What’s on at Theatr Brycheiniog this May

Theatr Brycheiniog offers a popular and acclaimed programme of performing arts and entertainment throughout the year. Here are just some of the shows performing in the Theatre this May.

Ross Leadbeater: Great British Songbook

Thursday 18 May, 7.30pm. Tickets £14.00, Concessions £12.00

Former Only Men Aloud star and singer-pianist Ross Leadbeater joins us and celebrates his musical favorites from a century of song with a selection of classic tunes from the world of jazz, pop, music theatre and easy listening.

Ross is supported by special guest star Sophie Evans from BBC’s Over The Rainbow.


Friday 19 May, 7.30pm. Tickets £14

Fiddles, guitar, accordion, bagpipes and step dancing explode into life when CALAN, the energetic young Welsh folk band take to the stage.

They breathe fire into the old traditions with their infectious rhythms and high voltage routines before melting into some of the most beautiful and haunting songs as they explore the legends of Wales’ very own fairy realm with tales of magic, myth and mischief.

You’ve Got Dragons

Saturday 27 May, 11.00am & 2.00pm. Tickets £10.00 (concs £7.00) Family Tickets £30.50

On Saturday 27 May we bring you You’ve Got Dragons, a touching story told in a beautifully inclusive way with BSL, age appropriate audio description and video captioning wonderfully integrated throughout the action.

“Dragons come when you least expect them. You turn around… and there they are."

Worries, fears, anxieties… they are all dragons and they sneak up on most of us at one time or another. Lots of people get them. Even really really good people get them. And sometimes they are hard to get rid of.

With you, the audience, sitting on stage on benches and cushions this is the perfect show to capture the attention of children aged 4 and over. Come along and find out what a young girl with a bad case of the dragons can do.

The Tap Dancing Mermaid

Sunday 28 May, 4.00pm & Monday 29 May, 11.00am & 2.00pm. Tickets £12.00, (concs £10.00) Family

Ticket £40.00

It’s time to hear the Moon’s story, one you will NEVER forget…

Gather round for the Moon’s magical story about a tippetty-top tap dancer who he has been watching at night. Marina Skippett creeps out of her house every night to shuffle and stomp on the boardwalk to the sounds of the sea. She can’t tap dance at home any more since her evil Aunty banned it. But then, one moonlit night, Marina meets a mysterious, watery boy swimming in the sea and her life is never the same again!

Featuring stunning puppets, original live music and tap dancing that will make you want to stick 50ps to your shoes and join in!

The show is just everything a children’s theatre experience should be.Childplays

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Lowri Evans & Lee Mason performing in the Great Glasshouse on May 21st

Acclaimed Pembrokeshire-born singer-songwriter Lowri Evans stops off on her current tour at the National Botanic Garden with her partner and musical collaborator Lee Mason to perform songs from their new album ‘A Little Bit of Everything’ – a celebration of 10 years since their first album.

A truly talented vocalist, Lowri writes, records and sings both in English and Welsh, is a regular on the circuit, has toured America and, in 2014, recorded a session for BBC Radio 2’s legendary presenter Bob Harris – who described her as “a wonderful singer-songwriter”.

The performance at the Garden starts at 2pm.

Admission to the Garden is £10.50 (including Gift Aid). For more information about this or other events, call 01558 667149, email info@gardenofwales.org.uk or visit https://botanicgarden.wales 

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Mabinogion Touring Exhibition

The Oriel CRiC Gallery, Crickhowell takes the Mabinogion on tour.


Helly Powell is a Welsh textile artist living in Monmouthshire where she creates “Fauxidermy” sculptural pieces which have caught the imagination of many.

Best known for her “Parc Lodge” collection, Helly has joined forces with Welsh textile mill, Melin Tregwynt and Crickhowell’s oriel CRiC gallery to create a new collection, “The Beasts of the Mabinogion”, breathing life into the native wildlife of an ancient mystical Welsh landscape.

In celebration of the national ‘Year Of Legends’, the exhibition will go on tour, starting with an exhibition at Melin Tregwynt, a small family owned textile mill on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast  from 27 March to 5 May 2017.

