2020 Programme

Thursday 18 June

Art Exhibition: Time & Tide

Dane Briscoe & Liz Mellor
St Hywyn’s Church
All week
 

Stations to the Untenanted Cross

Susan Fogarty
19:30 – 20:30
£5

St Hywyn’s Church
Limit:20 people

uninhabited cross (2)

 

A poetry meditation by candlelight, whose roots are in the Easter tradition. Moving over the sacred ground, connecting the words of Thomas’s poems to the iconical features inside the ancient pilgrim place, where he was inspired to write “Here on my knees in the stone church, that is full only of the silent congregations of shadows and the sea’s sound

 

Friday 19 June

Writing Together: Words and Water

philip gross (2)Philip Gross 11:00 – 21:00 £60

St Hywyn’s Church, Aberdaron 11:00-13:00
Sarn Plas Cottage, Y Rhiw.
14:00-16:00
Celtic Roundhouse, Felin Uchaf
19:30-21:00

Limit:15 people

Water has always been a presence in Philip Gross’ poetry – the Severn Estuary in the T.S. Eliot-Prize-winning Water Table, the Taff inA Fold in the River and, in his new collection, Between the Islands, the sea. For more than 30 years, Philip has been opening doors into writing for people of all ages and any level of experience.

The morning will start at St Hywyn’s Church within sight of Thomas’ ‘timeless’ and yet ever-changing sea to explore how we can use words, and the spaces between words, to become more alive to the world around us and within. Sarn Plas, the retirement cottage of RS Thomas and ME Eldridge will be the afternoon venue.

“Bards Around the Fire” in the Celtic Roundhouse, Felin Uchaf, in the evening, will be an opportunity for the writers and Philip to share some of their inspired words.

Walking in the Footsteps of RS Thomas

susan fogarty - 2019 rs thomas elsi eldridge festivalSusan Fogarty
10:30 – 12:30 £10
Limit:15 people

Starting at St Hywyn’s Church, this 3 mile walk, over uneven paths along the river, leads to the old vicarage by the quiet path that RS would have taken, stopping along the way for the reading of his poems.

The Landscape of Anglo-Welsh Poetry: RS Thomas 2020

mark pryceMark Pryce
14:00 – 16:00 £10
Sailing Club, Aberdaron
Limit: 50 people

Drawing on his family roots in Wales and the Welsh Marches, Mark will offer a reading of RS Thomas’s poetry set in the vibrant company of Anglo-Welsh poets such as George Herbert, Wilfred Owen, David Jones, Saunders Lewis, Dylan Thomas, Lynette Roberts, Ruth Bidgood and Rowan Williams. What themes emerge in these ‘songs from the hills’, as we hear the poetry of prayer, nature, community, love and war?

Through the Keyhole: Look Inside Sarn Plas

4:15pm – 5pm Free
Limit: 10 people

An opportunity to have a look around Sarn Plas cottage and garden, the holiday home and place of retirement for RS Thomas and ME Eldridge. In 1964 the Keating sisters gifted a lease to the Thomas’s ending with the death of their son Gwydion. The cottage has now returned to the stewardship of the National Trust who are working on future plans.

Bards Around the Fire

celtic roundhouse felin uchaf

Philip Gross, Poet
Ffion Wood, Harpist
Ian M Parr, Host 19:30 – 21:00 £7
Celtic Roundhouse, Felin Uchaf
Limit:50 people

Philip Gross and the writers from the creative writing workshop hosted by Ian Parr will share their poetry and words, accompanied by Ffion Wood in a unique atmospheric setting. www.felinwales.org

 

Saturday 20 June

£25 Day Ticket 10:15 – 16:15
Crud y Werin School Hall

Reading the Poems

Tony Brown
10:15 – 10:30

Brief session devoted to the close reading of a single R.S. Thomas poem, to consider how the meaning of Thomas’s poems are partly derived from the poetic techniques which he uses.

The Tides of Faith in RS Thomas

mark oakleyMark Oakley
10:30– 12:30

The festival is delighted to welcome back Mark Oakley as one of the Society board members and a speaker in the 2017 Festival.  ‘Time and Tide’ is the theme for this year’s festival and Mark will be exploring the tides of faith as expressed in Thomas’ poetry and experienced by those of us in whom his words resonate deeply.

