Sioned Davies ‘Performing the Mabinogion’

Sioned Davies ‘Performing the Mabinogion’ 17 July at Chapter Arts, Cardiff. FREE.

Sioned workshop

A workshop for storytellers with Sioned Davies, Translator of the Oxford World’s Classics edition of the Mabinogion, 2007. The workshop will be held through the medium of English and will include:

  • a very brief introduction to the Mabinogion and to the medieval Welsh storyteller;
  • a discussion of what makes a good storyteller, drawing on techniques found in the tales themselves;
  • guidance regarding pronunciation of Welsh personal names;
  • a discussion regarding how we can re-invent these tales (or individual episodes) for a modern-day audience.

Participants are very welcome to bring along  with them examples of specific problems/challenges that they have found when re-telling the tales of the Mabinogion, and any questions they may have regarding the texts themselves.

For further details and to reserve a place please contact Heledd Brooks-Jones, School of Welsh, Cardiff University on 02920 870637 or



Magnificent Myths of the Mabinogi 2009

In 2008 Manon Eames presented a miraculous stage version of the full Mabinogi in Aberystwyth. (My report here, with link to some photos)

The following year Jill Williams presented a slightly adapted version perfomed at the Pontardawe Arts centre by her own stage school Class Act. Like the original, the acting team were all very young, yet the depth and complexity of the performance was truly amazing.

Jill Williams, Pontardawe.

Jill Williams, Pontardawe.

The set, using stage platforms on different levels; the atmospheric lighting, and the exquisitely appropriate costumes, all helped to take us into the timeless world of the Mabinogi.  The setting was the tribal past, mediaeval Wales, and even by way of voice tones and quick asides, modern Wales. This is just as it should be, a composite made all the better by skilful use of both the Cymraeg and English.

It is a great sadness that neither Eames mighty original, nor Williams wonderful continuance, was filmed. Let us hope this is staged again, and this time, caught on video.

Magnificent Myths of the Mabinogi 2008

Manon Eames produced a truly magnificent performance of the Mabinogi, performed by the National Youth Theatre at Aberystwyth in 2008. The entire world of the Four Branches is brought to full, enchanted life, on stage.  A perfection of Mabinogi.

Alex Robertson set designer.

Alex Robertson set designer.

A powerful and dramatically effective structure employed is a chorus (as in Greek plays), so that a crowd, a group of maids, an audience within the play, give group responses. This worked very well, in creating a rich counterpoint between the striking, major characters and the lesser ones.

The set and costume design by Alex Robertson is an especially powerful evocation of Mabinogi atmosphere.  Photos here and one example above.

National Youth Theatre Wales, national tour, 2008
Playwright Manon Eames
Director; Tim Baker
Lighting Designer; Ace McCarron
Musical Director; Dyfan Jones
Fellow Design Team; Guto Humphreys, Llinos Griffiths, Jo Nicholls

Welsh Prose 1300 -1425: Mabinogion

Original Welsh source texts, i.e. manuscript text, sometimes with variants from several manuscripts.  Includes Llyfr Gwyn, Llyfr Coch, and the Peniarth fragments.

Searching allows you to locate where particular words are used in any or all of the manuscripts; the  word list presents a guided index of all words used in the manuscripts.  Very useful to find other references to a topic. Variant spellings can also be traced.

Categorised and published University of Wales, Cardiff.