March 2013 News Round-Up & Forthcoming Events

Photo courtesy of Rob Garbett

Photo courtesy of Rob Garbett

Laugharne Pilgrimage For Poet’s Granddaughter

Dylan Thomas’s granddaughter Hannah Ellis visited the Boathouse at Laugharne on 3rd March to mark what would have been the 70th birthday of her late mother Aeronwy.  Hannah, who has followed in her late mother’s footsteps to become president of the Dylan Thomas Society, gave readings from her mother’s writings as part of a public ceremony. Aeronwy wrote about her time living at Laugharne in her memoir “My Father’s Places”, and following her death in 2009, Aeronwy’s ashes were scattered in the Boathouse garden.

Live Translation Event At Birthplace

In a unique event at the Dylan Thomas birthplace in Swansea, translators, scholars, and artists from around the globe came together to take part in an instantaneous translation and performance of Dylan Thomas’ poetry. The collaborative event at the poet’s former home at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive on 25th March, was led by Cardiff University, and culminated in a printed copy of the translations being produced on the same day. The poems chosen for translation were “Once It Was The Colour Of Saying” and “On No Work of Words”.

Funding For Dylan Thomas Memories

The award of a £40,000 Heritage Lottery Fund development grant to Swansea’s Dylan Thomas Centre will help support plans to record the memories of people still living who knew Dylan Thomas. The project is part of plans to turn the centre into a world-class exhibition for learning, which would also see greater access to the centre’s collection of Dylan Thomas material. Currently only 140 out of 950 artefacts are on display.

Ex-Newsman Heads Swansea’s Centenary Plans

Former editor of the South Wales Evening Post, Spencer Feeney, has been asked to chair the group tasked with planning Swansea’s involvement with the Dylan Thomas centenary celebrations in 2014.

Dylan Thomas Features In New Welsh Tourism Advert

A new television advertisement for Visit Wales features footage of Dylan’s writing shed and the Boathouse at Laugharne, as well as a brief clip of Thomas reciting from “Under Milk Wood”. Watch the advert on youtube here.

New Dylan Thomas Artwork For Swansea

Photo courtesy of LOCWS / David Long

Photo courtesy of LOCWS / David Long

As part of the Art Across The City project funded by Swansea’s public art charity LOCWS International, David Long‘s artwork “To Begin At The Beginning” has been erected close to the Dylan Thomas Centre.

Pete Fowler’s “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Octopus” mural was unveiled last month in Swansea High Street.

Death of Sybil Christopher, first wife of Richard Burton

Actress Sybil Christopher who was the first wife of Richard Burton and who stared alongside him in the classic 1954 BBC production of “Under Milk Wood” has died at the age of 83. She played sweetshop-keeper Myfanwy Price in the BBC radio recording.

Fight To Save Ship That Brought Dylan Thomas Home

The ship that brought Dylan Thomas’s body back to Wales following his death in New York in 1953 is in urgent need of funds to help preserve it. Saved from the scrapyard last year, the SS United States is currently moored in Philadelphia, and a group has been formed to raise funds to help keep it afloat.

Dylan Thomas Gem On Youtube

Recently uploaded to youtube is this historic recording of the “Poetry and The Film” Symposium held at Cinema 16 in New York, just days before Dylan’s death in 1953. Dylan’s contributions start around 28 minutes in. More information here.

Cwmdonkin Park Tearoom To Re-Open 

The tearoom in Cwmdonkin Park, the former stamping ground of the young Dylan Thomas, are to re-open and will have a nostalgic style reminiscent of Swansea’s Kardomah Cafe frequented by Dylan and his friends in the 1930s. The park is currently undergoing a substantial refurbishment ahead of the 2014 Dylan Thomas centenary.

Poet’s Former Home For Sale

Majoda, the New Quay bungalow that was home to Dylan Thomas and his family during the second world war, is currently on the market for £450,000. Extensively rebuilt in recent years, the bungalow was the scene of the infamous 1944 shooting that was depicted in the 2008 film “Edge of Love” starring Matthew Rhys, Keira Knightley, and Sienna Miller.

