Theatre in Wales

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Scenes from a remarkable religious revival which swept Wales exactly one hundred years ago were re-visited in a chapel near Swansea at the week-end.

Over 400 people packed Gorseinon’s Ebenezer Chapel for a congregational hymn-singing festival by and joining in the singing of hymns which played a central role in the 1904-05 revival which attracted 100,000 followers and which profoundly affected the spiritual life of Wales and the world.

“Congregational hymn singing was, of course, central to the success of the revival’s evangelical formula,” said Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru – the Welsh National Touring Company’s Artistic Director, Cefin Roberts, who conducted the singing in Ebenezer Chapel.

“Even though the religious fever has long been extinguished the hymns remain a popular means of devotion,” he added.

The event raised £1,100 towards next year’s National Eisteddfod which will be held in Swansea.

“We appreciate Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s kind offer to hold a congregational hymn singing festival to commemorate those exciting events in the Swansea area 100 years ago,” said the Eisteddfod’s Executive Committee Chair, Heini Gruffudd.

“The experience provided the congregation with a taste of what is must have been like for those enthralled by the revival all those years ago,” he added.

The hymn singing festival coincided with the end of a seven-week tour of Wales’ main theatre venues by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru with Hen Rebel, a musical drama based on the life of one of the main instigators of the 1904-05 revival, the former collier turned trainee minister of religion from nearby Lougher, Evan Roberts

“Evan Roberts and his team of five girl songstresses become instant spiritual celebrities as the local and national newspapers of the day chronicled their spreading religious zeal,” added Cefin Roberts. “This in turn provided ideal material of a musical drama production as well as for a congregational hymn singing event,” he said. Several cast members from Hen Rebel took part in the event with songs from the production.

The last performances of Hen Rebel will be held this week in Bangor’s Theatr Gwynedd from Wednesday to Saturday evenings, 16-19 November, 2005. All performances start at 7.30pm.
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru  
web site

Tuesday, November 15, 2005back



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