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New play about the Welsh Women’s Peace campaign following First World War set to tour Wales

06 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Annie Hughes-Griffiths, or Annie Cwrt Mawr.

A new play by Siwan Jones about the Welsh Women’s Peace campaign following the First World War will be launched at the National Library of Wales on October 11th.

Directed by Janet Aethwy, ‘Annie Cwrt Mawr’, a one-woman play starring Anni Dafydd, will travel to theatres, halls and chapels across Wales.

One hundred years ago, with the horrors of the First World War still fresh in their minds, a whole generation of women in Wales rose up in opposition to any further conflict.

They organised an innovative campaign to try to secure world peace. A petition was signed by 390,296 women, through the Welsh Union of the League of Nations.

One of the leaders of the campaign was Annie Hughes-Griffiths, or Annie Cwrt Mawr (the name of her home in Llangeitho), who led a delegation of women from Wales to present the petition to American women.

The petition travelled to different states throughout America, as well as being presented to the President in Washington. The aim was to call on America to join and lead the new League of Nations, demanding world peace.

Reputed to be 7 miles long, the petition was kept at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, until it returned to its new permanent home at the National Library of Wales earlier this year.

Amazed

Writer Siwan Jones said: “When I heard the story on BBC Radio Cymru one morning, I was amazed at the story and what they did in 1923.

“Amazed at the interesting and colourful women who led the delegation to America. Amazed at the welcome they received there. Amazed that we don’t know the story!”

The tour is a partnership between drama company Mewn Cymriad and the National Library of Wales.

Rhian Gibson, the Library’s Director of Engagement, Partnerships and Communication said:

“It is the Library’s privilege to welcome this extraordinary petition into our collection after exactly one hundred years in the United States.

“We are also very proud to be able to collaborate with Mewn Cymeriad to stage a unique performance drawing attention to the achievement of these Welsh women.

“The chest and petition are currently on display in the Library and this tour coincides with our work to digitise the petition, which will ensure that everyone has access to it in the months to come.”

Powerful

The director of Mewn Cymeriad, Eleri Twynog, said: “I love discovering new stories that are part of our history, and here’s one incredible story for you!

“So many Welsh women, almost 400,000 in total, are part of the extraordinary story of Annie Cwrt Mawr, and that is why it is important for us, in partnership with the National Library, to be able to tell the story in the form of a powerful drama about idealism, passion and hope.”

Tickets available from the Mewn Cymeriad website – https://www.mewncymeriad.cymru

You can read more about the history of the Petition on the National Library of Wales website – https://www.llyfrgell.cymru/deisebheddwch

Tour details:

October 11 – National Library of Wales
October 12 – National Library of Wales (English performance)
October 13 – Cardigan Castle
October 18 – Yr Egin, Carmarthen
October 24 – Theatr Fach Llangefni
October 25 – Theatr Derek Williams, Bala
October 26 – Pencae Chapel, Pencaenewydd
October 27 – Theatr Seilo, Caernarfon
October 31 – Capel y Nant, Clydach
November 1 – The Temple of Peace, Cardiff
November 2 – The Temple of Peace, Cardiff (English performance)
November 4 – Capel Mynydd Seion, Newport
November 7 – Theatr Felinfach
November 9 – Theatr Twm o’r Nant, Denbigh
November 10 – Y Stiwt, Rhosllannerchrugog
November 16 – Theatr Soar, Merthyr Tydfil
November 17 – Neuadd y Cynradd, Bro Preseli, Crymych


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Ann
Ann
7 months ago

Looking forward to seeing this, it’s a great story and even greater achievement by our grandmothers and great grandmothers!
I felt priivileged to see the chest in Aberystwyth recently!

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