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Michael Sheen is listed as appearing at the Laugharne Weekend festival.
The Laugharne Weekend is an annual literary an arts festival that is held at Laugharne every Spring. The festival concentrates on literature and music, drawing largely from writers and musicians from Wales, or who have a connection with Wales. This year’s festival is set to run from April 15th to 17th.
The village of Laugharne is in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, and was once the home of renowned Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
Michael Sheen is scheduled to be interviewed by radio DJ and presenter, Stuart Maconie at 7:00pm on Saturday 16th April at 7:00pm. For the rest of the line up, please visit their website here.
Tickets to the festival cost £65 for the whole weekend, and are now on sale through Ticketweb either online or via telephone on 08700 600 100.
A limited range of tickets for individual events are available to buy in person from The Castle Stores in Laugharne.
Who said the age of the cinema is dead?After a gap of nearly 23 years, the silver screen is returning to Penrhiwceiber Hall near Mountain Ash, Cynon Valley. Penrhiwceiber Hall & Tri yn Un Communities First have teamed up to restore The Flicks to the Hall for a 5-week Cieber Film Festival during February/March 2011,
Members of the public queued around the block for the re-opening, and the staff all dressed in 1940′s uniforms to recapture the heyday of the cinema. The audience were treated with a good luck message from Hollywood courtesy of Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, whose film The Edge Of Love is being shown during the festival.
There was more excitement when the audience learned Hollywood star Michael Sheen will be paying a very special visit to the hall to take part in a Q&A session with the public on Saturday, 12 March at 2pm, ahead of a screening of Tiger Bay. He said:
“The Penrhiwceiber Institute has a glorious and inspiring history. I want to do everything I can to help the hall’s trustees and all the work that Communities First are doing for it to once again take its rightful place at the heart of the community”
Tickets are available from the box office.
Telephone: 01443 473711
£2 Adult £1 Child & concessions – a bargain!
Michael Sheen will join police officers and patrons of safety charities to launch the Wales By Bike initiative.
Sheen, who grew up in Port Talbot and is also a motorbike enthusiast, will speak at the event in Swansea Valley.
The campaign is also backed by Melanie Davies, who was paralysed after a biking accident when she was 15, but is still passionate about motorcycles.
She said she was keen to ensure that others didn’t suffer the same fate.
“One minute I was walking – I’m 6ft tall and had a promising career as a possible model – and it just all went”
“It was on 10 May 1980 – I was 15 years old and going out with a 19-year-old who I thought was God and had a massive bike,” she said.
“We’d been to Porthcawl for a day out and were driving back along Aberavon seafront and we ended up going a round a 90 degree bend with sand in the road.
“He lost control of the bike and I was flung through the air and landed on a wall and consequently broke my back.
“One minute I was walking – I’m 6ft tall and had a promising career as a possible model – and it just all went.
“(I was) trying to come to terms with the fact that I would never walk again, that I would not be in control of my bladder and other bodily parts.”
The number of bikers killed on Welsh roads has reduced from its peak in 2007, but safety campaigners say there is still work to be done to bring down the number of motorcycle fatalities.
The Wales by Bike leaflet, now in its fifth year, has been designed to provide bikers across Wales with tips on how to be safe, common causes of accidents and training advice.
Melanie is also the founder of the Treat Trust who are raising funds to provide a world class rehabilitation centre in Wales.
A write up from someone who attended the presentation of Michael Sheen’s James Joyce Awards at University College Dublin.
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So last week, my favourite actor, Michael Sheen, came to my college to accept an award in recognition of his services to acting (ie. an excuse to get famous people to come in). After the formalities, he then entered into a Q&A session, which went on to last about 90 mins, in which he covered a myriad of topics – from how he got started in theatrical work to future plans. Below are a few of the highlights of the night and some quotes. This blog proved to be much, much longer than I anticipated, so feel free to skip forward to the parts that interest you.
