Y Chwarelwr (The Quarryman) to be screened underground

Wednesday 11 January 2012, 12:43

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A film viewed as the first ever Welsh language 'talkie' and a milestone in Welsh cinematic history is to be screened in the very bowels of the earth.

The innovative event will take place in the Deep Mine of the Llechwedd Slate Caverns at Blaenau Ffestiniog.

It's being put on by Cytser - The Constellation Project, a new theatre company based in Gwynedd which at its inception was tasked with generating spectacular events that reached those not normally in touch with arts in the area.

Y Chwarelwr (The Quarryman) by Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards, founder of Urdd Gobaith Cymru (The Welsh League of Youth), and John Ellis Williams, dates from 1935 and was made in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Still taken from Y Chwarelwr. Photo courtesy of National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales - Archif Genedlaethol Sgrin a Sain Cymru

Still taken from Y Chwarelwr. Photo courtesy of National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales - Archif Genedlaethol Sgrin a Sain Cymru

It was once thought lost because the original print became damaged and incomplete and reels featuring the grand finale were lost forever.

In 2006 Ifor Ap Glyn of Cwmni Da and the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales recovered and restored the film to its original condition.

Caernarfon-based company Cwmni Da then recreated the lost final part of the film, adding voices, sound effects and a new soundtrack by Bangor University music lecturer Pwyll ap Sin to replace the reels that could not be found.

Still taken from Y Chwarelwr. Photo courtesy of National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales - Archif Genedlaethol Sgrin a Sain Cymru

Still taken from Y Chwarelwr. Photo courtesy of National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales - Archif Genedlaethol Sgrin a Sain Cymru

Cytser, which has arranged the screening with the help of Llechwedd Slate Caverns and Cell B, has invited Ifor Ap Glyn to the event so he can introduce the film to audiences and explain the painstaking process of restoring it so that it could be enjoyed by future generations for years to come.

The film shows different aspects of a typical slate quarryman's life in Blaenau Ffestiniog, portraying him in a variety of settings, from home to work and chapel to courtship.

Still taken from Y Chwarelwr. Photo courtesy of National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales - Archif Genedlaethol Sgrin a Sain Cymru

Still taken from Y Chwarelwr. Photo courtesy of National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales - Archif Genedlaethol Sgrin a Sain Cymru

The special screening takes place at the Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog at 7.30pm on Saturday 21 January.

Tickets will be available on the door. Tickets: £8, Concessions and Blaenau locals (with ID): £6.

Patrons are advised to wear warm clothing and sturdy shoes. Safety helmets will be provided.

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