Again this year, Y Pentref Drama (The Drama Village) will play a central role at the National Eisteddfod, as the partnership between the Eisteddfod and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru continues to go from strength to strength. This will be the main focus for all theatre activities during the festival, and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru – in association with a number of other organisations – is proud to sponsor Y Pentref Drama and the exciting and varied programme that will be presented at venues such as Theatr y Maes, Caffi’r Theatrau and Y Babell Lên (The Literary Pavilion).
The 2018 Cardiff National Eisteddfod will be held in Cardiff Bay, and will utilise existing buildings together with some attractive temporary structures; as a result, Y Pentref Drama will be scattered over the Bay area and beyond.
Theatr y Maes this year will be located in Rehearsal Room 3, Wales Millennium Centre (next to Y Babell Lên, which will be in the Weston Studio), and Caffi’r Theatrau will be located at Caffi Sïo next to Craft in the Bay. There will be theatre-related activities held in Y Babell Lên, Portland House, Y Senedd and Chapter, as well as at other locations. Visitors will be required to purchase a wristband to gain entry to Theatr y Maes and Y Babell Lên during the day, to enable the organisers to control the number of people at the Millennium Centre at any one time. The wristband will also enable entry to the Pavilion during the day. For ticket information click here.
Caffi’r Theatrau is co-ordinated by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru in partnership with the National Eisteddfod and in association with various other partners. This year, the partners include Chapter, Frân Wen, Theatr Bara Caws, Galeri, Pontio, Theatr Clwyd, Arad Goch, Sherman Theatre, Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Welsh National Opera. In the Caffi, eisteddfod-goers will be able to relax over a paned (cuppa) in an informal atmosphere, and hear more about the exciting plans that various venues and theatre and opera companies have in store. A variety of free events will also be held there throughout the week, with plenty of activities to entertain the children too (including opportunities to dress up!).
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is also proud to support Y Babell Lên (The Literary Pavilion), which this year is hosting a number of theatre-related events, including a performance of Sieiloc (Shylock), starring Rhodri Miles (winner of the best Welsh-language touring production at the Wales Theatre Awards 2017), as well as a tribute to the late Meic Povey.
Amongst the events organised by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru at the National Eisteddfod this year, Theatr Gen Creu yn y Steddfod is a new initiative that provides a platform for the company’s works-in-progress. It includes showings and readings of some of the company’s projects that are currently in development, providing an opportunity to refine the work and promote talent. There will be a short discussion with the creative team behind the project following each showing. The programme includes a broad range of works in development by new and experienced playwrights and artists. This is a unique opportunity to get a sneak preview of these plays in the early stages of their development, and to see the working methods and processes of the artists and playwrights involved as they experiment with their craft and ideas. It also gives the general public an opportunity to give feedback on works and to initiate a discussion about the process of creating new Welsh-language theatre works.
The programme also includes a discussion with the writer and director of Nyrsys, which is Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s forthcoming production that will be touring Wales in the autumn after being enthusiastically received at a reading in Cardiff in the spring. This discussion will be an opportunity for the public to learn more about the project.
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s main production at the Eisteddfod this year will be Milwr yn y Meddwl by Heiddwen Tomos, the play that won the Drama Medal Prize at the 2017 Anglesey National Eisteddfod. Milwr yn y Meddwl is a co-production between Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Sherman Theatre, in partnership with the National Eisteddfod of Wales, and will be performed at Theatr y Maes in the Wales Millennium Centre from Monday 6 August to Friday 10 August at 6pm. The production is also supported by the Gwenlyn Parry Literary Estate and the Hugh Griffith Memorial Fund.
Events will also be held at the Senedd, including a discussion on ‘Dementia and the Welsh language’ on Wednesday 8 August at 10.15am. Conveying and understanding the linguistic problems when living with dementia – that is the aim of this unique session organised by the Welsh Language Commissioner, Alzheimer’s Society Cymru and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. Dyfan Roberts and Mirain Fflur will perform an extract from ‘Y Tad’, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s production of the powerful drama portraying the life of a man living with dementia that toured Wales earlier this year. Following the performance, a panel of experts will discuss the performance and findings from a new report to be published by the Welsh Language Commissioner and Alzheimer’s Society Cymru in the autumn. Full details here.
Arwel Gruffudd, Artistic Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, said: “Theatr Genedlaethol is once again delighted to support Y Pentref Drama (The Drama Village) as part of our special partnership with the National Eisteddfod. It will be a pleasure to present a variety of performances in venues that are more permanent than usual – in purpose-built theatres, as well as in unexpected places. The programme includes performances of exceptional productions by students, by amateur groups and, of course, by our professional theatre companies.
“Again this year, Theatr y Maes will be the main hub for the activities, and we’re looking forward to enjoying a chat over a cuppa in Caffi’r Theatrau. This year, as has been the case for many years, y Pentref Drama will host a very wide variety of theatre-based activities and events, including special performances and varied, interesting discussions. It also offers an opportunity to learn what some of our professional theatre companies have in store for us, together with a taste of some future productions and an opportunity to influence the process of creating them! This is a unique opportunity to be part of the incredible hive of activity that characterises the current Welsh theatre scene.”
Elen Elis, the National Eisteddfod’s Organiser and Artistic Director, added: “The relationship with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is very important to the Eisteddfod, and it is great to see it developing from year to year. There is no doubt that the wealth of drama-associated activity on the Maes this year is a clear indication that the Welsh-language theatre in Wales is thriving, and it is a pleasure to provide support by offering various venues in different locations around the Maes.
“We hope that the fact that performances and activities are held in such a variety of locations will appeal to our audience; this has enabled us and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru to be bold, and to create a programme that will be remembered for a very long time. We wish to thank Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and all our partners in the sector, together with the very active local committee, for their vision and hard work throughout the past year.”
Full details of the Pentref Drama’s programme can be found here.