Under Milk Wood

Performed: 
Saturday, 5 June 2010 - 7:30pm
Writer: 
Dylan Thomas
Director: 
Steve Smithson
Venue: 
The Centre at Halton, Low Road, Halton
Cast: 
Hilary Strickett
Bob Griffiths
Steve Pritchard
Richard Hopkins
Liz Allison
David Wright
Steve Smithson
Ruth Gibbons
Neil Read
Jill Sloan
Thelma Bennett
Jane Learmonth
Elaine Hutchinson
Lizzie Star
Gina Burns

When Dylan Thomas was staying in New Quay one winter, he went out early one morning into the still sleeping town and verses came to his mind about the inhabitants. He wrote the account of this as Quite Early One Morning. He continued to work on the idea for eight years. There were numerous ideas and characters which would come to fruition in Under Milk Wood.

In Under Milk Wood, we join the narrator who guides us through the sleeping dreams of the inhabitants of the imaginary Welsh village of Llareggub. The villagers then wake and start their day and we see their dreams played out in their daily lives as we follow them through the rest of the day.

The geographical inspiration for the town has generated intense debate. Laugharne was the village where Dylan Thomas lived on and off from the thirties. This town was probably the inspiration for the people of Llareggub, although the topography of the town is thought to be based on New Quay, Ceredigion where Dylan was staying when he started writing the play seriously in 1944. Both towns use the Under Milk Wood connection to attract tourists, hence the rivalry, and The Dylan Thomas Trail has been opened in New Quay.

More recent research has indicated that most of the first half of the play was written in South Leigh, Oxford, whilst the second half was mostly written in America in May 1953. Fewer than 300 lines were written in Laugharne.

Under Milk Wood was written as a play for voices and was first performed on BBC Radio in 1954 following a reading in the USA. It has since been variously adapted for stage, film, ballet and has even been set to music.

Tonight, we have chosen to stay close to the original concept of a ‘play for voices’ by performing the play as a reading. We hope you will enjoy the energy and life that this play exudes.