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RS Thomas Festival 2019

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Aberdaron

Aberdaron

LL53 8BE

United Kingdom

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Refunds up to 30 days before event

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Spirit of Place - RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society Literary and Art Festival.



Thursday June 20th

EVENT: STATIONS TO THE UNTENANTED CROSS

VENUE: St Hywyn's Church

TIME: 19:30 - 20:30, Thursday 20th June 2019

COST: £5

PLACES: 20 people

Altar cross

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…”

Susan Fogarty is a founder and director of the RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society, facilitating RS Thomas events in Aberdaron and elsewhere since 2013. She specialises in reading Thomas’s work: engaging her audience to move through the poetry, in churches and the natural environment. She has written articles for The Church Times, Faith & Freedom and Christians Aware. Since 2015 she has been a Journeying leader, guiding people on walking holidays with a spiritual intent. www.st-hywyn.org/pilgrimage




Friday June 21st

EVENT: ART EXHIBITION - ‘... his are the echoes we follow'

VENUE: St Hywyn's Church,

TIME: 11:00 - 12:00, Friday 21st June 2019

COST: Free

PLACES: 30 people

Artwork

The title of the exhibition is taken from a short RS Thomas poem ’Via Negativa’. The poem talks of God as the empty silence, ‘the place where we go seeking’.

The images are about those places in the poet’s life where he himself went ‘seeking’: the coastline of Holy Island as a boy; Bangor where he was a student; the parishes where he served as a priest; Aberdaron and the Llŷn Peninsula.

The medium is charcoal - appropriately, the product of natural wood and fire.

Ted Harrison is a writer, was a Radio 4 presenter and BBC Religious Affairs Correspondent and has a PhD in Theology. Ten years ago he made a career change, deciding to work as a visual artist and took an MA in Fine Art. Much of his work since then has been exploring what he calls ‘visual theology’. He uses a wide range of media, including paint, charcoal, etched slate, cut steel sculpture and found objects. Past exhibitions have been held in several cathedrals; Llandaff, St David’s, Gloucester, Norwich and London St Paul’s. His wall-sculptures honouring organ donors can be seen at London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals. www.tedharrison.co.uk




EVENT: CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP: SPIRIT OF THE LAND:

POETRY OR PROSE

VENUE: Felin Uchaf, Rhoshirwaun.

TIME: 11:00 - 16:00, Friday 21st June

COST: £55

PLACES: 15 people

Felin Uchaf Observatory Room

‘To know even one field or one land is a lifetime’s experience’. And yet, where we live and to what we are rooted doesn’t always define who we are. In these workshops, we will try and explore what we mean by the rhythm and spirit of the land around us and what inspires our imaginations through writing. As RS Thomas was himself writing about such places like Abercuawg.

A chance to write the world anew – whether you are already a writer, poet or one who aspires to write poetry or prose. Aspiration indeed can create marvels!

Included in your ticket price is an opportunity for workshop participants, to perform their poetry or read something of their work in the evening at “Bards Around the Fire” in the Celtic Roundhouse, Felin Uchaf.

Menna Elfyn

Menna Elfyn is a professor of creative writing & an award winning poet, playwright. She has published fourteen collections of poetry, children’s novels, libretti for UK and US composers as well as plays for television and radio. Her latest collection Bondo Bloodaxe Books was published in 2017 and will be published in Italian in 2019. Her work has been translated into over 20 languages.

She has written half a dozen tribute poems to RS Thomas as well as a commissioned libretto ‘Hymn to a Welshman’, with composer Pwyll ap Siôn. The harpist Elinor Bennett performed the work at a premiere in Portmeirion in 2001.