Eifion Griffiths from Melin Tregwynt said, “Helly Powell’s ‘Fauxidermy’ sculptures are simply beautiful to look at. Her work appears so life-like that each animal could have just stepped out of the Welsh landscape.  This combined with the subtle mix of selected fabrics she has used gives each piece a magical quality. We’re pleased that our fabrics provided inspiration for these majestic creatures, and are excited to be one of the venues for this touring exhibition.”

Suzette Pratten from the oriel CRiC gallery, Crickhowell added, “We are delighted to be involved in this project which showcases the tradition of weaving kept alive at the Mill alongside the creative use of the textiles by Helly who has been inspired by the early Welsh collection of tales from which the Mabinogion takes its name.  Visitors to the Mill will be able to see sculptures based on Rhiannon’s horse, the boar hunt and the stag hunt, alongside smaller pieces. Combining a visit to the working mill, with an opportunity to see this unique exhibition and explore the Pembrokeshire National Park with its spectacular beaches, cliffs and coastal footpaths all within five minutes easy walk from the Mill, are the ingredients of a wonderful experience.”

The exhibition will be opened in Crickhowell during the annual Open Studio weekend where it will be shown in the CRiC Studio exhibition space from 26 May to 23 June 2017.” Further information on the exhibition will be found at http://www.visitcrickhowell.co.uk  www.fauxidermy.co.uk  or by following the hashtag #fauxmabinogion on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The project has been funded by the Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund which aims to encourage partnership working and innovative ideas which will have a greater impact and attract more visitors.

Further information on the exhibition will be found at www.visitcrickhowell.co.uk , www.fauxidermy.co.uk  and by following the creative process on Helly’s blog https://fauxidermy.co.uk/diary/


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Crickhowell Open Studios

The Art Trail of Open Studios champions and celebrates local artists and their work. It is an annual event which takes place during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend in May (27 – 29 May 2017). It affords visitors the opportunity to explore and enjoy the beautiful Brecon Beacons and surrounding countryside whilst visiting the studios of some of the area’s exceptional artists. 

The Mabinogion Touring Exhibition will be opened during the annual Open Studio weekend where it will be shown in the CRiC Studio exhibition space from 26 May to 23 June 2017. More here.

Please contact the Open Studio Coordinator, Suzette Pratten, if you would like any further information. Free guides to the Crickhowell Open Studio weekend will be  available at CRiC and many other outlets from 28 April onwards  or can be viewed by clicking here.
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The Hay Festival 2017

It’s that time of year again for gaggles of bookworms to get their thinking caps at the ready for 11 days of thought provoking entertainment in the wonderfully independent town of Hay On Wye. This year it’s even more special, it’s the festivals 30th birthday and everyone is invited! Hay Festival Wales takes place 25 May – 4 June in Hay-on-Wye, bringing writers and readers together to share stories and ideas in events that inspire, examine and entertain. Browse the programme and buy tickets. 

Hay Festival ©

The line up is (truly) better than ever this year with some of the biggest names in showbusiness venturing into the fields of Hay-on-Wye. We’ll have an influx of world famous celebrities such as Eddie Izzard, Nick Clegg, singer Amy Mcdonald, TV personality Graham Norton, Olympian Tom Daley and even US senator Bernie Sanders will be making an appearance.

For those who are after somewhere to lay your weary head for the night, check out our accommodation pages here. 

There’s so much on it’s hard to choose but here are our predicted highlights for this year. If you’re tempted do go to the website for the full programme of events…

Thursday 25th May

7:30pm-Morgan & West
Time travelling magic duo Morgan & West present an evening chock full of jaw-dropping, brain-bursting, gasp-eliciting feats of magic. The dashing chaps offer up a plateful of illusion and impossibility, all served with wit, charm and no small amount of panache. Be sure to wear a hat – Morgan & West might just blow your mind. ‘Dazzlingly clever and very funny! Superb!’  £8.30

8:30pm –Eddie Izzard
Lecture from thoe poet, children’s writer and campaigner for literature, whose works include We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. £5

