An Evening with Dylan Thomas – from Laugharne to Mullumbimby
Friday, Saturday, Sunday 27, 28 February, 1, 6, 7, 8 March 2015
An Evening with Dylan Thomas – from Laugharne to Mullumbimby, opens The Drill Hall Theatre Company’s 2015 season. This year is the 101st anniversary of the poet Dylan Thomas’ birth and the 99th year in the colourful life of the Drill Hall.
Dylan Thomas’ lyrical poetry and prose is loved throughout the world. Idiosyncratic and surreal, he captures the essence of Wales in the first half of the 20th century with humour and longing.
An Evening With Dylan Thomas is directed by visiting Welshman Ray Thomas who has presented the show in both Wales and England. Ray is a member of Cardiff’s Every Man Theatre. An Evening will be a relaxed script-in-hand reading with the audience in ‘café style’ seating. A strong cast of 15 veteran and new to the Drill Hall actors form a warm ensemble of voices.
Included in the show are extracts from some of Dylan Thomas’ best-known works, Under Milk Wood, Fern Hill, Return Journey and the celebrated villanelle for his dying father, Do not go gentle into that good night.
The director Ray Thomas who also performs as the Narrator gently guides the audience through the poet’s life while the actors perform around 70 colourful characters.
By Evening’s close the audience and the cast will feel close to the heart of the poet. This production will delight those familiar with Dylan Thomas’ poetry and prose and those about to discover its beauty.
An Evening With Dylan Thomas held over 6 nights:
at the Drill Hall Theatre, 2 Jubilee Avenue, Mullumbimby
Friday and Saturday 27, 28 February & 6,7 March at 7:00 pm for a 7:30 start
Sunday Matinee performances on 1 and 8 March at 4:30pm for a 5.00 start.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase from the bar
A little about the Director
RAY THOMAS – PROFILE
Born in a South Wales steel town, Port Talbot (as were Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Sheen, Rob Bryden and Paul Potts) Ray’s first acting experience – like many others – was in Primary School.
As a Sixth Former, Ray was privileged to be taught by Godfrey Evans – then a young Graduate from Central School of Speech and Drama, who had vied for parts in school productions with Richard Burton – under whose Direction, Ray appeared in a number of plays and musicals, learning a great deal in the process.
From 1968 Ray trained to be a Drama Teacher at Secondary Level, graduating in 1972. During a 13-year career as Head of Drama Departments in large Secondary Schools in UK and Singapore, Ray also managed/ Directed a 525-seat school-based professional Community Theatre; founded and Directed 3 Youth Theatres; found time to pursue his acting, Directing, music and sporting interests.
After returning to UK from Singapore in 1985, Ray decided on a mid-career change of direction. He completed an M Ed, choosing to focus the whole course on Community Education/ Lifelong Learning. From 1987, until taking early retirement in 2004, Ray worked for Somerset County Council as a Senior Manager in the Adult Learning and Leisure Service. Once again, acting and Directing opportunities enabled Ray to participate in work that he loved, as well as continuing with sport and music. At this time Ray also delivered a Performing Arts Course in Somerset College of Arts and Technology.
A return to Wales, in 2006, saw Ray creating links with Everyman Theatre Company, Cardiff at their internationally renowned base, ”Chapter Arts Cenre” in Canton, Cardiff. Acting and Directing work for Everyman was interspersed with Film and TV work as a Supporting Artiste. September, 2013 saw Ray embarking upon the M A Drama Course at The University of South Wales, in Cardiff. Having completed the Course, with a Distinction, in September 2014, Ray was invited to Lecture at The University, in Directing at B A Level.
Acting and Directing featured heavily during 2014/5, with Ray acting in “Earthquakes in London”, Pinter’s “The Homecoming”, a Music video and a University Sci-Fi film series. He also Directed Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” for Everyman; “The Thunder and Lightning Man” – his own play about a little-known 19th Century Somerset Scientist; and “From Laugharne to ……(wherever we happen to be playing!” – a compilation piece, script-in-hand reading/ performance, about the life and work of the wonderful Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. This work sprang from the Centenary Celebrations of the birth of Dylan (1914 – 1953), which lasted the whole year in Wales!
The piece has been well-received in England and Wales. Having searched for a venue and a cast in Byron Bay and Mullumbimby, Ray is delighted to have made contact with The Drill Hall Theatre Company and also that they have been incredibly interested in and so supportive of this production. All proceeds will contribute to the fund-raising efforts of your own Community-based Theatre Company, as they also head towards their Centenary.
The audition and rehearsal processes have been full of fun and fascination – we hope that our audiences will enjoy the whole experience in a Cabaret-style setting in the Drill Hall – please support the production and help your own Theatre Company. I am really looking forward to sharing the experience with you.
And some interesting comments from an ex-resident