Dylan Thomas Busts On Sale


The company that makes the trophy awarded to the winners of the Dylan Thomas Prize are now producing plaster replicas of the bust. Based on the original design of sculptor Jeremy Cooper, the replicas are manufactured by Blackmark of Cardiff.

Forthcoming Events

Laugharne Festival 

The annual festival weekend in the town that was the last home of Dylan Thomas takes place from the 5th-7th April. At this year’s festival, cartoonist and writer Martin Rowson will be drawing a cartoon of Dylan Thomas on the grass bank outside Laugharne Castle. On April 6th Sir Peter Blake will be discussing his love for Dylan Thomas and his ongoing project to illustrate scenes from Under Milk Wood.

Cartoon by Martin Rowson

Cartoon by Martin Rowson

Laugharne will also be hosting a food festival on the same weekend, and Martin Rowson has produced a cartoon of Dylan and Caitlin to promote the event.

Dylan’s Holiday Memories at the Boathouse

Actor Mark Montinaro will be performing “Holiday Memory” and “The Outing” by Dylan Thomas, at the Boathouse, Laugharne. April 4th, 6th & 11th.

Gower Walking Festival

The year’s Gower Walking Festival includes two Dylan Thomas themed walks. Return Journey, on 9th June, will be led by the Lighthouse Theatre’s Adrian Metcalfe, and will re-create Dylan’s walk through the post-Blitz Swansea that inspired his famous radio broadcast. On 14th June an exploration of Dylan’s home suburb of Uplands will include a visit to his birthplace in Cwmdonkin Drive.

Crowd-funded Production of Sidney Michael’s play “Dylan”

Photo by Corey Torpie

Photo by Corey Torpie

A  production of Sidney Michael’s play “Dylan” about the final years of Dylan Thomas is to be staged at the Vorhees Theatre,  Brooklyn, New York, 29th April – 11th May. The play is based on John Malcolm Brinnin’s book “Dylan Thomas in America”, and Caitlin Thomas’s book “Leftover Time To Kill”.  Funding is being sort to help stage the production, more information can be found here.

Literature Wales – Cross the Taf Estuary With Dylan Thomas 

One of this year’s series of  literary tourism events arranged by Literature Wales is an innovative canoe trip across the Taf estuary from Laugharne in the company of Dylan experts Dr John Goodby and Jeff Towns. This will be followed by an evening of Dylan Thomas, jazz, and New York food. The event takes place on 20th July, the brochure can be downloaded here.

Dylan Thomas Festival

The annual Dylan Thomas Festival takes place in Swansea from 27th October to November 9th. This year’s festival will include the launch of a new Dylan Thomas centenary commission by Gillian Clarke, a preview of Fluellen Theatre‘s production of Dylan’s “Rebecca’s Daughters”, and an evening of reading from Dylan’s work in his old local, The Uplands Tavern.

Under Milk Wood – Film – Screening

Further screening of Andrew Sinclair’s 1972 big screen version of Under Milk Wood.

Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, Flintshire, May 23rd

Rodney Bewes “A Boy Growing Up”


Former Likely Lad, Rodney Bewes, is touring his Dylan Thomas inspired one man show “A Boy Growing Up” from February. The show features a number of Thomas’s short stories.

05.4.2103 Victoria Hall, Settle
06.4.2013 Georgian Theatre, Richmond
13.4.2013 Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven
28.4.2013 River House Barn, Walton on Thames

Under Milk Wood

A number of productions of Dylan Thomas’s classic play for voices are planned.

Canberra Repertory Theatre, Australia 12th April – 27th April
Bridgend College, Sony Theatre, Bridgend April 17th
Westacre Theatre, Norfolk 4th May
Frome Festival, Somerset 13th July

John Abbott College Dept of Professional Theatre of Montreal, Canada, are staging a production of Under Milk Wood at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. You can follow their exploits on twitter.

Do Not Go Gentle Festival

The festival based in Dylan Thomas’s home suburb of Uplands, Swansea, that launched in 2012, returns in 2013, 1st-3rd November.

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