Haydn Rees, CEO of Clwyd County Council, starts to talk about why those in North Wales deserve to have cultural facilities equal to those across the border.
With the “bold architecturally magnificent” Shire Hall opening along with the Law Court and Library thoughts turn to the idea of a ‘Centre For The Arts’ for North Wales.
A council report suggests building a 1400 seat concert hall, 500 seat theatre, an ‘educational audio-visual aids and curriculum training centre’, TV studio, exhibition suite and a crafts and activities centre.
Due to economic circumstances the plans are scaled back to a main theatre, studio theatre, general purpose ballroom, TV studio and phase one of a Educational Technology centre.
Work begins with a grant of £300,000 from Lord Eccles, Minister for the Arts, Arts Council Great Britain and the Welsh Arts Council.
George Roman (1976-1985) is appointed as Artistic Director and Roger Tomlinson (1976-1983) as General Manager.
Roman and Tomlinson offer audiences a varied international repertoire, and a commitment to support the work of Welsh-born dramatists in both languages.
Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, officially open Theatr Clwyd Arts Centre and the Educational Technology Centre on 21st May 1976.
Clwyd Youth Orchestra played and in the evening Theatr Clwyd hosted Wales’ first Royal Gala Performance with appearances by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Emlyn Williams and Elizabeth Vaughan.
One of George Roman’s most successful and memorable productions Death Of A Salesman is performed in the main house.
A huge production year sees Cabaret (1980), The Life Of Galileo (1980) and The Physicists (1980) with Jonathan Petherbridge’s production of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
Television Company HTV joins the complex in 1980 and Welsh language programmes for S4C such as Ar Olwg and Siôn a Siân are produced on site.
By the 10th anniversary, Theatr Clwyd had staged nine of Shakespeare’s plays and works by Webster, Goldsmith, Shaw, Wilde, Coward, Stoppard, Pinter, Shaffer, Ibsen, Chekhov, Brecht, Sophocles, Euripides and Ayckbourn.
The repertoire produced so far consisted of over 115 plays by over 50 authors. The company presents over 1000 performances a year.
The team is now led by Toby Robertson (1985-1992), whose first production of Tom Stoppard’s Night & Day features a young Ralph Fiennes.
Robertson’s hugely successful Anthony and Cleopatra starring Vanessa Redgrave and transfers to London’s Haymarket.
Robertson directed nearly 20 plays and invited some of the most eminent actors to Mold among them Eileen Atkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Timothy Dalton, Maria Aitkin, Edward Fox, Joan Plowright, Saskia Reeves.
Helena Kaut-Howsen (1992-1995) joins as Artistic Director – her vision brings the work of Theatr Clwyd to an international audience and attracts major artists, including Sir Anthony Hopkins and Julie Christie.
Helena’s first production was The Devils in 1992, followed in the Spring of 1993 by a production of Jane Eyre.
Anthony Hopkins directs and stars in a world premiere production of August which is adapted from Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (later turned into a film of the same name!).
By May Theatr Clwyd faces a deeply uncertain future, without an Artistic Director and with local government reorganisation looming.
Clwyd County Council is divided into four new unitary authorities: Flintshire, Denbighshire, Wrexham and Conwy, leaving it unclear as to who would own, operate or fund the theatre.
The loss of funding which followed led to a crisis which seriously threatened the very existence of Theatr Clwyd. Terry Hands, former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, is brought in as consultant to secure an artistic and financial lifeline for the theatre.
Terry Hands is appointed as Director of Theatr Clwyd.
A new resident company is formed, and plays are produced in repertoire.
The Mobile Theatre is developed and ambitious touring plans helps the company take work to audiences across Wales.
Production highlights include: Macbeth (1999 & 2008), King Lear (2001), To Kill A Mockingbird (2001), Brassed Off (2004) Under Milk Wood (2013), Hamlet (2013) and Memory (2006, revived in New York 2007 and in London and Wales Tour 2008).
The company changes its name to Clwyd Theatr Cymru.
Tamara Harvey becomes Artistic Director and the company returns to its original name: Theatr Clwyd.
Clwyd Theatr Cymru Theatre for Young People becomes the Theatr Clwyd Creative Engagement team, bringing front and centre Theatr Clwyd’s work with people of all ages and from all local communities and recognising the vital importance of the arts for people’s health and wellbeing.
Liam Evans-Ford joins Theatr Clwyd as its first Executive Director.
Theatr Clwyd and Sheffield Theatres co-production of Uncle Vanya opens, in the round, directed by Tamara Harvey. It goes on to win Best Production in the English Language, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor at the Wales Theatre Awards
Our production of The Assassination of Katie Hopkins directed by James Grieve opens to huge acclaim and wins the UK Theatre Award for Best Musical.
Our co-production with the National Theatre of Home, I’m Darling featuring Katherine Parkinson opens at Theatr Clwyd, starring Katherine Parkinson and Richard Harrison. After a sell-out run at the National Theatre, it moves into the West End before a national tour that culminates with a sell out run back home at Theatr Clwyd
Home, I’m Darling is nominated for five Olivier Awards, winning Best New Comedy.