Wales Celebrates its Rock Star Poet During His Centenary Year
The centenary celebration of Dylan Thomas’s birth (born Swansea: October 27, 1914; died New York City: November 9, 1953) – Dylan Thomas 100 – continues in Wales with news of additional multi-disciplinary events being added to the festival’s creative mix.
An inspiration for poet-musicians like Bob Dylan and John Lennon and actors like Richard Burton, Dylan Thomas was a bona-fide rock-star before there was such a thing – sometimes playing to crowds of 1,000 – especially in the USA. Welsh actor Matthew Rhys (The Americans; Brothers and Sisters) who has channeled the poet (in the film Edge of Love) hopes you’ll join the festivities, “We’ve been celebrating Dylan Thomas in Wales for decades now. Come to Wales this year and celebrate his centenary.”
The eponymously named digital hub www.dylanthomas100.org makes it easy and fun to discover Dylan Thomas, explore places in Wales he is connected with, engage via social networking and locate festival events via a Timeline tab. The site americas.visitwales.com is a resource for planning your Dylan-themed trip to Wales and for downloading a full list of Dylan Thomas 100 events.
Here is a sampling of the inspired programs on tap during the second half of 2014:
- June 28–Dec 20: Dylan – National Library of Wales – www.dylanthomas100.org/llgc.org.uk:
A combination of dance, poetry and the visual arts will provide a fresh take on Dylan’s life and work. The event will enliven several of the Library’s gallery spaces in Aberystwyth and will include displays of personal items, providing a unique view of Dylan’s world.
- June 28: Dylanathon – 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea – www.dylanthomasbirthplace.com
Using a camera, smartphone or tablet, entrants are asked to use innovation over picture quality to interpret Dylan-related themes throughout the day.
- July 19: Dylan Thomas’ Swansea Hollywood: The Mummy and the Old Dark Horse – www.literaturewales.org
This Dylan odyssey visits three of Dylan’s childhood cinemas in Swansea with a talk in a secret space at a fourth. The evening culminates with Andrew Davies introducing a screening of his new film, “A Poet in New York,” starring Tom Hollander, followed by a Q & A session.
- Aug-Sept: Bedazzled – A Welshman in New York– www.ffotogallery.org
Celebrating Dylan’s special relationship with the USA, especially New York, a series of live events will “re-imagine” Dylan’s favorite watering hole – New York’s White Horse Tavern. Audiences will be transported to the bohemian world of 1950’s Greenwich Village where Dylan held court.
- Sept 5–Dec 24 Manuscripts Exhibition – Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea – www.dylanthomas.com
Infrequently exhibited items on loan from the University of Buffalo include poems, lists of rhyming words and black and white photographs.
- Oct 26-Oct 27 The Dylathon – The Swansea Grand Theatre – www.dylathon100.com
The Wales Theatre Company stages a non-stop 36 hour marathon reading of Dylan’s work. Performers include Sir Derek Jacobi, Jonathan Pryce, and many more acclaimed personalities together with schools, bands and choirs numbering in the hundreds.
- Oct 27-Nov 9 Dylan Thomas Festival – Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea – www.dylanthomas.com
This 17th annual eclectic celebration will feature talks, exhibitions, workshops and performances.
Dylan Thomas 100 and www.dylanthomas100.org highlights Welsh locations closely associated with the poet such as his birthplace, Swansea, his old writing shed, and his home -The Boathouse – in the town of Laugharne. And the program ranges across all artistic disciplines – from literature, to opera, theatre and painting. From high profile exhibits and live performances to community-based educational programs.
Business and Tourism Minister Edwina Hart said: “Dylan Thomas is one of the literary giants of the last century.” … “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.”