Hefin Robinson wins the Drama Medal

4 August 2016

Hefin Robinson, originally from Carmarthen has won the Drama Medal at this year’s National Eisteddfod.  

Third in the competition two years ago and second last year, today he received the Drama Medal in a ceremony on the Pavilion stage, with an adjudication warmly praising his work.

The Drama Medal is presented for a stage play of any length.  The most promising play with the most potential for further development with a professional company is awarded the Medal, presented in memory of Urien Wiliam, by his wife, Eiryth and the children, Hywel, Sioned and Steffan, and £750, donated by the Huw Roberts Memorial Fund, Pwllheli.

The judges were Aled Jones Williams, Catrin Jones Hughes and Ffion Haf, and the adjudication was delivered from the stage by Catrin Jones Hughes, who said, “This year saw an encouraging twelve entries for the Medal.  It was a pleasure to hear new voices in the theatre world in Wales and to savour the varied visions of the twelve.  It’s always interesting to hear writers’ ideas about the world, and in particular, in this competition, as a number of themes and subjects are aired in such different ways by different competitors.

“In many ways, Thomas Jerome Newton’s play ‘Estron’ is a play about a play.  The play literally comes into being before our eyes on the stage.  It all feels like a fantasy.  We are haunted.  The boundaries between the stage and the set, between the actor and the character and the script on the stage and the script as written on the computer are demolished.  Skype is used in the same way as Beckett used the tape in Krapp’s Last Tape.

“There is a daring freshness in this work by an experimental, confident writer, who is not afraid to break the ‘rules’.  It is partly serious, partly tongue-in-cheek, playful, beautiful, but through it all imaginative.  This is someone who knows how to use the theatrical space and also how to deconstruct it.  We can see the exciting potential in staging this work. 

“There is potential in ‘Man Gwyn - Fan Hyn’ and ‘Jenga’ and although ‘Top Coch’ is short, there is something which grips the reader.  For its young energy Yfa di dy goffi ... ’ rises above these but ‘Estron’ and ‘I ble’r ei di f’anwylyd?’are far ahead.  The three of us would have been happy to award the Medal to either of these plays, but ‘Estron’ wins for its energy, daring and blatant theatre.”

“However, ‘I ble’r ei di f’anwylyd?’ is a very close second to ‘Estron’ and we suggest that a theatre company should take a look at the play.  The three of us are happy to announce, unanimously, that this year’s Drama Medal is awarded to Thomas Jerome Newton for ‘Estron’.”

Originally from Carmarthen and having been educated locally, Hefin Robinson graduated in Drama at Aberystwyth University before working as an actor in a number of theatre in education projects.  Moving to Stratford-upon-Avon to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, he gained valuable experience watching the masters at work in a world-famous creative organisation.

He then moved to London to study Shakespeare’s work at LAMDA before returning to Wales where he worked for the National Trust and BBC Worldwide.  He now lives in Cardiff and works for the Wales Millennium Centre whilst continuing with his theatre and writing work.

His other interests include composing and playing the piano, art, nature, reading, films, going to the theatre – and pizza!

The Cyfansoddiadau a Beirniadaethau includes the full adjudication for this competition and the winners of all the other composition winners at this year’s Eisteddfod.  The volume is published at the end of the Chairing Ceremony on Friday afternoon.