THE National Eisteddfod Pavilion on the outskirts of Llanrwst will be transformed into a magical and marvellous world for this year’s opening production.

Y Tylwyth is an ambitious production which is sure to appeal to the whole family, and sees the Eisteddfod venture into the world of contemporary circus for the first time, teaming up with Pontio Bangor and Irish contemporary circus troupe Fidget Feet.

It's summer, and Jac of the Ropes and a strange clan of acrobats have landed in the meadow.

It's May too in the heart of Elen, daughter of the mansion.

But clouds are gathering over the young lovers' path, and as light is shed on the legends, dark characters step into the circle.

Written by Gwyneth Glyn, Twm Morys and Myrddin ap Dafydd, Y Tylwyth delves into the world of the Welsh fairies and folk tales from North Wales.

The tale is a love story, but as in any good story the path to true love is never easy.

With original songs composed by Gwyneth and Twm, both established names in the Welsh folk music scene, it is no surprise that the music has a folk tinge.

A live band will accompany the concert and it reads as a who’s who of the Welsh alt folk music scene, amongst the musicians will be Georgia Ruth, Patrick Rimes (Calan) and Iwan Huws (Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog), with Osian Williams (Siddi, Candelas) as musical director.

The cast will be led by Iddon Alaw, who recently toured in Wicked as Jac, and following her mesmerising performance at last year’s Eisteddfod production of Hwn yw fy Mrawd, Mared Williams returns to the Eisteddfod stage as Elen.

And Manw Robin, a young girl who represented Wales in the Junior Eurovision competition last year, will appear in one of the Eisteddfod’s productions for the first time.

They will be supported by Idris Morris Jones, Gwilym Bowen Rhys, Angharad Llwyd and Mair Tomos Ifans, whilst composer Twm Morys takes on the role of local Llanrwst clockmaker / story teller Watcin Co.

Students and former students from the University of Wales Trinity St David’s Welsh performance centre will perform as the chorus, and the show is directed by Angharad Lee, whose company Leeway Productions received widespread praise for her recent production of The Last Five Years.

National Eisteddfod deputy artistic director Sioned Edwards said: “We wanted to create an experience for our audience, a chance for them to be entertained and spellbound – something totally different to anything we’ve ever staged before.

"And we wanted to create a show for the whole family, something families can experience together.

“Our audience is constantly developing and evolving, and the success of evenings like Gig y Pafiliwn over the past few years and Cyw and the Orchestra in Cardiff last year, shows that there is a market for exciting and new productions and experiences.

“Gwyneth, Twm and Myrddin have created something very special with great songs at its core. We’re also very excited to be working with circus company Fidget Feet from Ireland, and believe the circus element will bring a whole new element to the storytelling of Welsh folk tales in the show.”

Y Tylwyth aims to bring traditional folk tales to a brand new audience using the magic of contemporary circus to mesmerise and surprise the audience.

Contemporary circus, or Cirque Nouveau, is a young genre of performing arts developed in the 1970s in France.

The genre is an exciting, independent art form defined by its willingness to blur genre boundaries that redefines traditional circus.

The genre thrives on its diversity and aim to test artistic and physical boundaries.

Old traditions are broken and elements of acrobatics merge effortlessly with theatre, music, dance, new media and the visual arts.

The result is an unbelievably diverse stage experience that shows that circus can be much more than just colourful entertainment.

While traditional circus is all about creating a spectacle and places its focus on presenting incredible artistic feats, established circus techniques in contemporary circus are no longer solely a matter of performing, but are also a means of artistic expression for the performers.

Pontio’s artistic director Elen ap Robert said: “As a contemporary circus hub in Wales, Pontio is delighted to partner with the Eisteddfod and Fidget Feet on this special international co-production.

"It will follow our third GwleddSYRCASFeast festival in Bangor University’s arts and innovation centre Pontio, and since the beginning our audiences have seen for themselves how the magical language of circus can be a very powerful and rich storytelling tool - one which speaks to people of all ages and backgrounds and across cultures.

“Combine the quirky haunting Fidget circus performers with versatile folk musicians and you have the potential for an incredibly compelling theatrical experience. But there is more to it than what you see before you... and Pontio is glad to bring the circus expertise of our technical staff too, confirming this partnership as a true sharing of skills.

"However, a word of warning - there is a serious risk you may want to run away with circus after this!”

Tickets available online at or by ringing 0845 4090 800.

There are two performances of this production - tonight (Friday, August 2) at 6pm and on Saturday, August 3 at 8pm.

The Eisteddfod is grateful to the Arts Council of Wales for supporting this project.