2014 will be the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dylan Thomas who was born in Swansea on 27th October 1914. Numerous events are planned throughout 2014 to celebrate the occasion. This is our attempt to summarize the events announced so far.
The official publicly funded festival has been branded as the Dylan Thomas 100 festival (DT100) and will feature events across Wales and beyond, staged by a variety of arts organisations. The best place to keep up to date with official developments is at their website www.dt100.info
For a list of the official DT100 events announced so far, click here.
A number of patrons have been announced for the official celebrations including Dylan Thomas’s granddaughter Hannah Ellis, the Prince of Wales, who will be the royal patron, and leading members of the arts community in Wales including opera singer Bryn Terfel, composer Karl Jenkins, singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews, former first minister Rhodri Morgan, and harpist Catrin Finch.
Dylan’s granddaughter, Hannah Ellis, has given an interview where she talks about her hopes for the centenary.
Developing Dylan – A New Education Project
Developing Dylan, a new education project from Literature Wales that plans to put Dylan’s work at the centre of a series of initiatives aimed at inspiring the young people of Wales. The project, which was launched at the 2013 Urdd Eisteddfod, has been funded by the Welsh Government, and will feature a series of workshops, an international competition, a roadshow, and will be supported by a Developing Dylan website. The project will run from October 2013 to October 2014, with the website launching in July 2013.
Memories of Dylan Thomas to be recorded
The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, has received Heritage Lottery Funding to help record the memories of those who knew the poet. The recordings will form part of an improved interactive exhibition at the Centre, which houses a collection of Thomas related memorabilia. The funding will also be used to allow more of the collection to be exhibited.
Dylan the Musical
A new musical about the life of Dylan Thomas is being written by Mal Pope and Rob Gittins. It is expected to premier in Swansea during 2014 in a production directed by Michael Bogdanov. More details can be found here.
New Collected Poems
Dr John Goodby of Swansea University is working on a new and more comprehensive edition of Thomas’s collected poems, due to be published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson in 2014. The award of an Arts & Humanities Research Council Fellowship will allow Dr Goodby to visit the extensive collections of Dylan Thomas material held at American universities.
A biopic focussing on the final days of Dylan Thomas in New York has been commissioned by the BBC. “A Poet In New York” will be scripted by the prolific screenwriter Andrew Davies, and will be screened on BBC One Wales and BBC Two. The 75 minute programme will be made by Griff Rhys Jones’s production company Modern TV.
Dylan On The Big Screen
A film inspired by the final days of Dylan Thomas in New York is under development by Western Edge Pictures and is scheduled for release in 2014. “A Visit To America” is based on a screenplay by Welsh author Owen Sheers and focuses on the story of how a private detective engaged by Time Magazine was trailing Dylan Thomas in New York. Thomas had started a libel action against Time following a less than flattering description of him in the magazine, and Time were hoping to collect evidence to substantiate their claims.
Welsh language broadcaster S4C are planning a Dylan Thomas documentary for 2014. The project devised by film director Kevin Allen sees actor Rhys Ifans on a quest to discover more about the poet and his place in Welsh culture.
A new statue of Dylan Thomas by Welsh sculptor Peter Nicholas is to be erected close to the poet’s birthplace at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea. The project initiated by Geoff Haden, who has restored the birthplace, is likely to be funded by an appeal.
Upgrade for Cwmdonkin Park
The park near the birthplace of Dylan Thomas in Uplands, Swansea, is to receive a £1.4million upgrade in time for the centenary in 2014. Cwmdonkin Park was a regular haunt of the poet during his childhood and appears in a number of his poems and stories. The work will include a seating area with engravings of Dylan’s work, renovation of memorial benches and the memorial shelter, and restoration of the drinking fountain that features in Dylan’s work. The park’s tearooms have also been re-opened.
BBC update on the project.
The park has a friends society.
British Council to Promote Dylan Internationally
The British Council has announced plans for a 2-year programme of events to showcase the work of Dylan Thomas around the globe. Simon Dancey has been announced as the new British Council Director for Wales to lead the project.
Creative Writing Competition
A creative writing competition based around responses to Dylan’s poem “The Hunchback In The Park” was launched at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, in May 2013.