Friday 26th May

4pm-Nick Clegg talks to Matthew d’Ancona
The former Deputy Prime Minister lifts the lid on the workings and failings of the 2010–2015 coalition government, analyses the 2017 European electoral cycle, and assesses the opportunities for the liberal centre ground of politics.  £8.30

7pm-Miriam González Durántez
In this first of the Festival’s flagship 30th anniversary project sessions, the Spanish international trade lawyer re-imagines the European Union. González Durántez was previously the Middle East Adviser to the External Relations Commissioner in the European Union, having started her career as a trade negotiator at the World Trade Organisation. Chaired by Matthew d’Ancona.  £8.30

9:45pm-Amy Macdonald in concert
A Hay debut for the Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist with the achingly beautiful voice, and the lyric gift and rapturous beats that move hearts and dancing shoes. Macdonald released her debut album This Is the Life in 2007. The singles Mr Rock & Roll and This Is the Life were chart hits. Earlier in 2017 she released her album Under Stars.£26.30

Saturday 27th

11:30- Dick Vs Dom
Dick and Dom are coming back to Hay, and will be having a riot on stage with their new show Dick vs Dom where they split the crowd in half and everyone play games against one another in the audience and on stage. It’s either that or everyone will just sit in silence and have 45 mins quiet reading time together… £9.30Hay Festival ©

2:30-Peter Singer talks to Stephen Fry
The Australian writer and thinker is often described as the world’s most influential living philosopher. He is known especially for his work on the ethics of our treatment of animals, for his controversial critique of the sanctity of life ethics in bioethics, and for his writing on the obligations of the affluent to aid those living in extreme poverty. His books include Animal Liberation, Practical Ethics, The Most Good You Can Do, The Life You Can Save, Famine, Affluence and Morality, and most recently Ethics in the Real World: 82 Brief Essays on Things That Matter. He talks to the Festival president.

4PM-Ed Balls talks to Joan Bakewell
The highs and lows of life in and out of politics – from the despatch box to Strictly stage with one of Britain’s most influential and charming political figures. He’s funny, and acute about the madhouse of Parliament. Ed Balls is not currently an MP.

5:30-Tom Daley
The Olympian diving star shares what he’s learned about how to stay fit, healthy and positive. His secrets include delicious food, workouts anyone can do (he promises!) and invaluable motivational and lifestyle tips. He talks to the award-winning sports writer Carolyn Hitt. £9.30

7PM-Graham Norton talks to Viv Groskop
The actor and comedian introduces his debut novel Holding in which the loves and secrets and losses of an Irish community are exposed when human remains are found on a farm. Norton’s best-selling memoirs include The Life and Loves of a He-Devil and So Me. Sold Out.

Sunday 28th May

4pm- Jacqueline Wilson
Join Jacqueline Wilson as she introduces her new book, set in the Second World War. She will also discuss how she started her writing career and created some of her best-loved characters including Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather. There will be no book signing after this event but printed bookplates with Jacqueline’s signature will be available with every book bought in the Festival Bookshop. Age 9+  £7.30

The new show from the star of Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Have I Got News for You and Q.I. From Morris Dancing to Morrissey, Shappi is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of her arrival in Britain. She’s reclaiming patriotism and sending a love letter to her adopted land. The daughter of an exiled writer and comic from Iran, Shappi’s upbringing has been in no way conventional. From mental illness to opium dens, it’s all gone on in the Khorsandi household and now she recounts it all the only way she knows how, with wit, warmth and hilarity. £10.30

Monday 29th May

1pm- Yanis Varoufakis talks to Gillian Tett
As Greek finance minister, Varoufakis confronted the EU head-on over debt. He tells a tale of brinkmanship, hypocrisy, collusion and betrayal, and he issues an urgent call to renew European democracy.

7pm-Tristram Hunt
The new Director of the V&A explores the role of culture and curation in a world turning on a new axis, where intelligence is artificial and some pots are still priceless; where a common wealth of resources and makers can fashion global treasures.

