Michael Sheen reads Dylan Thomas at the National Theatre ahead of Under Milk Wood - and we’re captivated

·2-min read
 (National Theatre)
(National Theatre)

Theatres are reopening next week, and nothing has got us feeling more ready than Michael Sheen roaming around the National Theatre, reciting the poetry of Dylan Thomas.

The esteemed actor will star in a new production of the Welsh wordsmith’s masterpiece Under Milk Wood this summer, and it’s already one of the hottest tickets in theatre’s great return. The famous work about a fictional Welsh fishing village is considered a literary masterpiece, and was first brought to life by Sheen’s fellow countryman Richard Burton.

Sheen previously performed the work in 2014 as part of the BBC’s centenary tribute to Thomas, but the NT’s production, to be directed by Lyndsey Turner, is a rare opportunity to see it performed as an ensemble.

Sheen read Thomas’s famous poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night to mark Dylan Thomas Day, which is now held annually on May 14 to celebrate his work. The date marks the anniversary of the first reading of Under Milk Wood on stage in New York, back in 1953 - the same year that Thomas died.

You might think going gentle into the good night is the last thing Londoners will be doing next week when the capital’s restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas and galleries reopen. But Thomas, who wrote the poem in 1951 and dedicated it to his father, was actually talking about death, urging us all to passionately resist it - or “rage, rage against the dying of the light,” as he put it.

Under Milk Wood will open in June on the Olivier stage, and Sheen’s spine-tingling reading has us more excited than ever. Tickets for the show are already sold out - but you can still get them as part of the National’s Friday Rush scheme, which offers £10 tickets for select dates of all productions. Iechya da!

Under Milk Wood is at the National Theatre from June 16 to July 24; nationaltheatre.org.uk

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas © The Dylan Thomas Trust. Find out more about International Dylan Thomas Day here

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