Tagged with: Miscellaneous

Posts (21)

  1. BBC Wales History blogger Phil Carradice has written a great piece about one of the most successful actors of the 18th century, Sarah Siddons. Siddons was born in Brecon on this day in 1755. Phil explains: "Sarah Siddons was the most renowned actress of 18th century Britain. Her performances at Drury Lane and Covent Garden - particularly her portrayal of Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth - were so powerful that audiences swooned and often had to be helped out of the theatre in various stages of distress... "Siddons was the most famous actress of her day, at a time when the job of actress was at last beginning to become respectable. She held soirées or receptions where the rich and famous - men such as the Duke of Wellington, Edmund Burke and Samuel Johnson - regularly attended." Read the article in full, and browse some of Phil's previous blog posts on figures from the world of Welsh art and culture: Augustus John, bohemian and painter Allen Raine, forgotten Welsh writer WH Davies: the Welsh Super Tramp Ivor Novello, the Welsh nightingale William Haggar's fleapit cinema

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  2. Yesterday I wrote about the planned unveiling of a new commemorative plaque to remember the Welsh actor and playwright Emlyn Williams. The plaque was organised by the Marchmont Association, a community group in Bloomsbury, London as part of their independent commemorative plaques scheme. Cha...

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  3. A blue plaque is to be unveiled by a small London community group that will honour one of the brightest stars of Welsh film and stage, Emlyn Williams. Williams was a talented actor, playwright and director, famed for being the first to give then fledging actor and fellow Welshman Richard Burto...

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  4. A Wales-wide arts festival for the over 50s is set to celebrate its fifth birthday next month. The Gwanwyn festival, held across Wales throughout May, is run by the charity Age Cymru. The month-long festival offers a range of artistic and creative activities for over 50s to try their hand at -...

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  5. A regeneration initiative in Blaenau Ffestiniog aims to bring the words, thoughts and poetry of the town's people together in a new street art project. Poet and author Dewi Prysor has been appointed to lead the project and to organise workshops in the local schools with other artists and poet...

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  6. Libraries, museums and archives across Wales are set to benefit from a £2.8 million Welsh Assembly Government grants package, which was announced today by Minister for Heritage Alun Ffred Jones. Nine public libraries will share £1,470,172 in capital grants for modernisation work, while a further £858,075 in revenue funding has been allocated to develop the work of libraries in Wales, including grants to 17 library projects ranging from developing literacy, information skills, partnership working, online services and encouraging more people to visit libraries. Museums in north Wales which will receive grants include Buckley Library - set to receive a grant of £300,00 towards modernisation - while Wrexham County Library service will benefit from £165,000 to lead on an all-Wales programme to promote and increase usage of libraries. Read more about the north Wales grants on the Daily Post website, and for more information on the funding announcement, see the Welsh Assembly Government website.

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  7. Cwmdonkin Park in Swansea, the childhood park of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, is to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £820,000 in order to return the park to its former Victorian glory. The park, once described by Thomas as 'a world within the world of the sea town', opened in 1874. Located...

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  8. As reported on the BBC Wales News website this morning, the Arts Council of Wales says it is 'relieved' it can increase funds to many of the 71 organisations it supports despite government cuts. Its budget has been trimmed by four percent and it must save 12% running costs but it will spend an...

