Once again this year, comedy will feature prominently at the Eisteddfod, with the Comedy Festival returning to various venues across the Maes
Much of the thanks for the success of the festival this year and in the past must go to Cronfa Gari, a fund set up in memory of the popular comedian and performer born and raised in the Llanrwst area, Gari Williams. And it's great that the festival has grown more than ever this year in Conwy County, with nearly 30 activities, thanks to the support of this fund.
This year sees us step into a completely new location on the Maes. As night falls, the Literary Pavilion will be transformed, as the Cwt Cabaret, the Eisteddfod’s very own Cabaret Club opens its doors for the first time at 21:00 every night. Events and activities are suitable for those aged over 14, so we’ll see a more risqué and innovative programme in the Cwt late at night.
Tudur Owen has the honour of throwing open the Cwt Cabaret doors for the first time ever, as he presents an evening of Welsh stand-up with Daniel Glyn, Beth Angell, Jams Thomas, Beth Jones and Steffan Evans. Tickets are almost gone so book now to make sure you don’t miss out.
The Cwt is also home to this year’s Mas ar y Maes (the well-received LGBT+ festival launched last year) drama commission from Sunday ‘till Tuesday night. Corn Gwlad is a fabulously funny yet heart-wrenching version of the 1924 Eisteddfod Crowning Ceremony, which saw Prosser Rhys win the Crown. This work-in-progress is a Seiriol Davies and Cwmni Pluen production, and is sure to become one of the festival’s major hits.
The Cabarela Cabaret is back again this year, appearing at the Eisteddfod for the third year. Caffi Maes B was their original home, as the concept was initially commissioned by the Eisteddfod itself. But as the show went from strength to strength, and attracted audiences in all parts of Wales, it was clear that this Eisteddfod phenomenon needed a new home.
So we opened the glitzy doors of the Cwt Cabaret and invited Lisa Angharad and friends to perform in a larger and more suitable venue for one night only, a night which has its own warning in the programme. This show is not for anyone who is easily offended. So remember, you have been warned…!
There's nothing better than an entertaining panel game - apart from a panel game that’s packed full of poetry, music and all things Eisteddfod. And that’s what we’ve got in the Cwt Cabaret on Thursday night. We can’t wait to jump into the Pen Dwfn (Deep End) and see what witty wonders await…
And there's another warning in place for Friday night’s show. 'Close the doors at the back…' Yes, it's back! No, we have no idea what to expect either, as ‘Steddfod Stifyn returns to the stage, following last year’s triumphant launch in Cardiff. So let’s have some ‘chwarae teg’ as the wonderful Stifyn Parri takes charge of the Cwt Cabaret for a night to remember!
There are comedy sessions across the Maes throughout the week. Daniel Glyn is curating a daily stand-up session in Caffi Maes B, with a women’s only line-up on Wednesday afternoon. There’s also a session for Welsh learners in Shw'mae Su'mae at the end of the week, and if you want to learn what makes good comedy, come along to the Literary Pavilion on Friday afternoon for a session with Theatr Bara Caws.
And it’s great to provide a venue for the staging of a brand new play, Bachu by Melangell Dolma, the story of Manon, a young girl, who ‘bloody loves’ the Eisteddfod. This is a tale of friendship, love and a whole host of mixed-up emotions. Catch it in Caffi Maes B on Monday to Wednesday evening and Thursday lunchtime. This is a Melangell Dolma, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Theatr Clwyd production, supported by the Eisteddfod and WMC.
Over the past few years, the Eisteddfod has become increasingly well-known for providing a platform for absurd, funny and entertaining street theatre, and this year continues the tradition, with a new show commissioned by the Eisteddfod, Articulture and the Machynlleth Comedy Festival. Step into the extraordinary life of the versatile Kitsch & Sync trio in their new show Romance on the Pavement which staged on the streets of the Maes during the week…
Looking forward to a feast of comedy on the Maes on the outskirts of Llanrwst, Eisteddfod Chief Executive Betsan Moses said, “This year's comedy offer is amazing, and it's great to experiment with a new location, the Cwt Cabaret. It’s a chance for us to experiment with a more adventurous programme, and the response so far has been very promising.
“We are very grateful to Cronfa Gari for their support this year and over the last few years. This funding has enabled us to create a number of brand new commissions, and projects such as Cabarela have gone from strength to strength after leaving the nest, which is excellent. It’s vitally important we can experiment, collaborate and co-create entirely new and innovative works, which attracts audiences not only at the Eisteddfod but across Wales following the festival.
“I very much hope we will see some of this year’s performances and comedy ideas further developing and touring in the future. There’s one thing for sure, the standard is extremely high this year and I can’t wait for people to enjoy what’s on offer.”
The Conwy County National Eisteddfod is held on the outskirts of Llanrwst from 3-10 August. For more information go online, www.eisteddfod.wales.