Welcome to the latest monthly round up of news and events relating to the poet Dylan Thomas.
Swansea Artist Documents Life of Dylan Thomas
Swansea artist Jeff Phillips has produced a series of 30 artworks documenting the life and times of Dylan Thomas. The artworks have been created using a variety of mediums including pen and ink, watercolours, and oils, and portray Dylan at different stages in his life, and at locations that were significant to him. The works will be exhibited together for the first time during 2014.
Developing Dylan Web Site Launched
August 2013 saw the launch of the new website for the Developing Dylan / Dylanwad project. The project which has been developed by Literature Wales aims to use the work of Dylan Thomas to inspire education projects that will include workshops, competitions, and roadshows.
Dylan Thomas Society
The annual luncheon of the Dylan Thomas Society takes place at Sketty Hall, Swansea, on Dylan’s birthday, October 27th. The guest speaker this year will be singer-songwriter, DJ, and DT100 ambassador, Cerys Matthews. Non-members can enquire about tickets and further information via firstname.lastname@example.org
The society will also be taking part in the annual wreath laying at Dylan’s memorial in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey. This year’s event takes place on the 60th anniversary of Dylan’s death on November 9th.
Dylan Thomas Prize 2014 – Long List Announced
The long list for the 2014 Dylan Thomas prize has been announced, and for the first time includes a playwright. The prize, launched in 2006, is awarded annually to a writer under the age of 30.
Dylan’s Words Welcome Visitors To Cardiff Airport
A passenger walkway at Cardiff Airport has been transformed by a new art installation that fuses words from Dylan Thomas’ poem “Being But Men” with the title of the Super Fury Animals song “Pan Ddaw’r Wawr” (When Dawn Breaks). The artwork features the words “After the soft ascent, when dawn breaks” in English and Welsh, and has been created by artist S Mark Gubb as part of the Welsh Government overhaul of the airport, commissioned by Chapter Arts of Cardiff.
Guided Tours of Dylan’s Swansea
The first of a series of performance based guided tours of Dylan Thomas’ Swansea took place during August. Starting from the Dylan Thomas Centre and staged by the Fluellen Theatre Company, the tours visited sites of significance in the life and work of Thomas. The tours are expected to run again during 2014.
US Tourism Boost from Washington Post Article
A travel feature “Discovering Dylan Thomas’s Wales” by Michael Shapiro appeared in the prestigious US daily newspaper, the Washington Post, providing a useful boost to hopes that the centenary celebrations will increase international tourism to Wales.
Trinity St David – University of Wales
Trinity St David have detailed extensive plans to participate in the Dylan Thomas centenary. Plans include international awards, Dylan Thomas Scholars, an international summer school organised by poet Dr Menna Elfyn, and involvement in numerous centenary events.
MP for Swansea West, Geraint Davies, is arranging a reception at the Houses of Parliament to help promote the Dylan Thomas centenary. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller is expected to speak at the October 22nd event, as well as the Secretary of State for Wales David Jones and others.
Book launch – “Dylan Thomas : The Pubs”
The launch of the new title by Dylan Thomas Society chairman Jeff Towns, published by Y Lolfa, will take place at Swansea Museum on October 24th at 6.30pm.
The title will also receive a West Wales launch at Brown’s Hotel, Laugharne, October 31st, at 7pm.
Book Launch – “Vernon Watkins on Dylan Thomas and Other Poets and Poetry”
The launch of the new volume of Vernon Watkins’ unpublished prose, selected and edited by Gwen Watkins and Jeff Towns, and published by Parthian, takes place at Norton House Hotel, Mumbles, October 26th at 2pm.
New Critical Study Published
The new critical study of the poetry of Dylan Thomas by Professor John Goodby of Swansea University has now been published by Liverpool University Press. “The Poetry of Dylan Thomas : Under The Spelling Wall” is the first new major study of Thomas’ poetry for many years, and is described as “the first book length engagement with Thomas’s work that utilises contemporary critical theory”.
The book will receive a launch during the Dylan Thomas Festival, Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, November 4th 7pm.
Dylan’s Places – No. 1 – Mrs Hole’s Dame School
A new regular monthly feature sees us looking at a location that had significance in the life and work of Dylan Thomas.
Our first of “Dylan’s places” is Mrs Hole’s Dame School in Mirador Crescent, Uplands, Swansea.
At the age of 7 Dylan Thomas started his school career at the small fee-paying school just a short walk away from his home in Cwmdonkin Drive. Mrs Isabel Hole ran the school from her home at 22 Mirador Crescent, where, assisted by her daughter and a maid she taught around 50 children aged from 7 to 11. The school prepared children for grammar school and girls’ high school, and here Dylan read poetry aloud and acted in school entertainments. He left for the grammar school in September 1925 and was later to recall his time at Mrs Hole’s in his radio broadcast “Reminiscences of Childhood”.
So I remember that never was there such a dame-school as ours : so firm and kind and smelling of galoshes, with the sweet and fumbled music of the piano-lessons drifting down from upstairs to the lonely schoolroom where only the sometimes tearful wicked sat over undone sums or to repent a little crime, the pulling of a girl’s hair during geography, the sly shin-kick under the table during prayers.
Dylan’s childhood friend Evelyn Burman Jones later told Dylan’s biographer Paul Ferris, that “Dylan was teacher’s pet all right. He wore a lot of clothes, thick jerseys even in summer, because his mother insisted…. He always had a pain in his stomach if there was anything he didn’t want to do, and ended up sitting on teacher’s lap”.