Early Acting Career
He told us a bit about his growing up in Wales, at a time when he appeared to heading for a significantly different career. As a youngster, he was a talented footballer, and was even offered Arsenal trials by the father of future England Captain, Tony Adams. On the advice of Sheen’s father (who is now a professional Jack Nicholson lookalike), Michael rejected the opportunity to continue living with his family. Instead, he chose to move into the arts – “Somewhere at the back of my mind I always accepted I was going to be an actor”, though he drew inspiration from a rather unusual source:
“I think I’m the only actor who got inspired to be an actor by a critic: Kenneth Tynan. I found a book of Kenneth Tynan theatre criticism called A Prospect of the English Stage. I was reading his reviews of Olivier on stage and that’s what made me want to be an actor. It gave me a kind of something to aspire toward.”
However, it was only after winning the Laurence Olivier Bursary Award from The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts that he realised that a career in acting was possible. He now points to this as the crucial point in his career, as it afforded him the opportunity to appear in the West End production of When She Danced – “I went into this amazing first job and learned from Vanessa Redgrave and spent six months doing a play with her. It was incredible and it started my career.”
Playing the historical figure
Someone then asked him about his reasoning for taking on so many roles as well known people from recent history. Interestingly, he said that the amount of biographical acting jobs he’s got has been purely coincidental and that he simply chose them due to the quality of script -
“It’s ambiguity that I am most drawn to in characters,” he said “It’s not about the person; it’s about the story. The reason why I’ve played these real-life people is because on the whole, they’ve all been written by the same man.”
Also fascinating was his perception of his own performances and how he approaches the parts:
“I can only play myself. The only raw material is me, and so when you’re playing a real person, it’s a long process. I can get somewhere hopefully close to some kind of spirit of them, or at least my connection to them. So I’m ultimately playing myself in a different set of certain circumstances.”
To further help explain his point, he used The Damned United as an example :
“It’s a long process for me. I completely immerse myself in the life of the person. Brian Clough was a Sinatra fan and he liked ‘ Saturday Night Sunday Morning’, so you find little clues, like knowing those snippets of information.” “With Albert Finney, you watch that film and you say ‘Ah I see, so Clough was kind of basing himself on the Albert Finney character’, so you start to get a sense of how much he was kind of creating a myth of himself and how much he was self consciously playing the role of Brian Clough at times.”
Sheen also explained his philosophy and goals when approaching a role, believing that actors have a certain level of responsibility, in terms of their performance:
“It behoves us all as artists to try and make people more human, to strive to understand people in all their complexity. You put all that stuff together and hopefully at the end of it comes a great performance.”
When asked about his role as Tony Blair, he admitted a degree of concern about how viewers would respond to both him and the version of events. “We had no idea whether the audience would take it seriously or whether an audience would accept me as Blair”, “It’s a very dangerous area I suppose, because people are inevitably going to watch something and partly feel that’s the way things were, so you do have to be incredibly careful.”
As Tony Blair
He went on to talk in great depth about Blair – from how he viewed him before meeting the former PM to his thoughts on him now.
“Funnily enough, the more I find out about the person, the less judgemental I become. “People always say: ‘what do you think about Tony Blair having played him three times?’ I have less and less of an opinion about him. The way I’ve played Blair has always involved the idea of a mask and that one of his tools that he uses in the earlier days.”
He revealed that he hadn’t met Blair until a couple of years ago, resulting in a rather humorous tale about their encounter together. When in the US, Sheen was contacted by Rupert Murdoch, who thought it would be hilarious to get him to come over for dinner while Tony was staying them. Initially, Sheen was reluctant, but was eventually persuaded, realising the madness of the whole situation and in hope of seeing how many “dead bodies” he could find in the Murdoch household. Sheen explained that the encounter was incredibly awkward though immensely enjoyable, as Blair “really wants you to like him”, but at the same time hated Sheen for his portrayal of him in The Queen (though he claimed never to have seen it).
