Grammy Award-Winning Singer Songwriter Amy Wadge Pens Songs for EYE OF THE STORM

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Grammy Award-Winning Singer Songwriter Amy Wadge Pens Songs for EYE OF THE STORMEye of the Storm is a new country musical written by Theatr na nÓg's Artistic Director Geinor Styles, with original songs from singer songwriter Amy Wadge (Thinking Out Loud with Ed SHeeran). The life affirming musical tells the story of a young girl called Emmie who lives in the Welsh Valleys and dreams of being a 'storm chaser.' Her ultimate goal in life is to travel to Tornado Alley to study storms and find herself in the 'Eye of the Storm'.

Eye of the Storm was shortlisted for the UK and US, Kevin Spacey Foundation Artists of Choice for 2017. Spacey said: "I am proud to say that our artists of choice program has become hugely successful in the discovery of new work by some incredible artists."

In 2005 Theatr na nÓg was commissioned by Barnardos to devise a theatre piece by young carers for young carers and Artistic Director Geinor Styles was inspired by their stories, so much that she wanted to put a spotlight on their circumstances and take it to a wider audience. Geinor said "In writing Eye of the Storm we wanted to not only tell the story of a young carer, Emmie, but we wanted to show that although they provide the ultimate care for a family member they still have dreams and ambitions to succeed just like any other child.

"We also wanted to get the conversation going about young carers amongst teachers, parents and young people, because we discovered that many people don't know that their friend, their child's friend or their pupil is indeed a carer. In doing this we hope that we can open everyone's eyes that all options are open to them and that anything is possible."

One of Theatr na nÓg's objectives is to encourage and ignite the imagination of the nation with high quality accessible theatre productions that have the potential to travel and play nationally and internationally. Therefore subject matter is critical and in Eye of the Storm's case it centres on girls choosing careers in science and STEM subjects. According to the WISE Women in STEM workforce report 2016, women make up just 21.1% of the Core STEM workforce in the UK. Geinor Styles added: "With the prospect of at least 2500 young girls coming to see Eye of the Storm, we hope to play a small role in igniting interest in science as a subject as well as encouraging girls to even consider viewing STEM as a future career."

To fully integrate the science element into the theatrical production, Theatr na nÓg collaborated with TechnoCamps at Swansea University, to offer young audiences free pre- and post-show workshops that includes a coding programme to create their very own tornado for renewable energy. The workshops are accompanied by educational resources linked to the Digital Competency Framework.

The inspiration behind the tornado came from Canadian inventor and scientist Louis Michaud's Atmospheric Vortex Engine. Geinor Styles said: "We are over the moon by Louis Michaud's reaction to our play, he's fully supportive of the production and was only too pleased to offer us his seal of approval and endorsement to share his invention with a wider audience.

Professor Hilary Lappin-Scott, Senior Pro-Vice- chancellor at Swansea University and Vice-president of the Federation of European Microbiology Societies also supported Geinor in her research for the central character. Professor Lapin-Scott actively promotes girls in science and retaining women in STEM careers, Professor Lappin-Scott said: "Eye of the Storm will be seen by the perfect audience, at the perfect age, which is when girls leave their interest in STEM and science behind, I really believe that this production could make all the difference when it comes to the audience."

Amy Wadge was commissioned to write original songs, which has been a true labour of love, with County Music being very close to her heart, she is currently writing songs for some of the biggest Country stars in the world, including Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, Sam Hunt and BRandy Clark as well as artists from the pop world including Jess Glynne, Birdy, Nick Jonas, James Blunt, Paloma Faith and of course her long term collaborating partner Ed SHeeran. These beautiful Country style songs highlight Emmie's inner thoughts, dreams and desires Eye of the Storm's Musical Director is Barnaby Southgate (The Commitments, West End) who has also produced the EP of the shows original songs with Amy Wadge.

Amy said of the experience of working with Theatr na nÓg: "I've always wanted to be part of a musical production, and this is the perfect way to make that happen. I'm known for co-working with artists, and in particular Ed SHeeran, and this is because I love bouncing off people creatively. Working with Theatr na nÓg and coming up with ideas for the songs in Eye of the Storm was a real treat! I think the production has legs too, and I hope more audiences will get to see it UK wide."

Founded 35 years ago, predominantly to serve the needs of the community of West Glamorgan, Theatr na nÓg has come a very long way. Its most notable recent success being the production of 'TOM the Musical', about the early life of Tom Jones, which toured twelve major venues across the UK and played eighty three performances to over 41,000 people, grossed over £1.1m in tickets sales, an astounding achievement for a small subsidised theatre company.

Eye of the Storm is produced in association with Taliesin Arts Centre and public tickets are only available four performances at the Swansea Arts Centre from the 7th of November, following a 6 week residency for school groups at the Dylan Thomas Theatre, Swansea.

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