by Mel Shand

On the 2nd April 2016 Guy and I had the honor of representing POOT (Portrait of our Time) at the EPIC awards. Epic stands for Enterprise, Participation, Innovation and Creativity, although Community would also apply – it certainly does in our case! You can read all about the other award winners on the Epic blog but here is my take on the weekend (don’t worry its mostly pictures!)

Back in March we found out alter:nativity was one of 8 finalists shortlisted from over 50 Scottish entries for a Voluntary Arts Epic awards. My initial response was less than overwhelmed, having read some of the other entries, quite honestly I didn’t think we stood a chance! Before we knew it the judges were coming to visit and due to a technical fault with the equipment at the performance in December I set about putting together an imovie and a small team to give a flavor of our wonderful community. The judges were particularly tickled to be met by a roman guard and of course to see the steading where the play was staged.

So, two weeks passed and Lo and behold! We received a note to say two representatives were invited to this year’s host nation for what we thought was entry to the next round, after reading the email more carefully we discovered to our absolute incredulity that we had won the Scottish award!

Leaving Aberdeen last Friday morning we discovered Cardiff is not the most direct place to get to, requiring a car, plane to Birmingham, and then a 2.5hr drive to the city. Only the representatives from the Uist choir had travelled further. I was ridiculously overexcited to have left the ‘shire and be in a city so stuffed full of interest, including loads of urban art – it has to be said Guy was less impressed with the art! The use of the welsh language on every surface left my dyslexic brain reeling – a real winner on a scrabble board, this impressive sign on John Lewis, means ‘customer collection’!

casglu i gwsmeriaidcardiff

police car

They take their daffodils super seriously in Cardiff where even police cars match the vibrant yellow and blue skies and it was the BBC’s Get Creative weekend so street performers were out in force.

I’m not a HUGE history buff as I struggle with dates but it was relatively easy to grasp the key points of the castle. Established in 50AD, the Norman Keep (above and only a small part of the site) was positioned on a hand built mound, the rest of the GLORIOUS building was later built and decorated by a Scot! (the Marquis of Bute) I can hardly find the words to describe the interior – perhaps “fantasmagorigal and like nothing I have ever seen before. The compere for the evening found me taking pictures in a stairwell and offered me a sneaky peak behind the scenes in the Opium room

The whole magnitude of the event gradually started to sink in as we reached the castle for the awards ceremony, other award winners told us how much they liked our project and Sophie McKeand, the young person’s poet laureate for Wales told me she liked our story best, it made her cry and then she cried again…tears of appreciation and happiness she said – which made me cry! http://youngpeopleslaureate.org/

Castle 2castle 4Castle 3

Award 2 award 1