After the brief meeting, Sheen and Blair kept on opposite sides of the dinner table, leaving Michael surrounded by Blair’s aides and PR people. As the night wore on, they became increasingly drunk, gradually telling more embarrassing stories to the still-sober Sheen – the most notable being that Blair had a pair of lucky silk Union Jack boxer shorts. During his farewells, Sheen casually mentioned them to Blair, who was horrified that he knew and was even more worried about what else his aides had said. Throughout the story, Sheen was especially animated – clearly enjoying himself a great deal. When filming The Special Relationship, he even managed to film a shot in which he (as Blair) was seen packing a pair of such boxers into a suitcase – though the scene was ultimately cut.
Later on in the session, I got to ask him about his plans to get involved in work behind the camera. Sheen seemed to be particularly interested in writing in the future and to a lesser extent, directing. Currently, he has bought the rights to film adaptations to several non-fiction novels and is in the process of writing one of them at the moment (unfortunately, I didn’t manage to catch its title). “The more I work in film, the more I start to appreciate other people’s jobs within it. I’m more appreciative of what it takes to make a film and the work and artistry that goes into all the different areas of it.”
30 Rock appearances and Woody Allen
Sheen spoke a great length about his experience on 30 Rock, in which he appeared as Wesley Snipes.
“It was really intimidating because of Tina Fey. The whole group of writers on it, that are very young, are so sharp and so brilliant. Tina would say: ‘Oh don’t worry about that the script, this time just do whatever you want to do.’ So that was kind of scary but brilliant, as you realise that she writes for you specifically and then the character kind of evolved and got weirder and weirder the more she worked with me.”
I found this quite surprising – the guy seemed really natural on the show and displayed great comedic timing, but he clearly seemed to find the whole thing both challenging and immensely rewarding. It’s also worth noting that he confirmed that he’ll be returning to the show in the near future (which is wasn’t aware of previously) and has already planned out with Fey what they’ll be doing:
“I’m really looking forward to going back. We had this idea that we would recreate Wesley Snipes movies, but for my Wesley Snipes.”
Although his time on the show was a success, he said that he didn’t wish to make the permanent move to TV, instead wishing to pursue other independent projects.
Following this, he was asked to draw comparison between Fey and Woody Allen, whom he’d worked with on Midnight in Paris:
“You can’t really compare them, they’re both brilliant and have brilliant minds. Woody is an auteur and Tina is a brilliant comedy actress and writer. They both have a sense of being very good at documenting what life is actually like in a brilliantly funny way. But Tina Fey plays a mean game of Boogle, so maybe she would edge it just for that. What I found fascinating about Woody was that he doesn’t let you play subtexts at all. Characters are revealed to what he chooses to write about in each scene, he is a pre-Freudian director. He doesn’t want actors to play what’s going on under the surface, he just wants you to play the surface constantly, and then the revelation of character comes through the actions he gives to the characters in the scenes.”
Another revelation was that he was in the running for the role of Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming adaptation of The Hobbit. Sheen seemed keen on landing the role, having filmed his versions in the school playground when he was a kid. Apparently he was being strongly considered for the part too, but eventually pulled out as it would require him to spend a significant amount of time in New Zealand – away from his daughter, Lily, in L.A.
He talked about a huge amount of other topics – from his perception of Hollywood, googling himself after reviews for Twilight came out (which he describes as the new form of “celebrity self-harm“), his thoughts on the Total Recall remake, singing Irish rugby songs with Javier Bardem and Tom Hanks getting overwhelmed with excitement after seeing Diana Ross at an Oscar party (if you want me to retell any of those, just comment below!).
I would go into further detail, but this is already waaaay too long for anyone to realistically read through. All in all, it was a really great evening. Throughout, he came across as really grounded, friendly and genuinely funny. Afterwards, he stuck around for signatures and pictures too, even after spending a good chunk of time answering questions. He seemed like a really nice guy and I look forward to his future projects. My only regret – Rachel McAdams was sitting behind us the entire evening – I never realised she was there… : /
WELSH actor Michael Sheen and singer Paul Potts came home last night to persuade their countrymen to share their dream of establishing a world-class health and rehabilitation centre in Wales.
