Poetry of Loss, Y Gadair Wag (the Empty Chair)

14 / 09 / 2017

literature-wales-logo_8fa3ae57Literature Wales, in partnership with the Welsh Government’s First World War Centenery Programme Cymru’n Cofio Wales Remembers 1914-1918, has commissioned a multimedia show about the life and work of Hedd Wyn. The opening performance of Y Gadair Wag, written and performed by Ifor ap Glyn, National Poet of Wales, was held at Trawsfynydd on Wednesday 6 September 2017, before embarking on a tour throughout Wales and further afield during September.

Y Gadair Wag combines poetry with multimedia elements. The show deals with themes arising from the First World War and Hedd Wyn’s history, that are still of relevance to modern life, including loss, refugees seeking shelter and Wales’ relationship with Europe.

Y Gadair Wag is written and performed by Ifor ap Glyn, directed by Ian Rowlands and contains digital art by Jason Lye-Phillips. 

The empty chair is a central theme throughout the show, allowing us to explore Hedd Wyn’s story and loss on a greater scale as the Great War left many empty chairs in homes all across Europe. The production also touches upon the subject of refugees during the war, as the empty chair of the Birkinhead National Eisteddfod 1917 was created by Belgium born Eugeen Van Felteren. Y Gadair Wag also discusses the connection between Hedd Wyn and a fellow poet who died on the same day and is buried at the same cemetery – Francis Ledwidge from Ireland.

The show contains original poems by Ifor ap Glyn and other poets from Wales intertwined with Hedd Wyn’s poems and letters, historical content from the period as well as poems from his peers.

Lleucu Siencyn, Chief Executive of Literature Wales said: “As a cultural ambassador, Ifor ap Glyn is the perfect storyteller to tell Hedd Wyn’s everlasting and poignant story here in Wales, in Dublin and in Belfast. The show is a fitting tribute to the shepherd-poet, who later became a symbol of the Great War’s substantial losses. Book your tickets today!”

Venues details and ticket information are listed below:

  • 6 September, 7.30 pm, Trawsfynydd Hall
  • 13 September, 7.00 pm, Irish Writers Centre, Dublin, Ireland (Multilingual performance)
  • 15 September, 5.00 pm, Velvet Coalmine Festival, Blackwood: (Multilingual performance)
  • 23 September, 7.30 pm, Tabernacle Vestry, The Hayes, Cardiff
    Tickets: 07816 456660
  • 28 September, 7.30 pm, Y Drwm, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
    Tickets: 01970 632548 /
  • 29 September, 7.30 pm, Gŵyl Inc Festival, Galeri, Caernarfon
    Tickets: 01286 685222 /
  • 30 September, 7.30 pm, Culturlann, Belfast (Multilingual performance).
    Tickets: 02890 964180 /


Y Gadair Wag forms part of the wider Barddoniaeth Colled | Poetry of Loss project, delivered by Literature Wales and funded by the Welsh Government’s Cymru’n Cofio Wales Remembers 1914-1918 First World War Centenary Programme.