Charlotte Church, Cardiff-born singer and television host, is best known for her powerful soprano voice and for being both the youngest musician to reach number one on the Classical Music Album Chart in the UK and the youngest female singer to break into the UK Top 40 Albums Chart. If you’re unfamiliar with her accomplishments, you may have been out of the loop for the past two decades!
Following those achievements, Charlotte has pursued training as a sound healing therapist. Additionally, she has taken the initiative to establish a free learning community in South Wales and has launched The Dreaming wellness retreat. Let’s delve deeper into these endeavours as Charlotte shares more about them with us in her own words.
You founded The Awen Project in 2019. Can you tell us about the charity and what the driving force behind it was?
The Awen Project is a free-to-attend democratic school which operates in natural spaces, currently in a forest in Dinas Powys, and it’s born of the need to have a more humane education. I think that the way that we educate our young people has not moved on much and most teachers in mainstream education would probably agree. It’s not fit for purpose in today’s world.
What The Awen Project does is it follows the most modern thinking about the brain and human development, which means that you’re empowering young people and giving them the freedom to choose. Making good and bad choices, and learning from those choices. We give young people the opportunity to make decisions about who they are and what they want to do. I’m passionate about education and a more humane, natural approach. It’s not wishy-washy either, we want our students to be excellent in what they’re passionate about!
Then, you bought Rhydoldog House and The Dreaming Retreat began to come to life. Can you tell us more about this and where the idea came from?
The idea here really just came from being on the land of Rhydoldog House when I was sitting quietly on the land, trying to tune into my extra-sensory perception. The land is just incredible. It came with 47 acres of amazing woodland and two waterfalls – it’s like walking onto a Lord of the Rings film set! As soon as I got there and got to witness the cascading waterfalls, it just felt like a very cleansing, healing place, and so The Dreaming was born.
The three pillars of The Dreaming are nature connection, sound therapy and ceremony – because there’s so much to be honoured in our lives. The more we mark these occasions, the more easeful these things become. A lot of these concepts are really simple and I love it so much. The Dreaming really is just the most magical place on earth.
‘Song of the Soul’ is launching at the retreat this March. Can you tell us a bit more about that and how your career in music assists here?
Singing has been a balm to me throughout my life. It’s helped me through some very difficult situations and I feel as though I’ve been singing to self-soothe for a long time. It’s deep within the human DNA. I see the suffering in the world and the suffering in people and I feel deeply moved to do something about it. This is how ‘Song of the Soul’ was born.
‘Song of the Soul’ will be me and a wonderful practitioner, Deborah Coughlin, leading people in an exploration of releasing their true, authentic voice. Who are they? Who do they want to be in the world? What are they here to do? It’s just about starting to dive in to see what it’s all about for them so they can feel powerful and at ease with the world.
You don’t need to be a singer or have a musical background in any way, shape or form to be able to do this. We’ve been programmed to think that you can only sing or play music if you’re “good”, but I think it’s one of our most potent tools for healing and emotional expression. Oh, and it’s going to be loads of fun too!
What is your long-term vision for The Dreaming Retreat?
My long-term vision is for The Dreaming to be a place where people from around the world can come and share wisdom with us in Wales, and that we’re able to share our wisdom with them too! Our Welsh, Celtic culture is very rich in magic, song and poetry. I would also love for us to be a beacon in these dark times to assist in self and societal healing.
Are there any other exciting projects that you’re looking to get stuck into?
Yes! I have a podcast coming that I’m not allowed to say too much about yet. I’m also working on some new music with collaborators where I’m diving into my deepest feelings, which is terrifying yet exciting. It’s certainly been a long time coming!
To keep up with Charlotte and the ongoings of The Dreaming, click here.
Image credits: Elliot Cooper & Rekha Garton