Price: £7.30

Tuesday 30th May

5:30PM-Brian May-QUEEN IN 3-D
A unique opportunity to share the guitarist’s 46-year vision of his fellow band members, Freddie Mercury, John Deacon, Roger Taylor, as well as Brian himself backstage, on tour and onstage, captured here in 3-D stereoscopic photographs.

3-D glasses will be provided. Website – www.queenin3-d.com   £30.30

Wednesday 31st May

5:30pm- Michael Parkinson-MUHAMMAD ALI: A MEMOIR
In conversation with his son Mike, his producer, the peerless interviewer recounts his meetings with some of the world’s most extraordinary cultural figures on his television show Parkinson; in particular, he recalls the notable Muhammad Ali interviews, which form the basis of his latest book.  £15.30

9:30pm-Will Young and the Jazz Quintet
Following on from the release of Summer Covers, an eclectic mix of fan-favorite jazz covers, Will Young returns to the stage with his incredibly talented band for a rare performance. Alongside some classic jazz standards, he will also perform new adaptations. Also, expect an abundance of funny stories and charming commentary throughout!

Thursday 1st June

1pm- Jeremy Bowen
OUR MAN IN THE MIDDLE EAST. The BBC’s Middle East Editor returns home to bring the news from Mosul, Gaza and Jerusalem. His 25-part series for Radio 4 about the region’s history starts on 15 May. He combines first-hand accounts from the front line with analysis of the politics, economics and societies he’s reported on since he first arrived in the Gulf in 1990. Chaired by Peter FlorenceHay Festival©

5:30pm-Adam Henson
LIKE FARMER, LIKE SON-The Countryfile star and visionary farmer explores his bond with his life-long hero: his father, Joe. In the 1940s and ’50s Joe, the son of stage and film star Leslie Henson, chose a completely different path and decided to pursue a career as a farmer. Joe overcame a serious stammer to become a regular broadcaster on Country Matters. He became the saviour of Britain’s rare breeds and opened the world’s first Farm Park Price: £10.30

Friday 2nd June

2:30pm- Anthony Horowitz
NEVER SAY DIE-Alex Rider is back. Join the author as he reveals what’s in store in the next chapter of his legendary character’s life as he is forced to leave his home in San Francisco and head back east. There are some old friends and old enemies and, above all, there is plenty of action, adrenaline and adventure. 9+  £7.30

Saturday 3rd June

1pm-Chris Tarrant
EXTREME RAILWAY JOURNEYS-In the last two years Chris’ travels have taken him from Azerbaijan to Bolivia and Zimbabwe. He brings to life the romance of travelling by train, and the sights, sounds and smells of the countries and places visited. Chaired by Oliver Balch.  £8.30

4pm-Bernie Sanders talks to BBC’s HARDtalk
HARDtalk is the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme. In this special edition recording at Hay, presenter Stephen Sackur interviews Bernie Sanders, the United States Senator for Vermont and the longest serving independent in U.S. congressional history. To be broadcast during the week of 5 June on BBC World News and BBC News Channel

5:30pm-Michael Sheen
The Welsh actor has made some of the most articulate interventions in political debates of the past years. Now returned home from Hollywood to Port Talbot, he talks about culture and society and the humane vision and tradition that Bevan inspires. Chaired by Phil George.

7pm-Bernie Sanders
Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In
The US Senator’s brand of populism has galvanised new generations to engage with politics.

Sunday 4th June

2:30pm-Bill Bailey talks to Jon Gower
The comedian introduces his humorous and very personal guide to his favourite British birds, complete with drawings, notes and cartoons and some spectacular impressions. ‘When herons are spooked they have a habit of vomiting as a defence. Half-digested pieces of eel and water vole skull on your head is not a good look. Just so you know. £8.30

There are many more great events and still plenty of tickets available so go online to find out more!

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What’s on this May


Hay Festival Of Literature and The Arts-25th May- 4th June

Celebrating 30 years, Hay Festival has brought together writers from around the world to debate and share stories at its festival in the staggering beauty of the Welsh Borders. Hay celebrates great writing from poets and scientists, lyricists and comedians, novelists and environmentalists, and the power of great ideas to transform our way of thinking. We believe the exchange of views and meeting of minds that our festivals create inspire revelations personal, political and educational. Hay is, in Bill Clinton’s phrase, ‘The Woodstock of the mind’.

