Circle of Fifths: Butetown performers explore grief and celebrate life

A new play that combines an exploration of grief with a celebration of the traditions of the Butetown community is being staged in Cardiff.

Billed as a 'live documentary' - National Theatre Wales' 'Circle of Fifths' draws upon the lives, experiences and traditions of the local community.

Filmmaker Gavin Porter is directing the production.

He lost his uncle during lockdown, and was one of only ten people able to be at his funeral due to coronavirus restrictions.

Circle of Fifths features a range of musicians and performers

"The ceremony to celebrate his life... we weren't able to realise because of the restrictions at the time of the pandemic" he explains.

"I started thinking about ceremony, and funerals, and music, and what are the interrelationships between those three things."

"The tradition in Butetown is funerals, and part of the tradition that's developed over time is how we celebrate people that we've lost".

Maureen Blades works as a funeral planner, but has joined the production to share her experiences

The production has brought in performers from throughout the community. Some, like funeral planner Maureen Blades, are taking to the stage for the first time.

"I work around funeral care anyway, so I've got an interest. Before we started rehearsals, I didn't have a clue what kind of format it was going to take!" she says.

"It's real. There's humour. There's sadness. This is our real life. It's loss. It's grieving. It's celebrating. It's everything!"