Welcome to the latest monthly round up of news and events relating to the poet Dylan Thomas.
Literature Wales have announced their Dylan Odyssey series of tours that will take place throughout next year’s centenary. The tours will visit places associated with Dylan Thomas including Swansea, Laugharne, Cardiff, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Oxford, London, and New York, and will be led by a series of experts and performers including John Goodby, Jeff Towns, Hannah Ellis, George Tremlett, Guy Masterson, Gillian Clarke, Owen Sheers, Andrew Davies, Andrew Lycett, Adrian Metcalfe, Helen Griffin, and Griff Rhys Jones.
Dylan’s birthday on October 27th was marked by the launch of #DylanDay, a collaborative online celebration of Dylan’s work devised by the DT100 team. Anyone with access to a smart phone and the video application Vine could request a line of Dylan’s poetry to record. The resulting clips were edited together by the DT100 team. Amongst those who took part were patron of the centenary Hannah Ellis, Professor John Goodby, rock singer Tim Burgess, author Neil Gaiman, and members of the Coronation Street cast.
The completed poems –
And Death Shall Have No Dominion
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Love In The Asylum
Poem On His Birthday
A reception has been held at the House of Commons to promote the start of the Dylan Thomas centenary. The reception was arranged by Swansea West MP Geraint Davies and featured performances by the London Welsh choir and the Prince of Wales’ harpist Hannah Stone. Professor John Goodby launched his new critical study, The Poetry of Dylan Thomas : Under The Spelling Wall. and read extracts from the book. Politicians from across the political spectrum were present along with Dylan’s granddaughter Hannah Ellis, actor and comedian Griff Rhys Jones, and other figures from the arts in Wales.
Dylan Thomas Society Luncheon
The annual luncheon of the Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain took place at Sketty Hall, Swansea, on October 27th, the 99th anniversary of Dylan’s birth. A packed room enjoyed guest speaker Cerys Matthews’ tribute to Dylan who she called “a woodcarver of words”. Society president Hannah Ellis, and Chairman Jeff Towns also spoke at the event.
Cerys Matthews later gave an interview to the Society’s Brian Roper for the New Welsh Review.
Dylan Thomas Centenary Conference
Swansea University have issued a call for papers for next year’s centenary conference, Dylan Unchained, which will run from September 3rd – 5th 2014.
Events organised by or associated with the conference will include the launch of the Complete Poems of Dylan Thomas edited by Professor John Goodby, the first live performance of David Britton’s radio play Chelsea Dreaming, live poetry readings, screenings, book launches, a literary tour, and the Dylan Thomas Centre exhibition, Keynote speakers will include Dr Leo Mellor (University of Cambridge), Professor Carol Watts (Birkbeck, University of London), and Professor John Wilkinson (University of Chicago).
October saw the launch of three new Dylan Thomas related books.
Dylan Thomas : The Pubs by Jeff Towns, published by Y Lolfa.
The Poetry of Dylan Thomas : Under The Spelling Wall by John Goodby, published by Liverpool University Press.
Vernon Watkins on Dylan Thomas and Other Poets & Poetry, Edited by Gwen Watkins & Jeff Towns, published by Parthian.
November sees the launch of Under Milk Wood illustrated by Sir Peter Blake. This highly anticipated edition will feature the results of Sir Peter’s 25-year project to illustrate scenes from Dylan’s play for voices. There will be a number of different editions available from Enitharmon Press.
92Y Poetry Center Exhibition
The 92nd Street Y Poetry Center in New York where Dylan Thomas took part in the first staged readings of Under Milk Wood in 1953 is staging an exhibition of photographs and ephemera to mark their 75th anniversary. The Love The Words exhibition features some rarely seen Dylan Thomas related material. The exhibition closes on November 25th, but material from the exhibition can be viewed online at http://www.92y.org/lovethewords
In The Papers
As international interest in the forthcoming centenary increases, articles about Dylan Thomas appeared in two major newspapers. Tracy McVeigh’s piece in The Guardian talked about Wales resurrecting Dylan’s reputation, and Stephen McClarence’s piece for Telegraph Travel went “on the trail of Wales’s most turbulent poet”.
Dylan’s birthday on October 27th was celebrated by Cerys Matthews on her weekly BBC 6 Music show when she talked Dylan Thomas with Chairman of the Dylan Thomas Society and Dylan expert, Jeff Towns. Their discussion was accompanied by music inspired by the work of Dylan Thomas. View the playlist here.
John Metcalf Interview
Composer John Metcalf gave Wales Arts Review an interview about his forthcoming Under Milk Wood opera. The opera will premiere at the Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea, April 3rd 2014, before touring around Wales.
A Few Words – Transcript
US based Dylan Thomas fan Jason Kirin has produced a transcript of Dylan’s brilliant and funny 1952 talk at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, A Few Words Of A Kind. Well worth reading (or even better, listening to) if you’re not familiar with it.
Owen Sheers Interview
Poet and writer Owen Sheers gave an interview to The Word Factory in which he mentions his forthcoming adaptation of Under Milk Wood and why he’ll “probably never be allowed back into Wales”.
John Goodby Interview
Swansea University’s Professor John Goodby, a leading authority on the works of Dylan Thomas, talked to us about his landmark new critical study, The Poetry of Dylan Thomas : Under The Spelling Wall.
Under Milk Wood – A New Big Screen Version?
Twin Town director Kevin Allen told the audience at a film screening at the Do Not Go Gentle Festival that he is in negotiations to make a new big screen version of Under Milk Wood. An exciting development to keep an eye on.
An October issue of The Lady Magazine included Under Milk Wood’s Polly Garter in their series of Great Literary Ladies.