View our guide to the festival here. 

Crickhowell Open Studios-27-29th May

The Art Trail of Open Studios champions and celebrates local artists and their work. It is an annual event which takes place during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend in May (27 – 29 May 2017). It affords visitors the opportunity to explore and enjoy the beautiful Brecon Beacons and surrounding countryside whilst visiting the studios of some of the area’s exceptional artists. Find out more here. 

Summer of Stories at Tretower Court and Castle– 30 May 2017

Wales is renowned worldwide for its literature and poetry, and this summer you will be able to experience the best of Welsh tale spinning. In conjunction with Summer of Stories, Cadw invites you to join a storyteller at a site near you this May and June to celebrate Wales’s oral heritage.Listen to stories based on historical characters, legends and myths from across Wales. Drop in to listen to a story based on Welsh culture and heritage.Each story can last up to 30 minutes. No booking required.

Image result for geopark activity day
Geopark Activity Day – 31st May 2017- 10am – 4pm.

Come and join us for a fun filled family activity day at Craig-y-nos Country Park.  Free entry, car park £5.

There will be lots of activities for all ages, including the very popular zip-wire, geocaching, woodland games and traditional crafts, plus lots more to see, do and discover.


National Botanic Gardens of Wales– 20th May

Make your own beautiful round basket from willow and a variety of foraged hedgerow material including birch, dogwood, hazel and ivy. Learn how to identify and select suitable natural materials for hedgerow weaving as well as the traditional techniques to weave a small round basket. The tutor will be Mel from  www.outtolearnwillow.co.uk and a small cost for materials to be paid on the day.

To enquire about a booking or if you have a question please e-mail education@gardenofwales.org.uk

Also on Offer….

Greenman Festival will be bringing a taste of Wales to the Capital this May Bank Holiday!……

Courtyard Festival by Greenman in Kings Cross- Thursday 25th May 2017 – Monday 29th May 2017

A beast of a beer fest at the Green Man Festival this May Bank Holiday.  This May bank holiday, Welsh music festival organiser Green Man returns to King’s Cross with a beast of a beer festival.

Courtyard, Green Man Festival, King's CrossGreat beer
Over 140 of the best Welsh beers and ciders from independent breweries will be on offer. This really is a treat for beer and cider connoisseurs.Great music
Pinegrove will be topping the party, bringing their emphatically endearing country-rock with them; Swedish export and GM favourites Dungen join us too; and following the release of their fifth album last month, Dutch Uncles will light up King’s Cross with their brilliantly witty, hip-swivelling left-field music. Plus founding member of The Coral, Bill Ryder-JonesHuw Stevens on the decks and many more.

Great fun
Expect weird and wonderful walkabout performances, puppet making, facepainting, street dance workshops, a kid’s disco, puppet theatre plus much much more. And there will be a daily twmpath (a Welsh ceilidh for those who don’t know!).

Great food
Wrap your chops around a sizzling selection of Welsh street food. Straight from the top of the bank at the back of Mountain’s Foot, The Grazing Shed will serve up their Super Tidy Burgers, delicious international flavours served on hand made corn tortillas from The Bearded Taco and FFWRNES will serve the most delicious Welsh stone-baked pizza all weekend.

The details
Courtyard will be at Lewis Cubitt Square from 25th to 29th May. Book your tickets here. You’ll also find the artist line-up and all the info on the beers and ciders.


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Walking Macnamara’s Road & visiting Maen Llwyd by Simply Strolling

We’re thrilled to have a guest blog by Julie Bell from Simply Strolling to share with you today – walking Macnamara’s Road and a visit to Maen Llwyd Standing Stone – we hope you enjoy!

Walking in the Grwyne Fechan Valley is potentially my favourite valley in the Brecon Beacons National Park, well this week anyway! I love how the land rises up ahead of you to lead you to one of the most awesome views when you reach the shoulder just below Pen Trumau.P1080356

My trusty companions Max & Lottie making sure that we are on track……

Map needed; OS Explorer OL13

Parking area; SO230247 but park carefully as the farmer needs access to the track that leads from this parking area into fields.

