Arts and Health

Wales-wide arts festival comes to Brecon and includes taiko workshops for health and wellbeing.


Brecon’s over 50s can try their hand at Taiko Drumming at a ‘Try Taiko!’ event in Theatr Brycheiniog this May.

It’s all part of a Wales-wide arts festival for older people run by the national charity, Age Cymru.

The Gwanwyn arts festival for over 50s is now in its fourteenth year and the event at Theatr Brycheiniog is one of 50 taking place across Wales during May.

Says Ursula Frank of Taiko Wales:

We’re really looking forward to being part of the Gwanwynarts festival.

Taiko Wales – Taiko Drumming for Health and Wellbeing – has been running popular workshops at Theatr Brycheiniog  over the last year. Theatr Brycheiniog works in association with Taiko Wales and our creative projects are going from strength to strength.

Taiko is a performance art played on beautiful drums and is a great fun activity for all ages.”

The annual Gwanwyn arts festival for over 50s champions the health benefits of arts for older people.

It gives grants to groups across Wales to hold events during May where older people can take part in arts and creative activities.

“Trying your hand at something new and creative can have a long-lasting and positive effect”, says Gwanwyn arts festival coordinator Kelly Barr.

“It can put the spark back into your life, re-awaken your enthusiasm and help you find a creative side of yourself you never knew existed.

“Whether it’s painting, crochet, photography, dancing, singing or learning to play a musical instrument, being creative can help you switch off from life’s stresses and strains and give you some valuable ‘me-time’.

“The event being held by Theatr Brycheiniog is a great opportunity for over 50s in Brecon to have a go at Taiko Drumming, and I hope they are inspired by their experiences.”

Age Cymru set Gwanwyn up in 2006 with the support of the Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales.


Theatr Brycheiniog 01874 611622 or

The Gwanwyn Festival:

Gwanwyn is a month-long national festival held across Wales in May each year celebrating creativity in older age.
The aim of the festival is to:
Celebrate the opportunity of older age for renewal, growth and creativity, hence the connotations of new-life in the name ‘Gwanwyn’ meaning ‘springtime’ in the Welsh language;
Promote the benefits of exploring creativity, developing a critical voice and participating fully in the artistic and cultural life of local communities and Wales as a whole;
Offer opportunities for greater participation by older people in the arts, such as painting, photography, music, drama, storytelling, literature, dance or film during the month of May;
Highlight existing artistic work and creativity of groups and individuals who are older people themselves or whose work revolves around the concepts of older people and creativity;
Promote the participation of older people in the arts throughout the year and highlight existing or new opportunities available locally;
Gwanwyn is a collaborative initiative between key national organisations lead by Age Cymru, the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Government; working closely with local arts groups, active retirement and community groups, public libraries, museums, schools and care centres. 
Also in May
We are running our annual ‘Taiko Drumming Wellbeing Workshop’ in Abergavenny. All welcome to this friendly and uplifting event.


Taiko workshop with members of the Encephalitis Society on retreat at Buckland Hall, Brecon Beacons.


ARTS AND HEALTH: A particular focus for much of our work in Wales has emerged, inspired by both Heather and Ursula’s professional experience as, respectively, a music therapist and an art therapist and by James’ previous work in the field of Arts and Health. We have provided workshops with an emphasis on health and wellbeing to organisations such as The Bridgend Stroke Association and Rhondda Cynon Taf Carers’ Association. In addition, we have also been involved in the following events in Wales; All Wales Mental Health Promotion Network Conference, Wrexham, the launch of the online Youth Counselling Service for Powys County Council, Newtown, World Mental Health Day conference, Ebbw Vale.

Taiko Wellbeing May 2018 smaller


Participants at the Taiko for Wellbeing Workshop


Feedback – “Alive!” “Drumtastic!” “Invigorating.”

People who take part in taiko workshops in a community or group setting, often express their subjective experience in highly positive terms – “joyful”, “exhilarating” “energising” – as we can see from the feedback above. As well as this qualitative evidence there is also an increasing amount of quantitative data that shows a wide range of benefits. One of the best collections of such research can be found at the Remo HealthRHYTHMS website.



Heather training in Fukui, Japan.

James Barrow’s involvement in this area in the wider UK includes contributing to the Arts For Health autumn programme at The Hive Arts Centre in Shrewsbury in 2010 which was run jointly with the Early Intervention Team from the South Staff and Shropshire NHS, looking at practical ways of using music to encourage positive mental health outcomes for voluntary service users. He was also closely involved in delivering Taiko drumming sessions as part of the Changing Tracks alcohol and substance misuse awareness project, referenced in the Nordoff Robbins 2011 report “Mapping Music and Health”.


Five Ways to Wellbeing

Five Ways To Wellbeing
The New Economic Foundation has completed a extensive review of the evidence of individual actions that promote wellbeing and have generated ‘five ways to wellbeing’, a wellbeing equivalent of ‘five fruit and vegetables a day’. Taiko ticks all five!
Connect…with the people around you. At home, work or in your local community. Building these connections will support and enrich you everyday.
Be Active…Exercising makes you feel good. Discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
Take Notice…Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Savour the moment. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling.
Keep Learning…Try something new. Sign up for that course. Learn to play an instrument. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
Give…Do something nice for a friend. Smile. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.”

taiko poster 6 May 2017



CONTACT TAIKO WALES  ~  Email:  ~ Phone: 01873 812215

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