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National Theatre Wales brings Gwyn Thomas' stories to life

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Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain | 17:25 UK time, Thursday, 21 October 2010

The inaugural year of National Theatre Wales' productions continues apace, and their eighth offering brings alive the dark comic tales of Gwyn Thomas, the great Welsh storyteller and chronicler of the valleys.

The cast of The Dark Philosophers. Photo: Gareth Phillips

The cast of The Dark Philosophers. Photo: Gareth Phillips

Gwyn Thomas. Photo: Gwyn Thomas estate

Gwyn Thomas. Photo: Gwyn Thomas estate

National Theatre Wales are collaborating with theatre company Told By An Idiot for The Dark Philosophers. The production is inspired by the 1946 collection of three novellas of the same name by Thomas, one of the most distinctive Welsh voices of the last century.

Thomas was born in Cymmer in the Rhondda in 1913, the son of a coal miner and the youngest of 12 children. His mother died when he was just six years old, but despite living in poverty his academic excellence led to a scholarship at Oxford University where he studied Spanish.

Thomas struggled to establish himself as a writer after he graduated and during the Depression he lectured part-time in England.

He returned to Wales in 1940 where he taught as a school teacher first in Cardigan and then Barry, where he worked for 20 years. He became a full time writer in 1962.

During the course of his prolific writing career he published collections of stories, novels including The Alone to the Alone, All Things Betray Thee and The World Cannot Hear You, stage plays, volumes of essays and his autobiography, A Few Selected Exits.

The cast with the director of The Dark Philosophers. Photo: Gareth Phillips

The cast with the director of The Dark Philosophers. Photo: Gareth Phillips

The play will be directed by Paul Hunter, the co-founder and co-artistic director of Told by an Idiot. The cast includes actors Alex Beckett, David Charles, Nia Davies, Ryan Hacker, Daniel Hawksford, Bettrys Jones, Glyn Pritchard and Laura Rogers

The Dark Philosophers runs at The Riverfront Theatre in Newport from Thursday 11 to Saturday 13 November and at Y Stiwt Theatre in Wrexham on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 November.

For more information visit the National Theatre Wales website.

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