You can keep up to date with life at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive on their relaunched facebook page. Lots of events and information.
Dylan Thomas Society
Annual Wreath Laying – The society will take 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.
Swansea Grand Theatre
In a new production, Dylan Thomas: the Clown in the Moon, Rhodri Miles, fresh from his success in ‘Burton’, takes on the part of Dylan Thomas, first in Swansea, then in London, Laugharne, and finally New York. Dylan’s early life become darker as he finds it more difficult to write, his marriage fails, and his health grows worse. Set to go on tour after an initial presentation at the Grand Theatre, Swansea, the play is written by Gwynne Edwards and directed by Gareth Armstrong.
Dylan Thomas: the Clown in the Moon, February 14th & 15th 2014, Grand Theatre, Swansea.
Tour dates can be found here.
The Colour of Saying
Musician Richard James and artist Anthony Shapland have created a short original film and music score exploring the vocal, lyrical, rhythmic and literary strands of Dylan Thomas’ west Wales world. The film will be screened at Chapter’s Experimentica Festival and will be followed by a conversation between the artists and Hannah Ellis, granddaughter of Dylan Thomas and Honourable Patron of the DT100 Festival. The film will tour in 2014.
The Colour of Saying, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, November 9th
Swansea Birthplace Events, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive
Amongst the regular events arranged at the birthplace in Swansea are these Dylan themed events.
November 9th – Dylan and Dylan Remembered. On the sixtieth anniversary of the Dylan’s death, The Buttonsville Trio take a musical look at the influence of Thomas on Zimmerman including some new original compositions. For a Fifties wake we will have suitable refreshments to help you enjoy.
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 – EVENT CANCELLED
December 1st, 8th, & 15th – Christmas At The Dylan Thomas Boathouse, with a performance of A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Mark Montinaro.
Dylan by Sidney Michaels
A production of Sidney Michaels’ play Dylan, about the last days of Dylan Thomas at the Red Theater, Chicago, November 23rd – December 22nd
Death Day Walking Tour
A walking tour of parts of London associated with Dylan Thomas, on the 60th anniversary of his death, November 9th.
Dylan Thomas Festival
The annual Dylan Thomas Festival continues until November 9th.
Dylan related events include –
Uplands Tavern: The Garage Players, A night of Dylan Thomas readings in Dylan’s former local, the Uplands Tavern, presented by Swansea ensemble, The Garage Players. It will include some of Dylan’s lesser known short stories and poems, plus two sketches, newly written by the Players, based on Dylan Thomas’ life and family. November 7th.
Wordy Shapes Of Women, a night in which burlesque collides with Dylan’s poetry, November 8th
Gillian Clarke launches A Christmas Box National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke, reads from and discusses her response to Dylan’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales. This new piece of work has been commissioned by the Dylan Thomas Centre for readings and performances throughout Dylan’s centenary year and beyond. November 9th.
Dylan Thomas Centre
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.
King Street Gallery Carmarthen
The King Street Gallery in Carmarthen will be holding an open art exhibition on the theme of Dylan Thomas. The exhibition runs throughout December with a preview on December 4th, and a poetry evening on December 13th.
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
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
Act II Studio Readers Theatre, Jorgenson Hall, Ryerson, Toronto, Canada, November 27th
Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, May 7th – May 17th 2014
Under Milk Wood Tour
The Theatre Clwyd production of Under Milk Wood directed by Terry Hands will go on tour,
More dates to follow.
During 2014 a Welsh jazz quartet will be performing Stan Tracey’s classic jazz suite Under Milk Wood. More information here.
Under Milk Wood – Film
There will be a showing of the 1972 big screen version of Under Milk Wood at the Pontardawe Film Club, November 6th. Director Andrew Sinclair will take part in a Q&A afterwards.
A screening will also take place at Coldingham Hall, Coldingham, Scottish Borders, November 9th. Accompanied by poetry readings.
Under Milk Wood – An Opera
An opera based on the original play for voices has been composed by John Metcalf. A world premiere production by Taliesin Arts Centre in co-production with Le Chien qui chante (Montreal) & Companion Star (New York) and in association with Welsh National Opera.
Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea, April 3rd-5th, 2014
On tour around Wales, April 8th-17 2014
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.
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 2014.
Cerys Matthews – December Tour
Hook, Line and Carol Singing – Cerys promises a festive feast of carols, stories and singalong classics. Likely to feature readings from Dylan’s A Child’s Christmas In Wales.
Blackfriars Arts Centre, Boston, December 3rd
The Courthouse, Otley, Decmber 4th
Georgian Theatre, Stockton, December 5th
Pocklington Arts Centre, York, December 6th
The Platform, Morecambe, December 7th
Pritchard-Jones Hall, Bangor, December 8th
Robert Ludlum Theatre, Derby, December 9th
Lyde Court, Hereford, December 10th
Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan, December 12th
Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan – 2nd Show, December 12th
Sherman Cymru, Cardiff, December 13th
Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead, December 14th
National Library of Wales
The National Library of Wales will stage a major multi-media exhibition of material relating to Dylan Thomas as part of the centenary celebrations. The exhibition, which will include Thomas manuscripts not exhibited before, will run from June 28th 2014 – December 20th 2014.
A public symposium will provide a finale to the exhibition , December 5th & 6th 2014. This will include a showing of Andrew Sinclair’s 1972 film adaption of Under Milk Wood and an interview between the director and Damian Walford Davies, as well as a number of guest speakers lecturing on a range of topics themed around the study of Dylan Thomas and his work.
If you are planning to stage a Dylan Thomas related event and would like to be listed on our blog then please let us know.