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  9. It's been an action packed year on the arts and cultural scene in Wales, so here's a brief reminder of the past year's events. January 2010 began on a sad note as January witnessed the death of celebrated film historian and critic Dave Berry. Dave had completed a series of brilliant articles on Welsh film for the BBC Wales Arts website just months before he died, so we were fortunate to be able to bring you just a small slice of his encyclopaedic knowledge - and love - of film and cinema in these articles. Dave Berry. Photo © Media Wales February On a brighter note, University of Glamorgan lecturer Philip Gross won the TS Eliot Prize for poetry with his collection The Water Table, which was inspired by the Bristol Channel. It was to be the first of two major literary wins for the poet in 2010. March Young Welsh actors Aneurin Barnard and Iwan Rheon both collected one of the highest honours in the theatrical world as they each scooped a prestigious Oliver Award for their roles in Spring Awakening, the stage adaptation of Frank Wedekind's controversial play. Aneurin Barnard and Iwan Rheon with their Laurence Olivier Awards © Charlie Hopkinson March also saw the first production by the newly formed National Theatre Wales, following their announcement in November 2009 of their ambitious programme of 12 productions in 12 months. A Good Night Out In The Valleys was staged in various locations in the south Wales valleys, and starred Sharon Morgan, Boyd Clack and Siwan Morris. April April was a good month for Welsh comedy as the line-up for the inaugural Machynlleth Comedy Festival was unveiled. Read what resident BBC Wales Music blogger Bethan Elfyn made of the festival. The longlist of the annual Wales Book of the Year Award was unveiled by organisers Academi in April - browse a collection of photos from the announcement. And also in April we launched a new interactive map on the BBC Wales Arts site, charting some of the locations in which Doctor Who has been filmed in the country. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at the map. May May saw Israel-born artist Yael Bartana scoop the 2010 Artes Mundi prize, the biggest contemporary arts prize in the UK. Read more about Artes Mundi and take a look at the work of all eight of the shortlisted artists. Artist Yael Bartana, winner of Artist Mundi 4 The Hay Festival also took place at the tail end of May and the beginning of June. Read Nicola Heywood Thomas' memories of the festival over the years. June The Wales Book of the Year winners were announced, with Philip Gross winning the English language prize for his poetry collection I Spy Pinhole Eye, and John Davies scooping the Welsh language prize for Cymru: Y 100 Lle i'w Gweld Cyn Marw. Browse a photo gallery from the awards ceremony. Minister for Heritage Alun Ffred Jones and Philip Gross. Photo © Emyr Young / Academi Elfyn Lewis was crowned Welsh Artist of the Year in June. The accolade was the second in a year for the artist from Porthmadog, who picked up the gold medal for fine art at the National Eisteddfod in July 2009. And one of my favourite stories that we brought you in June was the unveiling of the sculpture at Point of Ayr lighthouse. The seven foot metal sculpture, named The Keeper, was installed at the Talacre lighthouse following many eerie sightings of a ghostly apparition patrolling the structure. July A host of bloggers kept us up to date with the latest news and views from the Maes as Ebbw Vale hosted the 2010 Eisteddfod. Contributors included BBC Wales' Dan Williams, Jason Mohammad and Eddie Butler, plus I gave you a sneak peek into the brilliant visual arts space that was created for this year's spectacular cultural event - Y Lle Celf. The National Eisteddfod Pavillion in Ebbw Vale Plus, Risen - the biopic of legendary Welsh boxer Howard Winstone - made its première at a three day boxing festival in Cardiff at the end of July. August The One Show sofa was graced with a new team in August with Welsh presenter Alex Jones getting her big break, having been a regular face on Welsh language shows for the previous decade. The One Show presenter Alex Jones We caught up with the new star, in which she told us about moving to London, her dream guests, and why it's never a good idea to go shopping in your pyjamas. And also during August, rising Welsh comedian Elis James blogged for us from the Edinburgh Festival, in which he was performing his stand-up show Daytripper. September Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd returned to the big screen in September in The Kid, Nick Moran's adaptation of the best-selling novel by Kevin Lewis. Browse a gallery of photos from the film. October National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke embarked on a reading tour of the country in the autumn, and she wrote a tour diary for the BBC Wales Arts website about her travels. She visited Abergavenny, Skenfrith, Betws-y-Coed and Builth Wells before taking a detour to the Hay Festival in Kerala, India before returning to Wales and visiting Carmarthen, Aberystwyth and finally the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea. Gillian Clarke. Photo: Poetry Live Speaking of which, the annual Dylan Thomas Festival kicked off in October, with a whole host of Thomases being celebrated at this year's festival. Giving the festival a literary twist, the lives and works of poets, writers and broadcasters who shared the surname with Dylan - such as RS Thomas, Edward Thomas, Gwyn Thomas, Wynford Vaughan Thomas and John Ormond Thomas - were all honoured at the festival. And the winner of The Iris Prize - the Cardiff-based International Gay and Lesbian Short Film Prize - was unveiled as Magnus Mork from Norway for his film The Samaritan. November November marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Roald Dahl, one of the greatest children's writers ever to have hailed from Wales. Read our article on the great man. December The London 2012 Festival will form part of the finale of the Cultural Olympiad and to mark this the Royal Shakespeare Company will collaborate with National Theatre Wales. Read more about the planned production. December also saw American poet Elyse Fenton scoop the 2010 Dylan Thomas Prize for her collection of 21st century war poetry, Clamor. And it was announced that Fingersmith by Pembrokeshire-born novelist Sarah Waters will be one of the 25 titles that will be handed out in a one million book give-away for World Book Night next March. What are your memories of this year in Welsh arts and culture? If you want to have your say, on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login. Need some assistance? Read about BBC iD, or get some help with registering.

