The people of Wales are at the heart of what we do.
The Official Opening is not only a celebration of the Senedd but of the diverse communities across Wales whose voices are represented within our walls.
The theme of ‘your voice’ was chosen for the Official Opening to put Welsh communities at the centre of both the event and the work of the Sixth Senedd.
Organisations including Hijinx, Tân Cerdd, Literature Wales, National Dance Company Wales and the Welsh National Youth Opera have created special performances for the Official Opening, illustrating the theme of ‘your voice’ through music, dance, song and art.
The artwork and performances were chosen because they highlight the importance of people’s voices in shaping the democratic process and represent their hopes and aspirations for the Sixth Senedd.
Here you can find out a bit more about each one.
Zillah Bowes - ‘Gwawr’ / ‘Dawn’
Artist and photographer Zillah has created a short video of photographs of diverse people from urban, suburban and rural communities from all over Wales, taken at dawn. The theme of dawn was chosen to powerfully mark the start of something new, in this case a new Senedd as well as Wales’ post-pandemic future. The representation of diverse people from a variety of ages, backgrounds and regions highlights the importance of including everyone’s voices in the democratic process.
Welsh National Youth Opera
The Welsh National Opera (WNO) Youth Opera ‘your voice’ performances celebrate Wales as the Land of Song and as a nation that nurtures creativity, both with and for everyone in our society.
The WNO Youth Opera South Wales groups (around 50 young people aged 10-18) have recorded a special arrangement of the Welsh folksong Ar Lan Y Môr in Welsh and English. The performance is accompanied by piano and an ensemble from the WNO Orchestra.
The groups rehearsed in their regular weekly sessions on Zoom, and came to Wales Millennium Centre for a rehearsal and recording weekend - the first time the groups have come together in person for over a year.
Tân Cerdd is a not-for-profit organisation set-up in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests to raise the profile of Black voices in Wales. They performed a song they composed specially for the Official Opening entitled Ymuno. Composed by Eadyth and Lily Beau, it also features the voices of a number of prominent black Welsh artists Aleighcia Scott, Skunkadelic (Afrocluster), Vanity Jay (Baby Queens), Dionne Bennett and SZSW. It speaks of hope for the future and how all voices are stronger together.
Hijinx theatre company collaborated with Pontio Arts Centre and freelance artist Sarah Mumford for their performances. Sarah is a freelance movement and physical theatre artist based in North Wales, and has worked for over 20 years in community, education and professional dance and theatre.
Their digital performance has brought together artists and individuals from across Wales, creating a collective response to the theme of ‘your voice’ that embraces the rich and diverse communities in Wales, celebrating our landscape, history and culture.
The performance gives the viewer a glimpse into the different landscapes in Wales, both rural and urban, and what those places meant to people.
Hijinx works to pioneer, produce and promote opportunities for actors with learning disabilities and/or autism to create outstanding productions.
National Dance Company Wales
For the Official Opening of the Sixth Senedd, National Dance Company Wales (NDCWales) have produced four films, recorded in the Senedd. Working with Literature Wales, poets and dance artists have been able to come together in the same space for the first time since the pandemic.
Exploring themes ranging from language and belonging, to sustainability, motherhood and disability, these films highlight a rich seam of voices, stories and experiences from contemporary Wales.
'Good Things to Come', by dance artist and Artistic Director of Kokoro Arts, Krystal Lowe, and Rising Stars Wales award winning poet, Alex Wharton, looks at the theme of environmental sustainability. Giving voice to the urgency of our need to care for Wales’ natural landscapes, this film envelops the viewer in a moment of calm and encourages us to appreciate the world we inhabit.
'Spell for a New Beginning' has been created by Iestyn James, an emerging dance artist, and Taylor Edmonds, poet and founder of Where I’m Coming From, an organisation that platforms underrepresented writers in Wales. Looking at the relationships between self, family, society and the natural world, this film celebrates humans’ resilience and energy through striking imagery and arresting verse.
