online offerings, Ewan, who’s currently studying for a degree in Applied Computing, regularly takes to social media to post about the latest theatre events and shows he’s enjoying.
Each ambassador brings their own experience to the role. As a young person with autism, Ewan contributions on how best to welcome those with additional learning needs to the theatre have been extremely helpful to staff. Providing feedback on plans for ‘relaxed performances’ of shows and attending such performances to provide additional help for audience members are just some of the ways Ewan has been able to use his experience to benefit others.
When asked what advice he would give to someone thinking of becoming a theatre ambassador Ewan said, “Get involved in theatre life by visiting the theatres on a regular basis to experience all types of genres. This would then assist you to promote and advertise the theatre’s programme.”
As for Ewan, two years as an ambassador has flown by and he looks forward to many more years as a volunteer ambassador as he says, “Being involved in the theatre community is something I love!”
If you’d like to join Ewan and the team of arts ambassadors at Carmarthenshire Theatres, please send an email to email@example.com to request an information pack.