Distance 15.75km, allow 5.5hrs.

Can be very boggy underfoot in wet weather, very boggy! Good paths on the tops though and on Macnamara’s road itself.

A walk that is full of a gradual pull for the first half, a lovely yomp across the top using the upland conservation volunteers new path, a steep descent to the standing stone and to the stream. A nice meander back to the car and a stop off to view the Hermitage as the gate was open!

Setting off from the car you follow the road, passing the ruined Hermitage on your right-hand side, until it becomes a forestry track, take the left-hand path, the stream will be on your left-hand side. You will eventually come out into a farm roadway where there are very often sheep grazing. Follow the well-defined path until you dip down towards Tal y Maes Bridge. P1080347

Cross the bridge, supposedly the most photographed bridge in the Brecon Beacons) follow what is known as Macnamara’s Road all the way to the col.

This is a legendary road supposedly built to enable one John Macnamara gain easy access from his estate, and wife in Llangoed Hall, to his mistress in the Hermitage in the beautiful Grwyne Fechan Valley. John supposedly won Llangoed in a card game in 1790 and proceeded to live a life inspired by his membership of the “Hell Fire Club” full of drunkenness and debauchery. He can to a sticky end, when, during a drunken coach race he was thrown for his coach on the col at Pen Trumau and he broke his neck. No one really mourned his death in May 1818 and his wife proceeded to turn the fortunes of the estate around. His son Arthur and wife Mary left the estate in the late 1820’s to concentrate on their other lands but not before Mary had a set of boundary stones erected in various places on the hills warning people that they were very much on her land!

The road is also a bridleway so don’t be surprised if you see Trekkers from the local Trans Wales riding school on the path. P1080361

Keep following the path until you reach Pen Trumau. On Pen Trumau you will see what looks like strange lines in the peat. This is known as the Woollen Line, placed here in the last few years to help peat and soil to recover and re-establish plant life on the hill after it was ravaged by a fire in the 1970’s. The area has never recovered its natural habitat and the wool was brought up having been seeded so that it would help to stop the erosion. Only time will tell how successful the attempt has been.


You are now going to follow the path that will take you to the highest summit in the Black Mountains, Waun Fach.

The views however from Pen Trumau are stunning and some of the best (on a clear day!) that I think you would see in the Brecon Beacons.

From the beginning of the well defined new pathway laid by the uplands conservation volunteers you will eventually come to the summit of Waun Fach, there used to be an upturned trig on the summit but this has been removed, the summit is now marked by a small cairn, just to the right of where the trig once sat.

Follow the path…… have look at the work that has been done to stop the peat erosion and the areas that they are trying to re-establish as bog. It’s a really interesting project that has had the vast majority of the work carried out by volunteers. P1080384P1080383

Your next summit is directly ahead, I always think that this summit looks like a 1960’s sci-fi ufo……. but that could just be me! The next summit is called Pen Y Gadair Fawr.

When you hit this summit do take a moment to drink in the views! P1080393

From the summit, you are going to take a track downwards to your right. There are a few lesser trodden routes down, take whichever puts less pressure on your knees! Your next stop will be at Maen Llwyd, my favourite standing stone.


Maen Llwyd is the highest standing stone in Southern Britain. If you looking at it from behind, so towards the col/shoulder below Pen Trumau you will see how the top of the stone is the same as the ridge straight ahead of you.


From the stone, you will basically follow the line of the forestry until you descend back into the bottom of the valley. At the river, the Afon Fechan, you have a choice, head back up onto Macnamara’s road or follow the river back to Tal y Maes bridge. On this occasion, we followed the river but I wouldn’t recommend this way on days after heavy rain as there would be areas that would involve wading through deep fast flowing water! We were lucky enough to spot dippers, pied wagtails, grey wagtails, wheatears & skylarks on this occasion.

When you reach the bridge retrace your earlier path back to the car.

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