All four films bring to the fore pertinent stories of life in modern Wales, amplify a wide range of often-underrepresented voices, and bring to life a stunning showcase of the creativity and energy of Welsh and Wales-based artists.
‘Ein Llais’ is a specially commissioned poem for the Official Opening, and the culmination of a project in partnership with Literature Wales.
Welsh poets visited primary schools the length and breadth of Wales, working with the children to create a bilingual poem which reflects what Wales means to them. It captures their hopes and aspirations for the future, reminding us that their “unique voices were made to be heard”.
School workshops were delivered by Anni Llŷn, Eloise Williams, Gruffudd Owen and Taylor Edmonds. The final poem was curated by Welsh language Children’s Laureate, Gruffudd Owen.
Mae gennym ni sawl enw:
We have several names:
‘The Ponty Panthers’,
‘Dawnswyr Afon Dyfi’,
‘The Gwent Giants’,
‘The Cardiff Mixing Pot’
a ‘Brain Bendigedig Betws Gwerfyl Goch’.
We are the musty smell of rooms,
of damp wood and rotting leaves.
Ni yw cri’r gwylanod a chyffro’r Wal Goch.
We are ‘un teulu mawr’;
ac ni yw sŵn y tractors yn suo fel gwenyn yn caeau gwaith.
Ni yw’r adeiladau newydd a’r pocedi gweigon;
mossy slimy rocks and information boards.
Ni yw’r rhai sy’n hapus ac yn drist.
We are made of iron, of meandering rivers
ac ni yw waliau Senedd Glyndŵr,
foxes, badgers, owls, woodpeckers
ac ni yw’r Gwmrâg sy’n ein gludo at ein gilydd fel mêl gwyllt.
We are the tasty, scrumptious crumbly Welsh cakes.
Ni yw’r cychod sy’n ein cario i’r ynysoedd nesaf.
We are fast readers,
weird singers, friendly dancers;
ni yw’r cerrig mân a’r creigiau moel,
and we pride ourselves on kindness.
And we know what it is to feel ‘hiraeth’
Ac rydan ni’n gwybod fod ’na bobol yng Nghymru yn llwgu,
And we know what it’s like to have mixed emotions,
fod capeli yn arogli fel hen lyfrau,
a dillad neiniau a fferins a gweddïau.
When I speak Welsh, I can taste my tongue;
bod hiliaeth yn staen ar y galon.
Our mountains stand ragged and rocky;
bod Cymreictod yn brofiad sur-felys fel blas mwyar duon ar dafod.
We speak Arabic, Tamil, Urdu, Afrikaans,
ac mai bara brith yw bara’r nefoedd
am ei fod o’n arogli’n dywyll ac yn dyner fel tŷ Mam-gu;
Welsh, English, Turkish, Telegu, Somali;
a bod yno’m y ddawn i fod yn genedl.
A’r cyfan rydym ni eisiau,
and all we want,
yw bod yn ffrind i wledydd eraill;
to keep the air clean so we can breathe;
a llai o dywod rhwng ein brechdanau;
a trampoline in the chimney so we can reach the clouds
a bod neb yn trashio parciau plant yfory;
for our girls to have the same opportunities as our boys;
ac rydym ni’n mynnu
yr hawl i gael byw yn ein cymunedau;
robot butlers and the Welsh flag on the moon!
Rydym eisiau gwyrddni, ag awyr iach
ac arogl dom!
Our unique voices were made to be heard.
Rydym ni moyn cymryd pleser yn ein gwaith,
yn gwmws fel y gwna Mam-gu
wrth iddi weithio tartren rhiwbob.
We want to set an example for the rest of the world.
We represent you. So if there’s something you feel passionately about, or a change you’d like to see in Wales, there are a number of ways you can make your voice heard in the Senedd:
You could create a new petition or sign someone else’s. More about Senedd petitions.
You could help one of the Senedd committees with an inquiry. More about working with a committee.
You could contact one of your Members of the Senedd about the issue. Every person in Wales is represented by five elected Members. Find out who represents you.