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The Gathering review a layered feeling for place and history

Hafod y Llan farm, Snowdonia
Gillian Clarke and Louise Ann Wilsons pastoral Welsh installation leaves its mark on the memory

It begins each September: yr helfa, the gathering of sheep from the higher reaches of Snowdonia, ready for wintering in the lowland fields. The whistling of shepherds; the barking of dogs; the strange cry of a conch, blown by the farmers boy: these are the sounds that accompany this ancient tradition as the flock streams down across thistle and slate.

These are also the sights and sounds that haunt this performance, inspired by yr helfa, and created by artist Louise Ann Wilson and Welsh national poet Gillian Clarke for National Theatre Wales. Part mountain walk, part immersive theatrical experience, it is also, in a sense, a gathering in reverse: the audience clusters in Snowdons foothills, ready to be shepherded, in groups, to higher land.

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