Richard Burton bust
Where: Main staircase approaching Upper
Richard Burton (1925 - 1984) was arguably the finest Welsh actor
of the 20th century and definitely the most famous. Born
Richard Jenkins Jnr in Pontrhydyfen near Port Talbot, he was raised
by his sister after the early death of his mother. He took
his new surname from Philip H Burton, a schoolmaster who encouraged
his acting abilities.
After a short time at Oxford University
he found work as an actor. Quickly achieving fame in regional
rep and the West End, he progressed to British films and then to
Hollywood to become one of the biggest names of the era. His
colourful personal life, including two marriages to Elizabeth
Taylor, ensured his name was rarely out of the newspapers.
The bust on display was created by celebrated Italian artist
Gualberto Rocchi (1914 -) in 1967 and was housed in Burton's London
home. Though Burton never appeared at the New Theatre, his
widow, Sally Burton, donated the bust to the venue in 1989.
He is also remembered in pictures from some of his finest stage
triumphs on display in the Richard Burton Hospitality Suite.
Gwenlyn Parry bust
Where: Upper Circle bar
Gwenlyn Parry (1932 -1991) was born in the Caernarfonshire
village of Deiniolen and became the foremost Welsh language
playwright of the late 20th century. His plays include
Sál, Y Ffin, Tŷ ar y Tywod and Y
Tŵr, which was premiered at the New Theatre in 1978. He
was instrumental in setting up the BBC Wales script department and
helped create the popular soap opera Pobol y Cwm. He
is most widely remembered as the original author of the 1978 TV
film Grand Slam.