Starring Bryn Terfel, Hwn yw Fy Mrawd is a biopic of the opera singer and political activist, Paul Robeson. The production is a celebration of Robeson’s strong and powerful relationship with Wales, which began in London during the south Wales miners’ hunger marches in 1927 and continued until his death.
The concert traces the life of Robeson through the eyes of one of his top supporters, Mr Jones, portrayed by Bryn Terfel, as he tells the story to Twm, a young boy searching for a hero.
Hwn yw fy Mrawd is an original and new work commissioned by the National Eisteddfod, and for the first time ever, the concert will be performed twice; the first on Friday 3 August and again the following evening. The opening evening coincides with the sixtieth anniversary of Paul Robeson’s visit to the National Eisteddfod at Ebbw Vale in 1958.
Swansea University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Richard B. Davies said: “The University’s relationship with the National Eisteddfod develops and deepens every year and we are delighted to be sponsoring this year’s opening concert.
“Hwn yw fy Mrawd is a particularly suitable event for the University to sponsor, as we have a close relationship with the Robeson family and our admiration of this special hero, our ethos of being a Welsh university with an international vision, and our aspirations to develop our musical culture”.
This year, Professor Derec Llwyd Morgan will deliver the Hywel Teifi Memorial Lecture, looking at the romance between Enid Picton Davies and Thomas Parry in Cardiff 90 years ago. The lecture will be held in the Babell Lên at 11am on Thursday 9 August.
Following the memorial lecture, a reception for alumni and friends of Swansea University will be held in Ffresh in the Wales Millennium Centre at 12pm.
At 4.30pm on Tuesday 7 August, Swansea University’s pro-chancellor, Syr Roderick Evans, will chair a discussion in the Cymdeithasau 2 tent, entitled ‘Wales after Brexit’. Joined by Keith Bush QC from the Law School, Dr Simon Brooks from the Morgan Academy, and Dr Angharad Closs Stephens from the Department of Geography, they will examine Brexit’s effect on the law, politics, and Welsh nationalism.
Having recently won the Creative Non-Fiction Award in the Wales Book of the Year awards, Professor M Wynn Thomas of the English Department will launch Cyfan-dir, a Welsh adaptation of his award-winning volume, All that is Wales (University of Wales Press) at the Ffresh restaurant at the Wsles Millennium Centre on at 6pm on Monday 6 August. Dr Tomos Owen and Menna Elfyn will join Professor Thomas as they discuss his latest volume.
Dr Gwenno Ffrancon, director of Academi Hywel Teifi, said: “With it being a year of experimentation for the National Eisteddfod, Swansea University is also doing things differently at the festival this year. While supporting the Eisteddfod by sponsoring the opening concert, the University is breaking free from its stall this year and reaching out to its audience through its staff body, who are experts across a range of subjects. Talks and events by our staff will be heard all across Cardiff, enriching the Eisteddfod’s offering. We are very much looking forward to it!”
Staff and students from across the University will contribute to various events throughout the week.
Eisteddfod Crown – Monday 4 August
Emeritus Professor Christine James, former archdruid, will be one of three judges of this year’s Crown competition. At 1.30pm, Christine will be in conversation with Manon Rhys about her latest book in the Babell Lên.
Children of the Revolution? – Y Babell Lên, 11am Sunday 5 August
Sioned Williams from Academi Hywel Teifi will be chairing a discussion with Llŷr Gwyn Lewis, William Owen Roberts, Osian Owen, Grug Muse and Dr Simon Brooks, looking at who ask how much influence devolution has had on their work, if at all, and how authors can respond to devolution in their work.
Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Science Lecture – Pabell y Cymdeithasau 1, 2pm Monday 6 August
Following her recent research trip to the Greenland ice shelf, Professor Siwan Davies, a world-leading expert in climate change, will deliver the Science Lecture.
Siwper Stomp – Donald Gordon Theatre, Wales Millennium Centre, 8pm Monday 6 August
Aneirin Karadog, a research student in the Department of Welsh, will join some of the country's most famous poets for the mllenniun’s largest poetry competition – with the audience at the helm!
Barn Annual Lecture – Pabell y Cymdeithasau 1, 5.30pm Tuesday 7 August
Emeritus Professor Prys Morgan will share his memories of his brother, the former first minister of Wales and chancellor of Swansea University, Rhodri Morgan.
Carnhuanawc Society Annual Lecture – Pabell y Cymdeithasau 3, 2.45pm Wednesday 8 August
'The Cardiff Eisteddfod of 1938 and the Welsh Language Petition' will be the subject of the lecture this year and will be delivered by Professor Keith Bush CF of the Law School.
Adra - Byw yn y Gorllewin Cymraeg – Y Babell Lên, 1.30pm Thursday 9 August
Dr Simon Brooks of Swansea University’s Academy Morgan will discuss his new volume, Adra (Y Lolfa).
Law Society Wales Annual Lecture – Pabell y Cymdeithasau 2, 3pm Thursday 9 August
Professor Elwen Evans QC, head of the Law School, will deliver this year’s annual lecture.