Post-industrial Swansea is still the “ugly, lovely town” Dylan Thomas grew up in a century ago. It is a fascinating approach if you arrive by train, passing the harsh realities of Port Talbot on your left, which allegedly inspired the dystopian cityscapes for director Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. You curve round to the pleasant view of Swansea Bay, flanked on the far side by the Mumbles and its lighthouse, which marks the near side of the Gower peninsula. It’s a fantastic panorama, like welcoming arms waiting to give you a big cwtch (a Welsh embrace) as you pull into the city.
The bay lends itself to the opening scenes of this month’s Now the Hero/Nawr yr Arwr, an immersive theatrical experience in which performers lead audiences on a journey through the city, my hometown, and its artistic treasures. The show, which I developed with a team of collaborators, including fellow Welshman Owen Sheers, begins at a shipping container on the beach adjacent to the 360 Cafe.