Wales

Prince Charles and actors join Dylan Thomas marathon

Sir Ian McKellen, Prince Charles, Michael Sheen and Ryan Jones Image copyright PA/BBC
Image caption Sir Ian McKellen, Prince Charles, Michael Sheen and Ryan Jones will all take part in the 'Dylathon'

Prince Charles, Michael Sheen, Sir Ian McKellen and ex-Wales rugby captain Ryan Jones are joining a marathon performance of Dylan Thomas's work.

The Dylathon in the poet's home city of Swansea will count down the 36 hours to the centenary of his birth in October.

Singer Katherine Jenkins, broadcaster Nicholas Parsons and BBC economics editor Robert Peston are also part of the diverse line-up.

The prince's recording of Fern Hill will be played at Dylan 100's climax.

He is the royal patron of the centenary celebrations and recorded one of his "personal favourites" as part of National Poetry Day last October.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Prince Charles has tea in the living room of the birthplace of Dylan Thomas in Swansea

Fern Hill is Thomas's reminiscences of childhood visits to an aunt's farm in Carmarthenshire and Prince Charles described the poem as "poignant and moving".

He has also previously visited the poet's home in Swansea and his boathouse in Laugharne, Carmarthenshire.

Others taking part in the Dylathon include actors Keith Allen and Matthew Rhys.

Poems, plays, broadcasts and short stories will be performed non-stop, including specially-commissioned music.

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Media captionListen to Prince Charles reading an extract of Fern Hill

Those organising it say it will not a gimmicky record attempt, but a "well crafted, entertaining and serious" showcase of his work.

'Fitting climax'

Ryan Jones will read a letter written by Thomas in 1937. Michael Sheen will give a rendition of And Death Shall Have No Dominion live from New York.

Sir Ian McKellen will be reading Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night at the city's Grand Theatre in the final three hours leading up to 11pm on Monday 27 October - the moment Thomas was born a few hundred yards away at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive in the Uplands area in 1914.

Michael Bogdanov, artistic director, said they were working "flat out" to ensure the Dylathon was a fitting climax to a year of celebrations.

He said: ''I am a Dylan Thomas nut, a collector of first editions and memorabilia.

"I have directed Under Milk Wood 11 times, including productions in German and Japanese and adapted numerous short stories for the stage. It is a great privilege now to be involved so intimately and comprehensively with the man whose writing changed the face of 20th Century poetry and the radio play."

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