So this time it was a trip into the imagination with a visit to the magical outdoor family festival Mythfest Wales, right on our doorstep in beautiful North Wales. This is an immersive adventure with the ingredients of storytelling, natural crafts, magic, outdoor theatre, laughter, forest school fun, legends and mythical characters; and best of all it’s based on tales of North East Wales (yes I’m biased…). Also described as an Eco Pantomime, this is a sophisticated and enchanting venture into outdoor theatre and local mythology; with a twist of modern conscience.
We’ve been lucky to visit lots of wonderful places this Spring/Summer and it felt like a nice end to the summer sunshine (now sadly gone, flip flops packed away) to go on an outdoor adventure before hibernating for the winter. Where nicer to spend an Autumn afternoon than in colourful (smoke as well as leaves) woodland with mythical creatures and stories.
This is a little bit of a tricky blog to write because I don’t want to create any ‘spoilers’, and I want to talk about the accessibility; so I’m going to have to contain my enthusiasm and make sure I don’t tell you too much, to make sure you can discover the magic and make your own adventures next year!
From an accessibility viewpoint, I think Mythfest Wales may not have been something at the top of my list, as unknown locations in woods are not always reliably accessible or level, and I wouldn’t be confident in advance about issues like parking/distance to walk etc. My advantage here was that Plas Derw Forest School is in our local area and I felt fairly confident that it would be physically manageable for my little bumblebee.
It was a short walk from the car park at Coleg Cambria to the Mythfest location. The obstacles we faced in the physical environment included rabbit holes, tree roots, muddy paths, uneven fields and downhill paths (i.e. as expected in wet Welsh woods). Emily has balance and co-ordination difficulties teamed with ataxia, so this kind of terrain could be described as a challenge! She doesn’t tend to look down when walking and will happily plough on through any environment she’s in without any sense of danger.
However, Emily was able to manage fine with help from me and we had lots of help from the lovely characters during the activities. There were just as many places during the adventure which were level and Emily sat happily to watch the show. As I’ve commented on previous posts we are used to having to give Emily extra help in unfamiliar environments so we never let that stop us.
It would be more difficult for wheelchair users (we would have struggled with the Maclaren Major) but you could perhaps talk to the lovely organisers and look at the alternative venues if you are tempted to experience the magic next time.
The way Mythfest has been planned created a lovely flow to the afternoon. We started in the forest school area with an introduction from the Tylweth Teg (fair folk) who guided us through the afternoon in charming character.
We then moved through the fields and woodland to reach the open area where we watched the 1st part of the charming and very funny story being told and acted out, with lyrical storytelling by the wonderful Ceridwen. (When I asked Emily which was her favourite part of the afternoon her answer was ‘Green Lady’!).
We were left on a cliffhanger, and were then taken by either the Water Fairies or Fire Fairies to create ways to overcome Arawn, King of the Otherworld (the ‘baddie’!). The Fire Fairies took us to another woodland area to search for and make our own powerful staffs, and to learn an incantation to strip Arawn of his evil powers.
We then moved back to the forest school area to make magic potions….
The afternoon of adventure finished with a return to the open theatre area to see the second half of the story being told, and for us to use our staffs, incantations and magic potions to ward off evil…
We had a magical outdoor adventure with Mythfest Wales, and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to other families. You will hopefully be able to manage the environment if you have a certain level of mobility, and enjoy all the amazing aspects of this family festival. A portaloo and disabled portaloo were provided onsite; and there was plentiful parking in the level carpark.
Mythfest may be a gentle introduction to theatre and creative storytelling if you have littlies (or biggies) with sensory issues who become overwhelmed within a theatre setting; and may respond well to the tranquil and spacious setting.
Mythfest Wales is already booked to return to a new location in North Wales next Summer, at Wepre Park in Connah’s Quay. We will also be keeping our eyes peeled to see when return visits to the other 3 sites used in 2018 are announced! (Talacre Beach, Llandegla Forest and Clocaenog Forest).
We even managed to find some familiar goblin and non-goblin friends along the way…
Emily’s favourite – Green Lady:
Vanessa and all the Mythfest Wales team kindly invited us to the festival to take a look at disabled access and facilities. All opinions expressed are entirely our own!