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'Dylan' The Exhibition

The author’s own hand-drawn map of Llareggub, a newly discovered poem composed during his teenage years and various unpublished personal letters, just some of the 150 or so original items on show at a brand new Dylan Thomas exhibition opening in Aberystwyth on Saturday 28 June.

‘Dylan’, a major new multi-media exhibition at the National Library of Wales, is an evocative journey into Dylan Thomas’ world of poetry, stories, plays and musings. It features photographs, archives, manuscripts, film and art from the Library’s vast Dylan Thomas collection, covering all aspects of his life and work. Most of the items on display are on show for the very first time and the exhibition also includes items on loan from the United States which have never been seen in Wales until now.

“This really is a must-see exhibition, inhabiting the Library’s 4 main gallery spaces over a six month period” according to Chief Executive and Librarian Aled Gruffydd Jones. “The sheer scale and range of the items on show is astonishing, but what makes this exhibition really special is the emphasis on rare original items, such as a series of letters which have remained hidden until now.

Using Dylan’s own words as an exhibition guide makes a visit to the exhibition a very personal one.  We’ve also created some striking and authentic interpretative items, including pulling a Dylan Poem at the Poets’ Pub and a Llareggub town model. It really is a thrilling celebration of the life and work of an iconic Welsh literary figure.

Crucially, it will also cement the Library’s reputation as the place where enthusiasts and researchers come, from far and wide, to study Dylan Thomas, both during and after the exhibition” he said.

 ‘Dylan’ is, however, far more than an exhibition. It encompasses a series of events and activities, including new artistic interpretations, theatre performances, dance and poetry workshops. The programme includes newly-commissioned contributions by the visual artists Peter Finnemore and Russell Roberts and by the dancer Eddie Ladd. Arad Goch Theatre Company and poets Damian Walford Davies and Rhian Edwards also feature.

The Library has also received generous support from the ScottishPower Foundation to facilitate an educational programme, extending the appeal of the exhibition and making it easily accessible to younger audiences.

Trustee and Executive Officer of the ScottishPower Foundation, Ann Loughrey said:
“This is an outstanding project and the Foundation is extremely pleased to support this show case exhibition celebrating the birth of Dylan Thomas. 

It ticked all the boxes for us as not only does this project give everyone the opportunity to see previously unseen material, but through exciting interactive, educational programmes, ‘Dylan’ will undoubtedly help a new generation of children learn about the life and work of this iconic Welsh literary figure.”  

‘Dylan’ runs from 28 June to 20 December at the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, with an official opening by Hannah Ellis, Dylan Thomas’s grand-daughter, at 2.30pm on Saturday 28 June. The exhibition is a key part of the Welsh Government and Arts Council Wales funded Dylan Thomas 100 project, the year-long celebration of the birth of Dylan Thomas.  The Dylan Thomas Pop Up Writing Shed will visit the Library during the last week in August and, during the final month of the exhibition, a Dylan Thomas Public Symposium will be held at the Library.

Notes to Editors

‘Dylan’ the main exhibition contains around 150 items, covering the main areas and aspects of Thomas’ life, including over 50 visual works and 50 manuscripts from the Library’s own collections. 90% of the original material on display is being exhibited for the very first time. ‘Oblique epern of paper’s cellar-fear’ is an obscure, unrecorded, poem believed to have been written between 1928 and 1932. 

Also included is Dylan Comes Home: A special exhibition of manuscripts and photographs on loan from The Poetry Collection of the University Libraries, University at Buffalo, New York. This loan is in partnership with the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea.

And Weak or Strong?  The Art of Dylan:  This area of the exhibition will feature artwork by Dylan, of Dylan and inspired by Dylan.

Ach y fi, Ach y fi: A Play for Vices Visual artists Peter Finnemore and Russell Roberts’ bold interpretation of the dark and mischievous world of Dylan.  This installation remains on permanent display throughout the full 6 months of the exhibition.

Caitlin: Life and Times An original dance performance by Eddie Ladd based on the relationship between Caitlin Thomas and her husband, Dylan.

Innocent As Strawberries Arad Goch theatre company create and perform a new piece of theatre based on Dylan’s short stories on the theme of youth and adolescence. A total of 10 sessions will be held for secondary schools within the exhibition space.

Picturing Dylan The Poets Damian Walford Davies & Rhian Edwards have already held a workshop with Trelai School, Cardiff , producing word-and-image “posters” that will be displayed  as part of the Library’s main exhibition. The two poets will also undertake a Teenage Thomas project with 6th form pupils using the Dylan Notebooks on loan from the University of Buffalo.

Public Symposium To be held at the Library on 5-6 December, which will include a showing of the 1972 ‘Under Milk Wood’ film in the company of director Andrew Sinclair and a range of sessions by various expert speakers.

The Dylan Thomas Pop Up Writing Shed This is scaled down replica of the iconic Writing Shed in Laugharne. Inside the Shed, visitors will have the opportunity to contribute to the ‘Dictionary for Dylan’ – a dictionary of fresh new words. 

Dylan Thomas 100 The Library acknowledges the generous support received from this source to undertake the projects noted above.

ScottishPower Foundation The Foundation provides funding to registered charities and non-profit organisations to promote, amongst other things, the advancement of education and the arts, heritage, culture and community development.


Further Information

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