The pair were in their hometown of Port Talbot to raise the profile of the Treat Trust’s £10m appeal, which will be kick-started on February 25 with an all-star dinner.
Melanie Davies – who was left paraplegic at 15 after a motorcycle accident – and her retired surgeon husband, Mike, founded TREAT (Treatment, Rehabilitation, Exercise And Therapy) in 2000.
They hope to start construction before 2015. The building will include ramped-access to a heated swimming pool and modern gymnasium, as well as physiotherapy and complementary therapies including music and art.
At a press conference at the town’s Blanco’s Hotel last night, the superstars said: “It’s no pipe dream – where in it for the long run.”
It’s a dream that’s already taking form – Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board has offered a suitable site next to Morriston Hospital for a peppercorn rent, while the determined couple have managed to secure building materials and services from professionals.
Hollywood star Sheen – currently in Wales working on the Passion Plays after filming the Twilight vampire saga – became involved after his father Meyrick got to know Treat founder Melanie and is now the trust’s president.
Britain’s Got Talent star Potts became a patron after choosing it as his local charity.
Sheen, 41, told the Western Mail: “My mother Irene recently had a hip replacement operation and I’m very well aware of how big a challenge rehabilitation is over months and months –something like Treat would be able to help hugely in that process.
“You only need to go on the beach to see people in wheelchairs, their carers . . . people with all sorts of obstacles in their lives, to realise what a lift this would give them.
“There are very few places like this in the world and Treat would be so innovative and unique.
“I care very much about the people of my hometown and would be very proud to be helping to create a world class facility for them that they deserve.”
Melanie knows first hand the difference such a facility will make to the people of South Wales and she has won the backing of a formidable group of patrons, trustees and supporters.
Currently fighting her second bout of breast cancer, the 31-year-old won’t let a little thing like a recession stop her. The couple are now putting together a business case hoping for matched funding from the Assembly Government.
She said: “People are still suffering, disabled, needing rehabilitation – a positive lift regardless of the financial circumstances.
“We still have a duty to care and help and support people back into a full and independent life, making a contribution to society and releasing NHS beds.
“This will be a place for everyone – we were put on this planet for a purpose and there’s no better one than this. We’ve just got to go for it.”
Former phone salesman Potts – now a world-class singer – was effusive but determined: “I know of just how low I was, being long-term unemployed. Treat will be there for everyone and everyone can do their bit to help.
“It’s great to have a vision and I’ve no doubt that we’ll make it happen. It’s just a matter of when.”
With a title like Passion, it seems some how appropriate that the tickets go on sale on Monday 14th February – Valentine’s Day!
The Passion is a three-day non-stop celebration which starts on the afternoon of Good Friday and ends on Sunday evening.
Across the weekend, there are programmed events which run only once, but around these milestones in the Passion story, there will be constant unscheduled activity. You can choose to attend one, some, or all of the weekend events, and may catch some unexpected surprises.
Event Duration: Friday 22/Saturday 23/Sunday 24 April 2011
Daily wristband £12/£5 (inc park and ride)
3-Day wristband £30/£10 (inc park and ride)
Park and ride only £5 per day
Free entry to under 12s with wristbands; please inform the box office when booking.
At each event over the weekend, there will be a designated area for wristband-wearers to ensure the best view. Beyond these areas,the majority of the weekend takes place in large public spaces and can be experienced free of charge.
The Supper – £20 (inc food)
The Supper takes place on Saturday night at the Sandfields Social and Labour Club. Tickets are designated by lottery. Speak to the box office to register your interest.
Tickets are available via:
Princess Royal Theatre
Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council
Civic Centre, Port Talbot,
West Glamorgan SA13 1PJ
Good Luck! And leave a comment if you are going!