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  10. A bon vivant I'm not. As far as cooking is concerned, I'm the capital P in pathetic. If Elaine is out I withdraw to my limits, opening a tin of tomato soup, with a chunk of bread and cheese, or dabbling at a scrambled egg and with much of the egg left stuck to the frying pan. This has all been pertinent this week, for cooking and indulging have both raised their heads. Twice a year I take part in 'A men's meal'. Peter Hain, the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and his now retired political agent, Howard Davies, join me in treating our ladies. We go on rota for starters, main course and pudding and we gather in the home of whoever has his turn at the main dish. I was on starters and I was guided by the advice of cooking guru Angela Grey. I went for stuffed field mushrooms with leeks, garlic, butter, cream cheese, goat's cheese, nuts, cranberries and parsley all thrown in at various stages, before or after the singe in the oven. It was a resounding success, may I add, although huge dollops of wine coloured the opinion I have no doubt. There is a safeguard against stress too, in that, however lacking I am on this kind of artistic foody flair and creative and colourful adventure, Howard is worse. On each occasion we all feel that his wife made his course, but we can never prove it. He also has an innocent smile, one that would fox Interpol, which disarms us completely. His wife, also named Elaine, tutors him so well as to how he prepared the course that he sounds so convincing when he describes it. I also spoke this week, on the programme, to Michael Winner, the renowned film director who is now a fearsome food critic for the Sunday Times. He was a joy to speak to, surprisingly full of common sense, about food preparation and presentation. He had no time for artistic designs on plates; saucy squiggles immediately irritated him. He takes no prisoners in his write-ups and I don't know how he can be in a convivial photograph with restaurant or hotel owners and staff, and then lambast them in his report. I just take the coward's way out. When the waiter asks me if everything is all right, I usually reply: "Fine thank you," even it's not. I just don't go to the place again. Not the best policy at all, I suppose. I've had my moments, mind. I remember, in my education days on a scholarship visit to America, being hosted at a dinner party by a sophisticated lady in New York. She'd once been married to a Welshman who, in her words, was good for only one thing. Whatever, I didn't press her as to what his Celtic prowess was. In each individual cutlery arrangement on the table, there was a knife, fork,spoon and something that looked like a medical instrument. As it turned out, it was a scoop to get the marrow out of your lamb bone. It was a long night for me, I can tell you. Yuck! I also recall something similar in a restaurant in the south of France. Elaine and I didn't recognise anything on the menu, but we took a stab at it. Panic took hold when the waiter took away my knife and fork and, yes, another medical instrument turned up. I didn't recognise the shellfish when they arrived. Not oysters, not mussels, not cockles even, but something new and sinister. Elaine said: "Look, call the waiter, tell him you've made a mistake and change them, or you'll be up in the night." No, pride, cowardice and the need to avoid a fuss took over, so I ordered four pints of lager and a mountain of bread and I got into a rhythm of 'bread, shell fish, lager; bread, shell fish, lager; bread, shell fish, lager...' It worked a dream, and I wasn't up in the night. It's funny, Elaine and I think we are of peasant stock: bread and potatoes, simple fayre. Mind you, 'simple' can be great. Some of the best meals I've had have been at various rugby clubs, organised by outside caterers out of tureens, £15 a head. Actually, the best beef I've ever tasted was from an outside caterer at a carvery in Bettws Rugby Club, Ammanford. So there we go, I know my place...and it's usually fulsome. Roy Roy Noble is bringing his famous storytelling skills to a computer near you as part of the BBC First Click campaign - aimed at encouraging people to take their first steps to getting online. If you know somebody who needs help to get online, call the free BBC First Click advice line on 08000 150950.

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