Art @ the New Theatre

Gwyn Thomas - Thumbnail

Gwyn Thomas bust

Where: Main foyer

Gwyn Thomas (1913 - 1981) was a renowned Welsh writer and broadcaster.  Born to a coalmining family in Cymmer, he attended Oxford University and for twenty years was a schoolmaster.  During this time he published his novels The Dark Philosophers, The Alone to the Alone and Sorrow For Thy Sons.  His 1962 play The Keep was premiered to good reviews in London's Royal Court Theatre.  By this time he had already become a radio and TV personality through his appearances on The Brain's Trust.  Gwyn Thomas was known as the "true voice of the English-speaking valleys".

Martin Williams - ThumbnailMartin Williams memorial

Where: Lower foyer opposite cloakroom

Martin Williams was the popular and well-liked Administrator of the New Theatre between 1969 - 1977.  A family man, his untimely death at just 32 was a great shock to theatre staff and Cardiff theatregoers alike.  His memorial is a lasting tribute to a man who gave much to this building and who will not be forgotten.

General Manager - Thumbnail

Richard Burton - ThumbnailRichard Burton bust

Where: Main staircase approaching Upper Circle bar

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.

Richard Burton design - ThumbnailAfter 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 - ThumbnailGwenlyn 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.