Before the poet Dylan Thomas died at the tender age of 39, he and his wife Caitlin boozed, binged and brawled their way through the bars of Britain in the 1930’s
Friday 26th July 2024
Starts 19:30 until 22:30
Laugharne Memorial Hall, Clifton Road, SA33 4QG

CAITLIN by Mike Kenny

Part of the Laugharnival Week, Caitlan by Mike Kenny will be performed on the 26 July

Before the poet Dylan Thomas died at the tender age of 39, he and his wife Caitlin boozed, binged and brawled their way through the bars of Britain in the 1930’s and 40’s. Their marriage was stormy, passionate and explosive and Caitlin tells their story, in her own brutally honest words, in this one-woman show written by Mike Kenny, directed by Steve Elias and performed by Christine Kempell.

Caitlin and Dylan were great lovers, artists and bohemians mixing with other artists and writers of their day, spending all their time in pubs, living on tick, doing scandalous things and being forgiven. Although Dylan had his tragic genius as an excuse for his behaviour, Caitlin feels that history judges her more harshly as a mother, married to the ‘Voice of God’ and having to put her own unfulfilled ambitions as a dancer on hold. Caitlin tells their story from her perspective and reveals some shocking insights into their mutually destructive relationship.

  • Having returned to Brighton Fringe in 2022, Caitlin then went on the road to Wales, playing Theatrau Sir Gar’s Miners Theatre in Ammanford and Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.
  • Caitlin played at Greenside Venues Ivy Studio as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival August 2022.
  • WLTM Productions sold out at the London Welsh Centre on 3rd and 4th October as part of the 2022 Caitlin tour. 
  • Caitlin was then commissioned to appear for one night at Blackwood Miners’ Institute on Thursday 27th October at 7.30pm with a Q and A afterwards.
  • Caitlin sold out at the Alma Tavern and Theatre Bristol in January 2023 and returned for three nights on 30th & 31st May and 1st June 2023.

This is the first time Caitlin has been performed in Laugharne since 2014 when Helen Griffen reprised her original role to mark the centenary of Dylan’s birth.  Christine and Helen had performed together in a Frank Vickery play, and it was through her friendship with Helen that Christine first saw Caitlin.

Christine says

“When I watched Helen in Caitlin I realized this was a great story and a fabulous part for a woman. I knew then that I wanted to have a go at her! When Steve came on board to direct- we were off. It’s been quite a journey getting to know her and live her life on stage. Behind the successful poet is this powerhouse of a woman who sacrificed everything for the man she loved. He could not have achieved what he did without her. Caitlin is raw, truthful and unapologetic about the life she lived and the choices she made. This is a monologue to the forgotten women everywhere whose stories deserve to be told. I am so proud to tell her story.”

Quote From Mike Kenny:


“I’d actually been carrying around one of Caitlin’s books about her life with Dylan for quite a long time. I found it in a remaindered book bin. When the anniversary of Dylan’s death was coming up, I thought it might be alternative voice. There were a lot of celebrations going on, and at that time nobody was talking about Caitlin. I think Dylan’s bad behaviour had become the stuff of legend. Caitlin wasn’t so easily forgiven.

The story appealed to me for all sorts of reasons. Caitlin’s voice is so honest. She doesn’t dress up anything, not even her own behaviour. And though in many ways her story couldn’t have been more different from my own, many things in it chimed with me.  My parents were Welsh and Irish, I am a writer, my partner is a performer. We have three children together. It gave me the opportunity to explore how difficult it is to live the life of the artist, especially if you don’t come from a background of privilege.

When Caitlin met Dylan in that pub in Soho, it was as equals. Bohemian, free-thinking, artists, drinkers. Out to make their marks in the world. Everything seemed possible. I recognise that. It’s frightening how soon the world teaches you otherwise. Children arrive. They have to be looked after. Somehow you have to feed them and yourselves. Life drives a wedge through the middle of the idyll. Add to this the toxic effect of celebrity, and things can go rapidly awry. The man has the feted career as a poet, the woman gets left at home to look after the children. Caitlin didn’t know how to change this, but there was no way in which she was just going to settle. This story happened in a time before spin and social media, but its essence is still absolutely with us now.”

Reviews of Caitlin:

Audience comments:

“Incredibly moving writing and brilliantly acted.”

“What an amazing performance.”

“I would watch it again and again.” 

“A tour de force in the production and acting.”

 Book with the link below.

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