Exciting role for Alumni in Pijin/Pigeon


Elin Gruffydd, a graduate of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Wales Academy of Voice and Dramatic Arts will star in the theatre adaptation of the novel by Alys Conran and will tour a number of theatres in Wales.

Images of Pijin-Pigeon courtesy of Theatre Genedlaethol Cymru

Images of Pijin/Pigeon courtesy of Theatre Genedlaethol Cymru

Photographer: Kristina Banholzer

Elin has joined the cast of Pijin/Pigeon, a bilingual show produced by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Theatr Iolo, which is based on the novel adapted for the stage by Bethan Marlow.

The storyline focuses on the lives of young people living amongst the mountains and slate quarries of North Wales in the 1990s with a fascinating character named Pigeon as the protagonist. The show tackles themes such as language, trauma, friendship and love, with dark twists and turns throughout.

Elin, who studied BA Perfformio plays the role of Iola, Pigeon’s best friend who would do anything for him. She describes her as an interesting but complicated character whose traumatic upbringing has shaped her. She is funny, loyal and clever. Elin says:

I see much of myself in Iola – I can identify with her humour and how devoted she is to her friend, Pigeon. That’s what drew me to the character and the show.”

The two-year Welsh-medium programme, BA Perfformio teaches a number of specialist skills and techniques to produce graduates who are multidisciplinary and knowledgeable in the industry.

Students’ exposure to the industry comes in the form of real-life experiences and being trained by  professionals including Eiry Thomas, Elen Bowman and Robbie Bowman - an experience that Elin found invaluable.

Elin, originally from Trawsfynydd, Gwynedd, believes she would not be in the position she is in now if not for the excellent training she had on the BA Perfformio course at UWTSD and the fantastic support from her tutors.  She claims:

As well as teaching the craft of being an actor, the course teaches you resilience and how to take care of yourself mentally and physically, which is something you need within this industry. The course helped me develop not only as an actor but as a person. It increased my confidence, awakened my creativity and led me to where I am today.”

She first discovered the programme when the University visited her college, Coleg Meirion Dwyfor, Dolgellau to offer workshops. After a taster of this course, she knew that she wanted to be a performer and so she made her application. The fact that it could be studied through the medium of Welsh was a huge bonus. Her advice to anyone thinking about studying the course and working within the industry is to strive to achieve their goal. She says:

“If you feel in your heart and gut that you are a performer, then you are meant to be one and you should believe in yourself no matter what.”

Since graduating in 2020, Elin has found a number of opportunities ranging from working with Cwmni Theatr Arad Goch, Dirty Protest Theatre and appeared in a McDonald’s advert. As well as currently starring in Pijin/Pigeon, she is also working with Boom Cymru on an exciting social media project.

Programme Director for the BA Perfformio course, Eilir Owen-griffiths, said:

We are so very pleased to see one of our graduates performing with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. We wish Elin well, as well as the rest of the cast and crew on Pigeon’s journey.”

Pijin/Pigeon will be touring a number of theatres including The Ffwrnes, Llanelli, Theatre Mwldan, Cardigan and Galeri, Caernarfon. Tickets can be booked through Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru | Pijin/Pigeon.

You can find out more about the course through the University web page: BA Perfformio.

Further Information

For further information please contact Mared Anthony: Mared.Anthony@uwtsd.ac.uk