Arts Council of Wales | The Travelling Harpists

The Travelling Harpists

The Travelling Harpists is an animated film made with young Travellers from across Wales recapturing the stories, traditional customs of Gypsy culture and language. This is a Heritage Lottery funded project.

Priory Learning Centre, Monkton Priory Community Primary School
Bynea Learning Centre, Bynea County Primary School

June 2009 – October 2009

The film was created from a series of workshops working with 36 young Travellers and other pupils using the children’s own artwork, animation and voices. It celebrated the unique contribution of Romany culture in Britain, helping to break down barriers and create opportunities for this marginalised group in the spirit of the Olympic Games.

The Travelling HarpistsThe film focused on the story of the Woods family, who were the first Gypsies to settle in Wales. Abram Wood, the self styled ‘King of the Gypsies’ was an accomplished character being trilingual in Welsh, English and Romany as well as being a talented musician. The Woods family for over two centuries provided Wales with some of the most renowned harpists, travelling to entertain people across Wales.

The film included presentations to the children from Teleri Jarman who is a direct descendant of Abram Woods, and storytelling by Daniel Morden. The project culminated in a premiere at the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven when copies of the film were given to the young people involved along with a booklet about the project.

Beverley Stephens head of the Gypsy/Traveller education service in Pembrokeshire, said:

"They enjoyed learning about their heritage and it will have helped their self-esteem to see the high regard with which the Gypsy Harpists were held in Wales. They’ve also learnt a lot about film-making and animation. Its been a great success all round"

The film and the booklet will leave a lasting legacy. The project aims to re-kindle the respect for the very communities that helped build the heritage of Wales – Traveler communities were once held in high regard, with their education, knowledge and culture. By working with young Travellers alongside other children, working with professional artists and film makers, the project will give these children a sense of achievement.

The film was also distributed by the Welsh Assembly Government to all local authorities in Wales with the potential to touch and change the lives of children and young people in all parts of Wales and possibly beyond.

See the completed film below, courtesy of Travellers Times:

Additional Credits:

Directed & Produced
Gerald Conn

Cinetig Filmmakers
Gerald Conn
Jeremy Roberts
Chris Elliott

Jane Hubbard

Teleri Jarman

John Hardy Music

Beverley Stephens, The Priory Project Learning Centre
Teleri Jarman Gray
Gwyn L Williams, Creative Programmer Wales London 2012
Daniel Morden, Storyteller
June Griffiths, Bynea County Primary School
Sarah Jeremiah, Heritage Lottery Fund
Dan Thomas, Film Agency for Wales
Carmarthenshire County Council
Torch Theatre, Milford Haven
Scolton Manor Museum

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Registered Charity Number 1034245