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Festival set to mark centenary of Dylan Thomas's birth

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

By nino williams

  • Dylan Thomas

  • Dylan Thomas’s grand-daughter Hannah Ellis at the launch with Tourism Minister Edwina Hart and deputy leader of Swansea Council Christine Richards.

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A YEAR-LONG festival is to be held to celebrate the centenary of Dylan Thomas's birth.

Dylan Thomas 100 will take place in 2014 and will see a series of events across Wales and the world in honour of the iconic Welsh poet, including theatre performances, visual arts, comedy, television, film and exhibitions.

And the settings that inspired Dylan the most, from his hometown Swansea to the heron-priested shores of Laugharne and countryside of Ceredigion, will be the main focus for the festival.

Hannah Ellis, Dylan's granddaughter and patron of the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival, said: "By encouraging a wide range of high-profile, innovative and fun events, Dylan Thomas 100 will be a catalyst for revitalising interest in my grandfather's work.

"I hope that it will introduce his wide range of writings to new audiences through new television and radio productions, film projects, book publications, academic initiatives, theatre productions, music and the arts, and a range of new internet-based initiatives."

The event has been made possible thanks to funding from the Welsh Government and other partners.

Jeff Towns, owner of Swansea's Dylan Thomas bookstore and president of the Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain, said: "2014 was always going to be an interesting year, but it has been lifted to another level with the involvement of the Welsh Government, because of the level of funding available.

"Artists in all sorts of media have always responded to his work, from John Cale, who has put his poems to music, to Sir Peter Blake, who has engaged with work such as Under Milk Wood for many years.

"You only have to look at last week's inaugural Do Not Go Gentle festival in the Uplands, which went very well, to see how people respond.

"And the festival will provide a chance for a lot of young people with interesting and unusual ideas to get involved."

Plans to mark the centenary of Dylan's birth have been ongoing for some time, and details of the festival long anticipated.

Delighted

Announcing Dylan Thomas 100, Wales Business and Tourism Minister Edwina Hart said: "Dylan Thomas is one of the literary giants of the last century.

"I am delighted to announce this extensive year-long programme of events to celebrate the life and work of this great poet, 100 years since his birth, here in Swansea.

"These events will help contribute to a fitting legacy for Dylan's life and work, but I also hope they will resurrect a passion for literature and inspire people of all ages to connect more actively with our rich cultural heritage.

"In the spirit of Dylan, it is an opportunity to showcase Wales as a land of artistic excellence to an international audience and raise further the iconic status of this great literary figure."

The festival is being supported by local authorities — Swansea, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion councils.

David Alston, arts director with the Arts Council of Wales, said: "This festival is being shaped from a wealth of creative ideas and responses to Dylan Thomas's work from some of our leading cultural players.

"We are focusing on new and inspiring approaches to discovering and rediscovering the work and the places connected to that work. I think this will have appeal in Wales and draw people from beyond Wales to some fantastic experiences of the country and its culture."

Swansea West AM Julie James said the festival would help to shine a light on Dylan's relationship with his home town.

She said: "I am delighted that everyone's hard work has paid off and Dylan Thomas will be getting a fitting celebration on the centenary of his birth. "Dylan is an internationally renowned figure who remains a much-loved son of Swansea.

"I am pleased that the Welsh Government and the Arts Council of Wales have ensured that Dylan's enduring legacy will be rightly celebrated in the city of his birth."

Year long events planned.

FULL details of the Dylan Thomas 100 have yet to be revealed, but some events have been announced.

In-Wales events include a Wales-wide theatre production tour of one of Dylan’s most favourite stories, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, and new productions of some of Dylan’s great works, including Under Milk Wood.

A series of activities will also be centred around the iconic Boathouse in Laugharne, where Dylan wrote much of his later work, including a literary public tour. A major new exhibition is also planned at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.

In Swansea, a year-long Festival of Music and Arts is planned, based on the poet’s works.

And it will include a world premiere by composer Karl Jenkins.

Bangor University will stage a mini-festival of five concerts, demonstrating musical responses to the works of Dylan Thomas.

And Literature Wales has organised a Dylan Odyssey, offering a series of literary public tours in Wales and the US, ranging from the boutique to shabby chic. Participants will be able to actively experience for themselves the places and themes which inspired and forged Dylan’s creative writing.

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