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Wales Arts Review 3.18

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Wales Arts Review 3.18 is a bumper edition, full of top interviews, reviews, articles, and, in celebration of the upcoming momentous week for the United Kingdom, our first ever ‘pull out’ supplement, ‘Dear Scotland…’, in which our top writers pay very personal tributes to the art and culture of our Celtic cousins. Just click on the link to access it. Our ‘Dear Scotland…’ supplement also marks the beginning of a week of exclusive articles and tributes surrounding the Independence Referendum to be published over the next seven days in Wales Arts Review. So make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Facebook for notifications of when they go live.

But we lead this week with an in-depth interview with one of Wales’ most successful theatre directors, Alexander Ferris, fresh from his production of the ambitious and far-reaching community project, Housed, at London’s Old Vic Theatre. In conversation with Wales Arts Review’s Gary Raymond, Ferris discusses his early start in Welsh theatre, and how he rose to the heights of one of the world’s most prestigious venues. Raymond and Ferris also discuss the nature of theatre, the modern identity of the art form, and the current state of Welsh theatre.

But that is not the only theatre-focused conversation we have for this week. We have a Q&A with new Sherman Cymru Artistic Director, Rachel O’Riordan, on the eve of the opening of her first show in charge, Romeo & Juliet. Jon Gower discusses a life in theatre with Mark Jenkins, just before Welsh Fargo re-stage his Downtown Paradise for a tour of the country. And Craig Austin was at the Trafalgar Studios in London to see Chris Urch’s epic story of Wales in 1979, Land of Our Fathers.

We are also very proud to publish brand new fiction from Robert Minhinnick, ‘Long Haul Road’, as part of our Fiction Map of Wales in partnership with the Rhys Davies Trust; and John Lavin talks to the author about his work and outlook in ‘Building Driftwood Fires: In Conversation with Robert Minhinnick’.

As we come to the closing stages of our search for the Greatest Welsh Novel, Emma Schofield nominates In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl by Rachel Trezise, a harrowing tale of growing up in ’90s Rhondda; and Phil Morris, in a very different nomination, goes for the hugely influential classic Victorian horror of The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen.

In music, Xenia Pestova caught up with distinguished Welsh composer, organist and pianist Jeffrey Lewis on a sunny morning in Bangor to discuss his approaches to composition and musical memories.

In our latest collaboration with the Association of Welsh Writing in English, the Gregynog Papers, and in particular interest to Wales Arts Review, we publish Dr Malcolm Ballin’s fascinating investigation into the history of Welsh periodicals, ‘Cultural in/dependence from London: the role of Welsh periodicals in English: 1882-1914’.

In books, Orfhlaith Foyle finds a heartfelt testimony in the H’mm Foundation’s tribute to the late Nigel Jenkins, in Encounters with Nigel. Bethan Tachwedd takes a look at ‘a different kind of literary event’ with the Pyramid Scheme at the Kings Road Artists Studio in Cardiff. Jim Morphy reviews a fascinating and lyrical book about wild swimming, in Dip: Wild Swims from the Borderlands by Andrew Fusek Peters. Rhys Milsom reviews the first collection of short stories from novelist Tyler Keevil, The Burard Inlet. And Carl Griffin reviews two new poetry collections: Midnight, Dhaka by Mir Mahfuz Ali from Seren, and Ways to Build a Roadblock by Josh Ekroy from Nine Arches Press.

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