Her biography of the Welsh poet Eluned Phillips was published by Gomer and the English translation Absolute Optimist ( Honno) in 2018 . Cennad ( Barddas) a literary memoir was published in March 2018. Professor of Poetry, President of Wales PEN Cymru she has been a columnist with the ‘Western Mail’ since 1994. www.mennaelfyn.co.uk www.felinwales.org





EVENT: Minibus Tour - Spirit of Llyn

VENUE: Meet at the Porth y Swnt National Trust car park in Aberdaron

TIME: 12:30 - 15:00, Friday 21st June 2019

COST: £15

PLACES: 15 people

Retirement House

A minibus tour of the landscapes and locations that inspired the poetry of RS Thomas and art of Elsi Eldridge. The tour will leave from the National Trust car park at Porth y Swnt. Parking is free for National Trust members. The tour will be conducted by Peter Hewlett, the treasurer of the RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society and managing director of a walking holiday company based in Aberdaron www.edgeofwaleswalk.co.uk. Visiting the Rectory where Thomas lived when the parish priest; Sarn Plas the cottage to which they retired in 1978; Mynydd Mawr headland with views of Bardsey Island; Llanfaelrhys church where Elsi and Gwydion are buried; with several places in the landscape redolent with images that appear in the poetry. Relevant poems will be read aloud. Only limited walking ability required.

Peter Hewlett

Peter is Treasurer of the RS Thomas and ME Eldridge Appreciation Society. He studied History at Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, spent his working life as a timber merchant in Nottingham, and now runs a walking holiday and accommodation business in Aberdaron. He has a deep knowledge of the history of Pen Llyn and a lively sense of the way that some of the poetry of RS Thomas relates to local places.





EVENT: Walking in his Footsteps.

VENUE: Meet at St Hywyn's Church, Aberdaron.

TIME: 13:30 - 16:00, Friday 21st June 2019

COST: £10

PLACES: 15 people

RS Thomas

WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF RS THOMAS. 4 Miles. Starting at St Hywyn’s Church, this is an easy walk over uneven paths along the river, that RS would have taken to the old vicarage. We will stop along the way for the reading of his poetry. The quiet road back to Aberdaron affords extensive views. Sturdy footwear essential.

Susan Fogarty

Susan Fogarty is a founder and director of the RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society, facilitating RS Thomas events in Aberdaron and elsewhere since 2013. She specialises in reading Thomas’s work: engaging her audience to move through the poetry, in churches and the natural environment. She has written articles for The Church Times, Faith & Freedom and Christians Aware. Since 2015 she has been a Journeying leader, guiding people on walking holidays with a spiritual intent. www.st-hywyn.org/pilgrimage





EVENT: Bards Around The Fire.

VENUE: Felin Uchaf, Rhoshirwaun LL53 8HS

TIME: 19:30 - 21:00, Friday 21st June 2019

COST: £7

PLACES: 40 people

Celtic Roundhouse

Entertained by Menna Elfyn reading her poetry, with the writers from the creative writing workshop and young harpist Ffion Wood in the Celtic Roundhouse at Felin Uchaf www.felinwales.org. Participants in the Creative Writing workshop, receive free admission to this event.




Saturday June 22nd

EVENT: Rowan Williams, Sandra Anstey and The Board of the RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society, presentations and conversations

VENUE: Crud y Werin School

TIME: 10:30 - 17:00, Saturday 22nd June 2019

COST: £25 for the day

PLACES: 100 people

Dr Rowan Williams

10.30 - 12.30 Dr Rowan Williams will speak within the theme of the festival, followed by conversation

14:00 - 15:30 Sandra Anstey : Revisiting RS Thomas: Poetry, Prose & Conversaton

16:00 - 17:00 Meet The Board of the RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society to talk about the festival and your ideas for the future. Open to everyone.

FROM OUR PATRON: DR ROWAN WILLIAMS : SPIRIT OF PLACE 10:30 - 12:00

The festival is delighted to welcome back Dr Williams as our patron and speaker from 2017. ‘Spirit of Place’ the theme for this year’s festival, suggested by Menna Elfyn, will no doubt provide a suitable springboard from which Dr Williams will launch his thoughts.

Rowan Williams former Archbishop of Canterbury, is Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. A distinguished theologian, author, churchman, Welshman and poet, highlights of his career are: Doctor of Divinity degree, Oxford; Fellow and Dean of Clare College, Cambridge; Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford; Bishop of Monmouth and Archbishop of Wales. In his book The Poems of Rowan Williams (2002), his tribute to the memory of R. S. Thomas titled “Deathship” opens with lines that capture RS in retirement, living in a cottage overlooking the sea: “The last years, words from a window / smoothing the sea, / the iron back and forth / to probe the fugitive wrinkles



SANDRA ANSTEY: RS THOMAS: POETRY, PROSE & CONVERSATIONS 14:00 - 15:30

Sandra Anstey Book

Sandra first contacted RS Thomas when she was an undergraduate student. She visited him in Aberdaron and in Y Rhiw, interviewed him during her doctoral studies and corresponded with him for many years. Her talk will include reference to unpublished material.