Under Milk Wood characters to be brought to life
Tin Shed Experience, the 1940s museum based in Laugharne is planning to create life-size fibreglass figures based on characters from Dylan Thomas’s play for voices, “Under Milk Wood”.
Bob Dylan “Considering” Swansea Gig
Geraint Davies, MP for Swansea West, has been in contact with Sony regarding the possible involvement of Bob Dylan in the Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations. Sony Music have reportedly said that “Mr Dylan is thinking very positively about the idea”. Mr Davies raised the issue in the House of Commons.
Geraint Davies MP is also planning a reception at the House of Parliament to honour Dylan Thomas. Culture Secretary Maria Miller is expected to attend, as well as Shadow Secretary Harriet Harman, and ambassadors from around the world.
Do Not Go Gentle Festival
The festival based in Dylan Thomas’s home suburb of Uplands, Swansea, is expected to return in November 2014.
Welsh Whisky for Dylan
Dylan Mural for Swansea
A derelict nightclub opposite Swansea railway station has been transformed by artist Pete Fowler‘s mural Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Octopus, which celebrates Dylan Thomas and features other symbols of Swansea’s heritage. The mural has been commissioned by Swansea public art charity LOCWS International ahead of the 2014 centenary.
Chairman for Swansea Centenary Plans
Former editor of the South Wales Evening Post, Spencer Feeney, has been appointed chairman of the group responsible for planning Swansea’s participation in the 2014 centenary celebrations. Dylan Thomas’s brief career as a newspaper reporter was with the same newspaper (then the South Wales Daily Post) in the early 1930s.
Dylan Thomas Centenary Scholarship
Swansea University’s College of Arts and Humanities are offering two Dylan Thomas Centenary Scholarships in Creative Writing to mark the centenary.
Dylan Thomas Conference
A conference dedicated to the work of Dylan Thomas is expected to be held at Swansea University, 3-5th September.
List of DT100 events
Here are the official DT100 events announced so far, the official launch leaflet can be downloaded from the official website here.
Dylan festivals in Laugharne. The annual arts festival in Laugharne will be multiplied with different weekends focussing on poetry & biography, music & film, and radio & comedy.
Dylan Thomas Centre. The renowned arts centre in Swansea’s maritime quarter will be the centre for a year-round, city-wide festival celebrating Dylan Thomas and showcasing contemporary writing. A major highlight will be an exhibition of the Dylan Thomas Notebooks which will be returning to Swansea and will feature in an expanded permanent Dylan Thomas Exhibition.
A Dylan Odyssey by Literature Wales. A series of literary tours in Wales & beyond, including Laugharne, rural Carmarthenshire, Oxford, and New York. Some tours will be guided by leading writers including Owen Sheers, Gillian Clarke, and T. James Jones.
Boathouse Laugharne. The former home of Dylan Thomas, the boathouse, will stage a series of events throughout the centenary year.
Bangor University. Will be hosting the “My Friend Dylan Thomas” festival which will feature musical responses to the work of Dylan Thomas.
Good Cop Bad Cop. Working through Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, GCBC will offer “Lleisiau/Voices” a celebration of the history of performance of the spoken word in Wales.
Birthplace 5 Cwmdonkin Drive. The Dylanathon, a photo-marathon celebrating the life and work of Dylan Thomas, will be staged by the birthplace.
Ffotogallery. The national development agency for photography and lens-based media in Wales will stage “Bedazzled – a Welshman in New York”, a series of performance events using settings provided by disused pubs and bars.
Lighthouse Theatre Ltd. A promenade performance of Dylan Thomas’s nostalgic Swansea based story “Return Journey” will be staged by Lighthouse Theatre.
Locws. The Swansea based artist-led charity will be undertaking contemporary art interventions in and around sites associated with Dylan Thomas in Swansea.
National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. NLW will showcase its recently compiled archive of Dylan Thomas material in a major exhibition.
National Museum Cardiff. The museum will be announcing the curtain raiser for the centenary in collaboration with a leading UK artist.
National Theatre Wales. NTW in collaboration with BBC Cymru Wales will present a unique global event with a star-studded mix of live broadcast film and performance.
Theatre Iolo. The Cardiff based theatre company will stage a contemporary take on Dylan Thomas’s unfinished novel “Adventures In The Skin Trade”.
Under Milk Wood. A major world tour of Under Milk Wood is to be staged.