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Culture

Under Milk Wood revisited

31 Aug 2023 4 minute read
NYTW Under Milk Wood rehearsals. Photo: Kirsten Mcternan

Under Milk Wood is one of poet Dylan Thomas’ most enduring creations, a play for voices set in the fictional town of Llareggub.

National Youth Theatre of Wales is the latest company to revisit this much beloved text and place, promising a refreshingly original production for the young voices of Wales as they venture Under Milk Wood /Dan y Wenallt.

National Youth Theatre of Wales (NYTW) is now presenting a new, bilingual stage adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ Under MilkWood / Dan y Wenallt, from 31 August – 2 September at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff.

It is directed by Emma Baggott and adapted by Mari Izzard, based on Thomas’ original play for voices and the Welsh translation by T James Jones.

Recording studio

Set in a Cardiff recording studio, the lyrical world of Thomas’ Llareggub combines with the contemporary Wales of today in a fusion of English and Welsh, alive with music, microphones and loop pedals. The production bringstogether a cast of seriously talented young performers aged 16 – 22 from across Wales who join an illustrious roll-call of previous members including Michael Sheen, Matthew Rhys, Ruth Jones, Rakie Ayola and Morfydd Clarke.

“Our version of Under Milk Wood has been created for the voices of the young people who live, work and study in Wales.” said Director Emma Baggott. “The production is a reaction to the notion of tradition, and the weight that this beautiful text carries across time, since its first performance seventy years ago in 1953. Our concept leans into “a play for voices”, with a framing device that locates the action in a recording studio in 2023. We meet the characters moments before a live broadcast of Under Milk Wood to a live studio audience.”

Privilege

“It is an immense privilege to bring Dylan Thomas’ original play for voices together with T James Jones’ Welsh language version that reflects the voices and make-up of our young members from across Wales,” said Megan Childs, Producer of NYTW.

“The brilliant creative team from Wales and beyond, under the stewardship of director Emma Baggott, includes associate director Alice Eklund, set and costume design by Elin Steele and video design by Ryan Samuel Davies, bringing creative captioning in Welsh and English into the heart of the staging. The whole creative team have been an incredible inspiration to our young performers as they develop their creative skills and experience a truly exceptional opportunity to shine on stage.”

NYTW Under Milk Wood rehearsals Photo: Kirsten Mcternan

Wales-wide castNYTW works with partners and industry professionals to offer world-class training and performance opportunities for Wales’ most talented young people. The cast and company for the latest show Is drawn from all parts of Wales and features the talents of Alika Rees (Carmarthenshire); Alys Jones (Cardiff); Andrea Jiménez (Ceredigion); Anesha Hamood (Cardiff); Caitlin Taylor (Vale of Glamorgan); Dafydd Evans (Powys); Dyddgu Jones (Gwynedd); Dylan John (Neath Port Talbot);Grace Maltman (Cardiff); Hafwen Hibbard (Cardiff); Heather Hawkins (Rhondda Cynon Taf); Holly Mayhew (Pembrokeshire); Isabella Colby Brown (Cardiff); Iza Jem (Gwynedd); Kellie-Gwen Morgan (Carmarthenshire); Lleucu Evans (Cardiff); Meg Gillard (Rhondda Cynon Taf); Mia Morgan (Cardiff); Nel Williams (Flintshire); Rhiannydd Andrews (Cardiff) and Zachary Beasley (Ceredigion).

Ambitions

For nearly 50 years this flagship for youth theatre in Wales has nurtured the talent and ambition of thousands of young people by delivering diverse and risk-taking performances alongside training programmes that build pathways into the creative industries.

NYTW is proud of its illustrious roll-call of previous members who have gone on to excel as performers, writers anddirectors including Michael Sheen, Matthew Rhys, Ruth Jones, Rakie Ayola and Caroline Sheen

In recent years, NYTW’s work has grown to include Professional Pathways, a new extended training anddevelopment programme.

NYTW Under Milk Wood rehearsals
Photo: Kirsten Mcternan

In partnership with Theatr Clwyd, and working with other leading Welsh theatre companies, each nine-month programme gives young people aged a unique opportunity to develop their performance, backstage and theatre making skills, through exclusive access to the rehearsal, production and performance processes of professional theatre companies working in Wales.

Tickets for Under Milk Wood / Dan y Wenallt are now on sale. For more information, please visit shermantheatre.co.uk.

The performance on Thursday 31 August will include BSL interpretation and audio description. All performances will be captioned in Welsh and English

Running time: Approximately 2 hours including one interval.


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Philip Davies
Philip Davies
18 days ago

Wonderful to hear that this genuine piece of Welshness is being rehabilitated. It has too often been dismissed as not authentically Welsh, yet the entire sensibility of the language and action is an authentic spiritual melding of our two tongues. The once welcomed ‘Anglo-Welsh’ tradition proposed and upheld by the late Raymond Garlick and the journal ‘Dock Leaves’ today seems suspect in some circles, which are severely allergic to any suggestion that English is the other native language of modern Wales. Fortunately, Dylan’s inspired patois remains persuasive irrespective of any attempt at erecting such internal borders. T James Jones’ Welsh… Read more »

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
17 days ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

I would be genuinely curious to read the views of my anonymous detractor. I feel we are being deprived of an opportunity to learn something which might be generally illuminating on the subject of this article. This is a forum, after all – not a sort of Stasi system of secret denunciation!

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
17 days ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

Ok I will take a guess at what your detractors are saying. It’s Westminster’s fault?

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