Sandra Anstey

Sandra Anstey studied English Literature at Reading University and then moved to the University of Wales, Swansea, where she completed her PhD study on the writings of RS Thomas. She taught English and was reviews editor of Poetry Wales (1980-1990). In 1989 she began work in examinations and assessment. She has edited a number of publications, including Critical Writings on RS Thomas (Seren), RS Thomas: Selected Prose (Seren), William Wordsworth: Selected Poems (Oxford University Press) and Selected Poems and Letters of Keats (Heinemann). She is currently Chair of the Contemporary Art Society for Wales.



MEET THE BOARD: RS THOMAS & ME ELDRIDGE SOCIETY 16:00 - 17:00

Open to non-members to speak about the festival and present your ideas for the future.

Board Members




EVENT: Members' Dinner Buffet & Wine, RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society

VENUE: Porth y Swnt, National Trust Visitor Centre

TIME: 18:30 - 19:30, Saturday 22nd June 2019

COST: £10

PLACES: 30 society members only

RS and Elsi

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




EVENT: Spirit of Aberdaron Concert

Côr Meibion Carnguwch with Menna Elfyn

VENUE: St Hywyn's Church

TIME: 20:00 - 21:30, Saturday 22nd June 2019

COST: £8

PLACES: 120 people

Choir

A truly Welsh cultural evening : The concert will include a repertoire of Welsh songs written about the people, landscape and events of Aberdaron along with poetry in Welsh written and performed by Menna Elfyn.

Menna Elfyn book

Côr Meibion Carnguwch was formed in October 2016 under the direction of Ann ‘Hafod’ Williams, who has performed and competed in the National Eisteddfod over many years. The choir is unique in the area as it has drawn young men from all around the Llŷn Peninsula.




Sunday 23rd June

EVENT: Eucharist Service with Revd Barry Morgan preaching

VENUE: St Hywyn's Church

TIME: 10:00 - 11:00, Sunday 23rd June 2019

COST: Free

PLACES: 125 people

North Aisle of St Hywyn's

Revd Morgan will preside at the bilingual service, with his sermon address in English.

Barry Morgan

Barry Morgan is the former Archbishop of Wales and a Patron of the RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society. He published “Strangely Orthodox: RS Thomas and his Poetry of Faith” in 2006. It was after RS Thomas had retired, living in Sarn Plas, when they met for the first time, when Revd Morgan was Archdeacon and later the Bishop of Bangor. In retirement he spends more time as an international speaker on Thomas’s life and poetry.






EVENT: Meet the Artist, Ted Harrison

VENUE: St Hywyn's Church

TIME: 11:30 - 12:30, Sunday 23rd June 2019

COST: Free

PLACES: 30 people

Ted Harrison

An opportunity for conversation with Ted Harrison about his art inspired by Thomas’ life and poetry.




EVENT: WORD:Five Poems by Thomas & John's Gospel set to choral music

VENUE: St Maelrhys Church, Llanfaelrhys.

TIME: 13:30 - 15:00, Sunday 23rd June 2019

COST: £5

PLACES: 50 people

Llanfaelrhys

WORD seeks to re-interpret for our postmodern times St. John’s extraordinary ‘Prologue’ (John 1.1-14) . Into a precis are woven lines by R.S. Thomas, whose adamantine poetry perfectly complements the evangelist’s stringent prose, both of which have been brilliantly fused together by the sensitivity, intelligence, and integrity of Francis Pott’s music. A recording of WORD, sung by Commotio of Cambridge, will be played. Revd Nick Fisher who commissioned the work will talk about how it came into being. www.francispott.co.uk

Nick Fisher is a Church of England rector serving in five parishes in the Cotswolds. The holder of doctorates in English literature and theology, he has written extensively on the poetry of the Restoration poet Rochester. His study of Bishop Symon Patrick (1626-1707) is being published this autumn.







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Date and Time

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Aberdaron

Aberdaron

LL53 8BE

United Kingdom

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Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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