A group of young people recreate Welsh folklore of building a house overnight on Pontypridd Common as part of art installation

Written by on 18th September 2023

Tŷ Unnos = One Night House
Pontypridd Common, Rhondda Cynon Taf

13-14 October 2023

At dusk on Friday 13th October a group of young people will build a house on Coedpenmaen Common (Pontypridd Common), which will stand as a temporary landmark for 24 hours with events for people to gather, families to play, and for interested citizens to discuss what it means to have a place in the land that they can call home.

Tŷ Unnos (translated means One Night House) is part of Welsh folklore. Legend tells that if the house has a roof with a smoking chimney by dawn, the builder can live there and may farm the land around as far as they can throw an axe from the front door.

Recreating the folklore and art installation, and organising this event is Pontypridd’s Citrus Arts, who will be supporting a team of young Artworkers to create their own Tŷ Unnos.

The Artworkers are young people aged between 18-30 from across Wales, who have had some or very little experience of working in the arts and cultural industry and have faced many barriers to developing their paths because of financial, location and access. Over the last three months the Artworkers have already gained invaluable first-hand experience of working on events, learning technical and building set experiences at Beyond the Border Storytelling Festival, Greenman Festival, Eisteddfod, and many local events organised by Citrus Arts in Rhondda Cynon Taf

Leading up to the build the Artworkers will also be working with people from other sectors including team of local builders Frowen Brothers, lighting technicians T&M Technical and architect, Tabitha Pope with architect students to design the one night house.

“It’s an amazing experience for me, and another string to my bow at a time when I’m wondering what’s next” – Hannah Hunter, Artworker

Tŷ Unnos will start to be built at dusk on 13 October, with a Breaking Ground Ceremony starting at 6.30pm where audiences can see the house being built, with performances from the Citrus Arts Youth Circus, fire drawings, stilt walkers and live music from Cathays Inclusive Brass Band and a specially commissioned folk piece from Cerys Hafana.

On Saturday 14 October audiences will be able to see the house being built, along with afternoon activities from midday as part of the Breaking Bread community event. There will be family activities, workshops, live music, and campfire conversations.

As the sun sets on Saturday evening, international artist Mark Anderson has created a playful and hypnotic sonic experience of suspense and shifting sounds, ‘Warning Notes’ in collaboration with Liam Walsh.

Warning Notes is a captivating sound-world that comes alive through an ever-changing outdoor live performance. Using an ensemble of visually striking ‘instruments’ – gongs, bells, whistles, and explosive events – Warning Notes gives a voice to the social and ecological alarm rippling across our planet. Warning Notes is ideal for adults and children. There will be a Touch Tour at 3.45pm, Relaxed Performance at 4.30pm and performances from Warning Notes from 5pm until 8.30pm. Mark and Liam will also be running a workshop with sound artist Ezra Grey as part of the weekend.

Tŷ Unnos is a culmination of Citrus Arts’ year-long programme of community events, classes, workshops and performances all based on the theme of HOME, bringing their community of Pontypridd and Rhondda Cynon Taf together.

Citrus Arts are invested in their passion to develop creativity for all ages by sharing the hands-on skills and attitude that are an essential part of travelling circus life – technique, skills, and showmanship to build a solid creative community in their home county.

“Citrus Arts’ work is guided by the values of our neighbours, youngers, and elders who share our base at Hopkinstown Community Hall. The act of a group of young people building a house on Common Land is both a reminder of our responsibilities to future generations, and a message to say that hard graft & creativity can bring communities together in challenging times”.

Citrus Arts Artistic Director, James Doyle Roberts said:

“This is such an exciting project and an important opportunity to open up a conversation about access to land, affordable housing and how people want to live.  It will be a joy to bring the worlds of construction and performing arts together in a public place where anyone can come along and enjoy,” said Tabitha Hope Architect.

“I’ve worked a lot on designing temporary structures but never something that was built overnight.

It’s not easy designing a building that can be built so quickly, especially in the dark, so we decided to prefabricate some of the elements. We are making a sort of flat pack house that can be quickly and easily assembled by a team of 4 in about 8 hours. It will have a hearth with a log burning stove so there will be smoke coming out the chimney by dawn!

We wanted to keep the carbon footprint of the project to as low as possible, so the structure is made from timber grown in the UK in sustainably managed woodlands.

Sadly it won’t be up for long, but we hope the project will get people talking about common land, and how to make a home, however humble, accessible for everybody that wants and needs one.”

“Citrus Arts is innovative and enthralling, and create imaginative interpretive art. We are so proud to have them grow in our community and we can’t wait to see this new project.” Could the Jayne Brechner from Pontypridd Town Council.

Tŷ Unnos starts from dusk on the 13 October until 8pm. The site re-opens again from midday on 14 October at Coedpenmaen Common (Pontypridd Common), Pontypridd, with free events all afternoon. All activities are free to attend but its advised to book your tickets in advance through Citrus Arts and Eventbrite as some activities have limited capacity.  Food and refreshments will be available on the site.

Tickets and further schedule information is available at citrusarts.co.uk

Tŷ Unnos and Warning Notes are presented in partnership with Pontypridd Town Council supported by Arts Council Wales, Welsh Assembly Government and National Lottery.


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