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Celebrating 70 years of Dylan Thomas: Welsh writers illuminate their homeland in 2024

AS Wales commemorates the 70th anniversary of Dylan Thomas’s iconic radio broadcast of “Under Milk Wood,” a group of five accomplished Welsh writers has embarked on a literary journey to craft modern-day dramatic portraits of their respective regions. Joe Dunthorne, Manon Steffan Ross, Menna Elfyn, Hanan Issa, and Rachel Trezise have lent their creative prowess to breathe life into the landscapes and characters of contemporary Wales.

The cast for these cultural gems includes some of Wales’ brightest talents, with the likes of Ruth Jones, Nadia Wyn, Ifan Huw Dafydd, and more gracing the stage.

The first chapter of this captivating series, “Swansea” by Joe Dunthorne, featuring the acclaimed Ruth Jones, will air tonight on BBC Radio 3 at 22:45 (22 January). This launch marks the beginning of a week-long broadcast, with each subsequent day unveiling a new play at the same time.

The schedule unfolds as follows:

  • 23 January: “Tywyn” by Manon Steffan Ross
  • 24 January: “New Quay” by Menna Elfyn
  • 25 January: “Cardiff” by Hanan Issa
  • 26 January: The final feature, “Rhondda” by Rachel Trezise

The storytelling mirrors the original production, commencing before dawn and concluding after dusk. Emma Harding, contributing to X, stated, “Our five writers summon distinct parts of Wales, weaving a narrative that spans from Swansea to Tywyn, from New Quay to Cardiff and the Rhondda.”

Individual dramas will air nightly at 22:45 on BBC Radio 3 throughout the week. Alternatively, enthusiasts can catch the extended omnibus edition on Sunday evening at 7:30 pm in “Drama on 3” or conveniently stream the content later on BBC Sounds.

For those unable to tune in during the initial broadcast, all the evocative portraits will be available online shortly after airing, ensuring that this celebration of Welsh culture and literary prowess can be enjoyed at the audience’s convenience.