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Graveyard Voices brought to life at Cathays Cemetery

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An actor tells the story of a person buried at Cathays cemetery for the Graveyard Voices event.

THE stories of those buried in Cathays cemetery are being brought to life on a unique tour.

The second of two free Graveyard Voices heritage walks will take place on Friday (November 20) featuring dramatic performances and live music as part of a guided tour around the cemetery.

The event, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of the UK-wide Being Human festival, has been organised by Richard Hand, Professor of Theatre and Media Drama at the University of South Wales.

He said: “For the last few years we’ve worked very closely with Cardiff City Council on a number of outreach performance events, including, for the last two years, a project with Cathays cemetery where we bring the stories and the histories of the people buried in the cemetery to life. So audiences go round on the traditional heritage trail but suddenly they’ll encounter a person who will tell their own story.

“People love it, it tends to be fully booked; they can’t take huge numbers but people really do get into it, enjoying the stories and a chance to experience the fascinating narrative of this unique space.”

The first event, which took place last week, began with members of the band Wonderbrass performing an original piece of music in the cemetery’s restored Victorian Gothic chapel.

The tour included a story from the Senghenydd disaster told in the rain beside a pauper’s grave, a tale of the Irish Famine told in verse next to a monument to those who moved to Cardiff to escape the blight and the exploits of a spy during World War Two who worked with the French resistance.

Actor Owain Muller, 22, played Ernest Willows, an inventor who flew from London to Paris in his self-built airship named City of Cardiff.

Mr Mullar said: “Performing in the actual space is a lot more potent than doing something on the stage because you’re constantly prompted by having the grave right there next to you. You look at it and it’s easy to remember the lines – basically don’t mess it up otherwise he won’t be happy with you.”

Paul Jones, 59, a trustee of the Friends of Cathays Cemetery said: “It was very entertaining. It’s an ideal way of bringing the information across to people, I’ve learned a lot from today.

Please visit the Eventbrite booking website to reserve free places on the upcoming Graveyard Voices walk.