Dylan Thomas: The Wordsmith of South Wales
“Do not go gentle into that good night,” Under Milk Wood, “And death shall have no dominion;” these are some of the famous works crafted by the great writer that was Dylan Thomas. Born in Swansea in 1914, he is arguably one of the region’s most well-known residents and his legacy and creativity continues to inspire the literary world to this day. With this year celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth, here are some of the best ways to enjoy Thomas’ works near to your family cottage holiday in Pembrokeshire.
5 Cwmdonkin Drive
To begin at the beginning. Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea back in 1914, spending the first 23 years of his life at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive before moving on to bless the world with his talents. Today the house has been lovingly restored so that visitors can discover the most famous house in Welsh literature in all its glory. The interior of the home stands exactly as it would have done in 1914, with Thomas’ bedroom standing among the most popular rooms for visitors to explore. To learn more and start planning your visit, click here to visit the official website.
Dylan Thomas Boathouse
To create timeless poems Thomas needed the perfect setting, with the Dylan Thomas Boathouse in Laugharne serving as the perfect sanctuary for his creative mind to flow. Now lovingly preserved as a museum, The Boathouse is one of the most famous attractions in the region and is hugely popular with fans of his works. When we got in touch with the Boathouse, here are a few reasons why they think the site is so popular:
“A visit to the iconic Dylan Thomas Boathouse and Writing Shed provides a chance to see the place which inspired some of Dylan Thomas’ best loved work, Poem in October (which inspired the creation of Dylan’s Birthday Walk), Over Sir John’s Hill and his play for voices, Under Milkwood.
Apart from the connection to Thomas’ life and work, there are also stunning views across the estuary which is teeming with wildlife, and which will appeal to everyone with an eye for beauty and nature. It is a unique spot, unspoilt and timeless, and to quote Dylan, “there is nowhere like it anywhere at all.”
Dylan Thomas Centre
Going back to Swansea is the Dylan Thomas Centre, commemorating his life through a permanent exhibition. This exhibition is currently being updated and will reopen on 27 October, with funding of over £935,000 meaning they are able to expand the exhibition to offer a greater insight into his incredible works.
Under Milkwood Revisited
The effect which South Wales had on the life of Dylan Thomas is evident through his wealth of works, the book Under Milk Wood Revisited captures all the inspirational sights through Dylan’s work in hardback form. Published only in September, it means that you can revisit the region’s famous sights long after returning from your Powells holiday. When we spoke to Tony Earnshaw – who wrote the book alongside Mark Davis, and here’s why he thinks the book is a must-buy for any Thomas fan:
“Under Milk Wood Revisited is the ultimate guide to the landscape that inspired Dylan Thomas. It covers his birthplace in Swansea, the park that fired his imagination, nearby Tenby and Laugharne, where he was to spend his last days. Iconic places such as his writing shed are captured in ethereal photographs by Mark Davis, my partner on the book. In addition there are photographs of Port Talbot and Taibach, where Richard Burton grew up. Burton and Thomas were good friends in the late '40s and early '50s and Burton was as much forged by the world and landscape of the Welsh valleys as he was by Thomas' words.
The most exclusive element is a section on the 1972 film of Under Milk Wood with an array of never-before-seen behind-the-scenes photographs of Burton, Peter O'Toole and Elizabeth Taylor on location in Fishguard.”
Dylan Thomas Dylathon
If you are familiar with the multitude of works by Dylan Thomas and are keen to enjoy them in performance, The Dylathon is a true once-in-a-lifetime event. Taking place from 26 until 27 October at the Swansea Grand Theatre, it offers a non-stop 36-hour reading of the poems, short stories, letters, broadcasts and film scripts, including a performance of the acclaimed Under Milk Wood by the writer and poet.
Directed by Olivier Award winning stage director Michael Bogdanov, it will offer twelve chapters of this works, each lasting three hours. His works will be brought to the audience through a number of famous faces, including Ian McKellen, Jonathan Pryce, Katherine Jenkins and Robert Peston. Fully devised and curated, it brings more than 200 individual pieces of material read by a variety of voices including the aforementioned famous faces.
Tickets are still available for the 36-hour, 12-hour and three-hour performances, those interested are being urged to confirm their seats right away by calling the box office on 01792 475 715. Alternatively, seats for the three-hour performances can be purchased through the event’s official website.
Dylan Thomas Theatre
For a great day out during your cottage holiday in Tenby, why not head over to the Dylan Thomas Theatre? Swansea’s only waterside theatre, it has served as the home of the Swansea Little Theatre for 35 years. As well as offering exhibits dedicated to the poet, it regularly puts on productions and performances based on is works, such as ‘The Poet the Hunchback and the Boy’ which was inspired by Dylan’s work ‘Hunchback in the Park’.
Image Credits: Dylan Thomas Boathouse, Dylathon, Les Haines, John Levin (Flickr.com)
This content was written by Ben Edwards. Please feel free to visit my Google+ profile to read more stories.