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Y Gŵr Cadarn

25 Mehefin 2010

Pages of a book

One of the earliest known plays in Welsh has been revived to delight and instruct audiences once again.

Y Gŵr Cadarn (The Strong Man) was written by an anonymous playwright from north Wales during the 16th century. After hundreds of years of neglect, a scholar from the University’s School of Welsh is presenting it to twenty-first-century audiences.

Dr Sarah Campbell, a Fulbright Scholar studying at the University for ten months has worked closely with Dr Dylan Foster Evans, Senior Lecturer in the School, to prepare an edition of the play for publication.

As part of that project, Dr Campbell also drew on the expertise of Ceri Elen, Welsh playwright and Creative Writing Tutor in the School of Welsh, to recreate the dramatic artefact so that today’s audience might share some of the experience with those play-goers of 400 years ago.

The original play is in four manuscripts, which Dr Campbell and her colleagues have brought together into one script. Their interpretation of the play will be presented to audiences at St Fagans Museum, South Wales on Saturday 26 June.

Speaking about the project, Dr Campbell said: "Though the play hasn’t been performed for hundreds of years, Y Gŵr Cadarn has been known among scholars as a kind of morality play in which characters personify forces of good and evil to teach a moral lesson to the audience. However, as we move from text to performance, we are finding that the play is actually more of a comic interlude –anterliwt - with a moral message and can be viewed as a precursor of the Welsh anterliwtiau popular in the 18th century."

Sponsored by the University’s School of Welsh and St Fagans National History Museum, Y Gŵr Cadarn will be presented in Welsh by the School’s Drama Company.

Performances will take place at 11.30am and 2.00pm in the churchyard of St. Teilo’s, a recently reconstructed medieval church, at St Fagans Museum. The performances are free and open to all members of the public.

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