Laugharne Boathouse Events
Amongst the regular events arranged at the Boathouse in Laugharne are these Dylan themed happenings.
November 9th – Autumn Talk – Dylan Remembered with George Tremlett (Dylan biographer & owner of Corran Books in Laugharne)
November 24th – Autumn Talk – Laugharne in the 50’s, Dylan’s Laugharne with John Bradshaw and Chips Jenkins
December 1st, 8th, & 15th – Christmas At The Dylan Thomas Boathouse, with a performance of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Mark Montinaro.
National Poetry Day – Poet Menna Elfyn will organise an evening of Dylan Thomas poetry at the Boathouse on October 3rd.
Dylan Thomas Festival
The annual Dylan Thomas Festival takes place in Swansea from 27th October to November 9th.
This year’s festival will include –
Launch of a new Dylan Thomas centenary commission by Gillian Clarke
A preview of Fluellen Theatre‘s production of Dylan’s “Rebecca’s Daughters”
An evening of readings from Dylan’s work in his old local, The Uplands Tavern
Professor John Goodby discussing his new critical study of Dylan’s poetry (November 4th, 7pm)
“Wordy Shapes Of Women”, a night in which burlesque collides with Dylan’s poetry
Carol Anne Duffy and Gillian Clarke at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, December 13th. Readings from National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, and Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Both are patrons of the Dylan Thomas centenary.
Under Milk Wood
A number of productions of Dylan Thomas’s classic play for voices are planned.
Theatre de Poche, Montparnasse, Paris, September 10th – December 8th
Finn-Brit Players, Fredrikinkatu, Helsinki, Finland, September 27th
Bloomsbury Festival, London Welsh Centre, London, October 19th
Wheatsheaf, Fitzrovia, London 8th-9th November – A production on the 60th anniversary of Dylan’s death at the public house where he met Caitlin in 1936.
St Alban’s Players. St Alban’s Church Hall, November 21st-23rd
Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold, February 6th – March 8th. Directed by Terry Hands.
New Theatre, Cardiff, March 11th-15th. Directed by Terry Hands.
During 2014 a Welsh jazz quartet will be performing Stan Tracey’s classic jazz suite Under Milk Wood. More information here.
Grand Park Opening 7th September – Green Fuse Festival, Celebrating the restoration of the park.
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.
London Welsh Literature Festival
The inaugural London Welsh Literature Festival takes place at the London Welsh Centre, Grays Inn Road, October 3rd-5th 2013. On October 5th the festival will be hosting an event with Dylan’s granddaughter and patron of DT100 Hannah Ellis and Welsh poet and novelist Owen Sheers that will preview the Dylan Thomas 2014 centenary celebrations. Professor John Goodby of Swansea University will discuss his new critical study of Dylan’s poetry, and host a talk “Everything You Wanted To Know About Dylan Thomas But Were Afraid To Ask”.
The London Welsh Centre will also be hosting events for the Bloomsbury Festival on October 19th. This will include a further preview of the Dylan Thomas 2014 centenary celebrations, a seminar and panel discussion on the work of Dylan Thomas, and a community drama group performance of Under Milk Wood.
Sir Peter Blake Exhibition, Cardiff
The curtain raiser for next year’s centenary celebrations. Sir Peter Blake’s 25-year project to illustrate scenes from Under Milk Wood, “Llareggub”, will be exhibited at the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, from November 23rd 2013 until March 16th 2014.
The following special events will take place during the exhibition.
December 4 Special Evening Art Lecture: In Conversation with Peter Blake
December 6 Lunchtime Talk: An Introduction to Llareggub – Peter Blake illustrates Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood
February 14 Lunchtime Talk: An Introduction to Llareggub – Peter Blake illustrates Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood
February 21 Lunchtime Talk: An Introduction to Llareggub – Peter Blake illustrates Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood
Sir Peter Blake will also be talking about his Under Milk Wood project at the Bath Autumn Book Festival, November 26th 2013.
Art Across The City
Art Across The City, the Swansea based public arts programme delivered by LOCWS International, will be running a Dylan Thomas 100 exhibition from September 1st 2013 to July 2nd 2014. This will feature new commissions as well as existing works such as Dylan’s Pencil in Cwmdonkin Park, and Portrait of the Artist As a Young Octopus in Swansea High Street.
Swansea’s Lighthouse Theatre have a number of Dylan Thomas related productions planned.
December 2nd, Reminiscences of Childhood, Dylan Thomas Theatre
December 6th, A Child’s Christmas, St. Jerome’s Church, Llangwm
December 12th A Child’s Christmas, Glenalla Civic Hall, Llanelli
December 13th A Child’s Christmas, Aberangell Village Hall
March 14th Reminiscences of Childhood, Carmarthenshire Arts Club
May 14th Reminsicences of Childhood, Radyr and Morganstown Village Hall
A Child’s Christmas In Wales
Productions of Dylan’s seasonal classic include
Princeton Singers, Trinity Church, Princeton, New Jersey, December 13th
Lantern Theater, Philadelphia, December 5th – January 5th – The world premiere of a new adaptation with puppetry.
Fluellen Theatre, Dylan Thomas Centre, December 12th, “Christmas In Wales“, a celebration, in words and music, of Christmases past and present, the second half of which is an adaptation of A Child’s Christmas In Wales, with Delyth Jenkins on harp.
A touring production of A Child’s Christmas In Wales adapted by Michael Bogdanov and presented by the Wales Theatre Company and the Swansea Grand Theatre will be touring theatres across Wales from October 29th.