Closing months of WW1 marked in new site specific event in Swansea

February 1, 2018 by

The 100th anniversary of the final months of the First World War will be marked by a new site specific event from artist Marc Rees.

Based on the poem Y Gododdin / The Gododdin the two and half hour production,will be set to a new score by Jóhann Jóhannsson in collaboration with Welsh composer Owen Morgan Roberts. The libretto will be Owen Sheers  and sung by  Stephen Layton’s Polyphony. 

Examining three war stories that traverse the city from Swansea Bay to the city centre, this will form part of  14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Nawr Yr Arwr/ Now The Hero will take place in an around Swansea’s  Guildhall/Brangwyn Hall famous for The British Empire Panels by Sir Frank Brangwyn RA (1867-1956). It will form the opening event of the 2018 Swansea International Festival. 

Marc Rees said:  “Over the past number of years, I’ve discovered time and again that works of culture and creativity can open up not just buildings that have been closed for years but also communities. Now the Hero/Nawr YrArwr reflects Swansea’s rich history and sheds light on a somewhat neglected series of paintings with a tragic message in what promises to be a truly unique immersive experience. I can think of no better way to mark the final year of 14-18 NOW than to create a defining Welsh production, in poignant commemoration.”

 Nawr Yr Arwr/Now the Hero explores stories of battle from three distinct periods of Welsh history; a medieval warrior, a World War One Private and a contemporary solider and counterpoints this telling with a sense of hope via a protagonist played by the formidable Welsh performer Eddie Ladd.

The contemporary solider will be played by David Williams, a Swansea-raised Captain of 2nd Battalion The Rifles. He has served in Afghanistan, Gabon, South Sudan and Iraq and studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In January 2018, Williams left the military and plans to retrain as a therapist and powerlifting instructor whilst becoming involved in the art community of Swansea. 

‘Y Gododdin/ The Gododdin’ written by Aneurin in AD 600 is one of the oldest surviving Welsh works of poetry. The epic poem tells of the battle for Catraeth, in which almost 300 Celtic Warriors were killed. 

Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero is part of the Swansea International Festival and Visit Wales’ Year of the Sea. It has been part funded via the Visit Wales Tourism Product Innovation Fund.


A powerful memorial





& Performance 

First performance:          25 September
Final performance:         29 September

Twitter: @NowTheHero
Website: /


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