The Dylan Thomas Centre is an arts centre located in the Maritime Quarter in Swansea, Wales. .Formerly the city's Guildhall, which was originally built in 1825, the Dylan Thomas Centre was restored and refurbished to host the UK Year of Literature and Writing in 1995. It was opened in 1995 by American ex-President Jimmy Carter, and has a permanent exhibition on the life and work of Dylan Thomas, a bookshop and a cafe. The Centre houses the permanent ‘Love the Words’ exhibition, based on the largest collection of memorabilia of its kind in the world. It is designed to appeal to the Dylan expert and interested visitor alike, and includes a trail for children. This interactive exhibition explores Dylan’s life and work through a variety of media and includes letters, books, worksheets and photographs. The Dylan Thomas Centre is home to a year-round programme of literary events, including book launches, plays, poetry evenings, changing exhibitions and science talks. It hosts the annual Dylan Thomas Festival held between Dylan’s birth and death dates, 27 October to 9 November. Regular events are organised for families and children.
Dylan Marlais Thomas (27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953) was a Welsh poet and writer whose works include the poems "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "And death shall have no dominion"; the 'play for voices' Under Milk Wood; and stories and radio broadcasts such as A Child's Christmas in Wales and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog. He became widely popular in his lifetime and remained so after his premature death at the age of 39 in New York City. By then he had acquired a reputation, which he had encouraged, as a "roistering, drunken and doomed poet". Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales, in 1914. An undistinguished pupil, he left school at 16 and became a journalist for a short time. Many of his works appeared in print while he was still a teenager; however, it was the publication in 1934 of "Light breaks where no sun shines" that caught the attention of the literary world. While living in London, Thomas met Caitlin Macnamara, whom he married in 1937. Their relationship was defined by alcoholism and was mutually destructive. In the early part of their marriage, Thomas and his family lived hand-to-mouth; they settled in the Welsh fishing village of Laugharne.
Thomas came to be appreciated as a popular poet during his lifetime, though he found earning a living as a writer difficult. He began augmenting his income with reading tours and radio broadcasts. His radio recordings for the BBC during the late 1940s brought him to the public's attention, and he was frequently used by the BBC as a populist voice of the literary scene. Thomas first travelled to the United States in the 1950s. His readings there brought him a level of fame, while his erratic behaviour and drinking worsened. His time in America cemented his legend, however, and he went on to record to vinyl such works as A Child's Christmas in Wales. During his fourth trip to New York in 1953, Thomas became gravely ill and fell into a coma, from which he never recovered. He died on 9 November 1953. His body was returned to Wales where he was interred at the village churchyard in Laugharne on 25 November 1953.
Though Thomas wrote exclusively in the English language, he has been acknowledged as one of the most important Welsh poets of the 20th century. He is noted for his original, rhythmic and ingenious use of words and imagery. His position as one of the great modern poets has been much discussed, and he remains popular with the public. Guided tours of the exhibition at the Dylan Thomas Centre can be arranged for groups of all ages. You can hear some of the world’s most well-known voices reading lines from famous Dylan Thomas works; the voices of Prince Charles and Richard Burton are among those featured. Also included are new interactive touch-screen displays that focus on Dylan’s technique, explore the notebooks he wrote in Swansea between the ages of 15 and 19, and cast a light on the circumstances surrounding his death in New York City in 1953. The museum is wheelchair accessible. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Location : Dylan Thomas Centre, Somerset Place, Swansea SA1 1RR
Transport : Swansea (National Rail) then bus (54). Bus Routes : 6, 7, 31, 32, 54, 145, 224, T6 and X3 stop close by.
Opening Times : Daily 10:00 to 16:30
Tickets : Free; admission charge for events.
Tel : 01792 463980