 

Through the Keyhole: Look Inside Sarn Plas, Rhiw

12.30pm – 1.30pm Free
Limit: 10 people
An opportunity to have a look around Sarn Plas cottage and garden, the holiday home and place of retirement for RS Thomas and ME Eldridge. In 1964 the Keating sisters gifted a lease to the Thomas’s ending with the death of their son Gwydion. The cottage has now returned to the stewardship of the National Trust who are working on future plans.

Reading the Poems

Tony Brown
13:45 -14:00

Brief session devoted to the close reading of a single R.S. Thomas poem, to consider how the meaning of Thomas’s poems are partly derived from the poetic techniques which he uses.

Bring on the dancing girls’: An RS Thomas Perspective

mannon ceridwen jamesManon Ceridwen James
14:00 – 16:00

In the poem Perspectives, Thomas describes modernity, referring to electricity pylons as ‘the dancing girls of the future’.   Manon Ceridwen James appropriates his phrase to speak about Thomas’ contribution to the poet priest tradition, and how this living tradition is expressed today. Some of this will be drawn from her own research and work into the role religion plays in constructing Welsh female identities. She will explore how this tradition, over time, informs our understanding of the Church in Wales in its Centenary year.

The Future of Sarn Plas Cottage

Laura Hughes, National Trust Visitor Experience Manager
Tony Brown, Co-Director RS Thomas Research Centre
16:00 -16:15

A brief presentation from the National Trust about their ideas for the future of the cottage. In 1964 the Keating sisters gifted a lease to Elsie Eldridge and RS Thomas ending with the death of Gwydion. The cottage has now returned to the stewardship of the National Trust. This is also an opportunity to present ideas, concerns and aspirations, to influence those future plans.

porth y Swnt 2018 (2)Members’ Buffet Dinner & Wine

RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society
18:30 – 19:30
£10

Porth y Swnt
Limit: 30 people

Join the speakers, board and other members of the Society in a relaxed and interesting setting.

Cyngerdd Emyn i Gymro – Hymn to a Welshman Concert

mared emlynMared Emlyn, Harp
20:00 – 21:30 £8
Written by Menna Elfyn composed by Pwyll ap Sion
Plus: Local Welsh Performers
St Hywyn’s Church

Emyn i Gymro was created as a tribute to RS Thomas after his death in 2000. The words were written and performed by Menna Elfyn, translated into English by Gillian Clarke, with music for the harp composed by Pwyll ap Sion, performed by Eleanor Bennet at Portmeirion in 2001. This will be its third performance with Mared Emlyn as the harp soloist.

Sunday 21 June

Eucharist Service:
Celebrating the Centenary of the Church in Wales

++john Davies09:30 – 10:30 [bilingual]
St Hywyn’s Church

The Most Reverend John Davies will lead a service of worship and preach, with the Venerable Andrew Jones, celebrating 100 years since the Church in Wales was formed and 60 years of RS Thomas’s ministry. The service will be bilingual as usual.

Refreshments to follow.

WORD

Francis Pott
11:30 – 12:30 £3
St Hywyn’s Church

WORD is a sequence of musical meditations on the Gospel in the 21st century for mixed chorus and organ, setting together verses from St John’s Prologue and five poems of R S Thomas.

Francis will share his insights into the challenges of composing this work, in particular using Thomas’s free verse poetry with the text of John’s Gospel.

Performed by Commotio in Keble College, Oxford in September 2018, it was subsequently recorded in March 2019, for general release in the summer of 2020.

Time and TideWaiting For The Rare Bird

John Gower.
Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru, Wrecsam. 2011

Jon Gower
14:00 – 15:30
£7
St Maelrhys Church
Limit: 50 people

R. S. Thomas wasn’t just a keen birdwatcher, he was an expert, able to identify rare birds that made landfall in his parishes. As Thomas’s poem Sea-Watching suggests, such birds – which appear ‘when one is not looking’ – are elusive, like God, and the act of irdwatching is thus akin to prayer. Jon will discuss Thomas as a naturalist and conservationist, sharing his correspondence with other writers and birders; spotting the various species – some mythical, some real – that fly through Thomas’s verse.