During 2014, people throughout Wales and all over the world marked Dylan Thomas' centenary with the DT100 celebrations, and part of the legacy was a commitment to mark #Dylanday on 14 May each year (the date on which Under Milk Wood was first read on stage at The Poetry Centre in New York in 1953).
The show CAITLIN was also part of the DT100 events, but it portrayed Dylan from his wife Caitlin's perspective. She introduces herself to her Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in 1973: “Hello my name is Caitlin and I’m an alcoholic.” A woman of few words – her husband had all the words – she nevertheless continues: “My husband was a very famous poet. I was going to be a very famous dancer. We were supposed to be equal but it wasn’t like that.”
And as the current producer of that show, I was especially mindful this year of how it felt to see #DylanDay come around. I've also recently holidayed near Laugharne and you can walk the whole town and see his name every five paces, with hers only really cropping up in the family home (now a museum).
Caitlin was a dancer, with ambition, talent and more (as well as her own flaws and frailties), and yet she's next-to-never talked about alongside Dylan himself; one of those women who's massively overshadowed by their giants of men. Friday 31 July is the date of Caitlin's death; we want to use it to mark #CaitlinDay.
#CaitlinDay will celebrate women in the arts who've been in the shadow of their partners - playing second fiddle to them perhaps because of family commitments; women who've been largely ignored, almost famous or never quite reaching their full potential in their field.
We can all name a few famous ones - Sylvia Plath, Courtney Love, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Miller - but it could equally be a member of your family, a colleague, a mentor or a neighbour.
Do tweet using the hashtag, and post on facebook with it too. You could blog and link to that, but most of all, encourage other men and women you know to do the same! Please link back here for people to find more info using this bit.ly link: bit.ly/1U1QDuD
To give you an idea of a sample tweet:
I'm championing poet and novelist Sylvia Plath for #CaitlinDay. You've heard of her husband Ted Hughes no doubt... See bit.ly/1U1QDuD
We're thrilled to have teamed up with lots of people to mark #CAITLINday;
- from the organisation that now runs Caitlin and Dylan's home as a museum
- to Fuel Theatre with their epic and brilliant Phenomenal People project
- to #phenominate
- to Arts Professional off the back of their recent issue about women in the arts
So, who would you want to champion on #CAITLINday? Join in on Fri 31 July and tell everyone all about her, whoever she is.
by Laura Drane, Producer for CAITLIN by Light, Ladd & Emberton