The headline production for the 2015 Celtic Festival at Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold is the comic play The Light of Heart by Emlyn Williams which runs from April 9-25.
The Light of Heart was premiered in the West End in 1940. It tells the story of Maddoc Thomas, a once great Shakespearean actor now living in a boarding house and drinking his days away. He is reliant on the love and support of his disabled daughter Cattrin.
When Maddoc is offered the chance to resurrect his career by playing King Lear and Cattrin falls in love and plans to marry it seems that their dreams have come true.
But can he find the old magic or is his dependence on his daughter – and the bottle – just too great?
The Light of Heart is a tender, moving and comic play that represents Emlyn Williams at his best.
The playwright, actor and director was born at Mostyn in Flintshire in 1905. He spoke only Welsh until the age of eight but under the influence of an inspirational teacher, Miss Cook – later celebrated in The Corn Is Green - he escaped following his father into the mines and went up to Oxford in 1923 where he became involved in the Oxford University Dramatic Society.
His first play Full Moon was produced at the Oxford Playhouse in 1927. A string of others followed and after the success of Night Must Fall in 1935 he became one of the most popular playwrights of the 1930s and 40s.
Williams became a celebrated figure in the British and American theatre, with numerous stage appearances in London and New York. From the early 1950s he toured the USA with his one man shows about Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas. His prolific output includes more than 40 plays and screenplays and a similar number of film appearances.
He was appointed a CBE in 1962 and died in September 1987.
The studio theatre at Clwyd Theatr Cymru was named in his honour at a ceremony performed by Emlyn Williams on May 23, 1986, during a weekend of celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the theatre’s opening.
The Light of Heart is directed by Lora Davies following her success with Taking Steps by Alan Ayckbourn at Clwyd Theatr Cymru. In Mold she was assistant director on productions including Guys and Dolls, A Child’s Christmas in Wales and the Dylan Thomas centenary production of Under Milk Wood.
Clwyd Theatr Cymru associate Gwyn Vaughan Jones plays Maddoc Thomas. Originally from Blaenau Ffestiniog and a member of the company since 1997, his numerous appearances with the company include To Kill A Mockingbird, Rape of the Fair Country and Mary Stuart.
Gwyn is currently playing Bishop Parry of Worcester in the acclaimed Mold production of The Herbal Bed.
On TV, Gwyn has appeared in Torchwood and is a regular in the S4C drama series Rownd a Rownd.
Cattrin Thomas is played by Charlotte Gray. Her previous work with the company includes last season’s Under Milk Wood, Season’s Greetings by Alan Ayckbourn and Rape of the Fair Country.
Fan is played by Catrin Aaron. She is from Rhyl and is an associate of Clwyd Theatr Cymru where she was seen as Alice in Aristocrats by Brian Friel, Menna in Salt, Root and Roe by Tim Price and Annette in God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza. Other roles in Mold include Mrs Linde in A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen and Pearl in Roots by Arnold Wesker.
The company also includes Richard Atwill, Michael Geary, Sara Harris-Davies who is an associate of the theatre, Victoria John and Joshua McCord.
This 75th anniversary production opens the 2015 Clwyd Theatr Cymru Celtic Festival, a celebration of drama and arts from the Celtic Nations including Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
This is the fourth Celtic Festival. It includes 10 events and 50 performances, presented under one roof over six weeks during March, April and May.
Call 01352 701521 or visit www.clwyd-theatr-cymru.co.uk for booking details.