Culture

Theatr Genedlaethol artistic director Arwel Gruffydd to leave after more than a decade

28 Jul 2021 3 minutes Read
Theatr Genedlaethol artistic director Arwel Gruffydd who is to stand down

After 11 years at the helm of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, it’s been announced that Arwel Gruffydd is to stand down as artistic director.

He will leave his post at the Welsh language national theatre, based in Carmarthen, in May 2022 after leading it through one of the most turbulent periods in its history due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking about his decision, he said: “Without exaggerating, leading Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru over the last ten years or more has been the greatest honour I could have ever imagined and a career highlight.

“It’s been challenging at times, of course – not least over the last year – but it’s also been a real pleasure. I have had the privilege of realising many personal ambitions while working alongside a host of amazing artists and talented and committed colleagues, and have also been challenged to take a fresh look at many aspects of the work and my vision.”

In the coming months he said he hopes to guide the theatre through the continuing pandemic, which has caused so much chaos to the industry.

“There is plenty to do over the remaining nine months of my time with the company, as we strive to overcome the ongoing crisis for the industry, but hopefully also see things getting back into order, and seeing audiences return to our theatres,” he said.

“And beyond that, on a more personal note, I am looking forward to a range of new and varied plans and opportunities in the future, which will challenge and inspire me, and where I can apply the skills I have developed and the experiences I have enjoyed during my time with Theatr Genedlaethol.”

Passion

Efa Gruffydd Jones, Chair of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, added: “Undoubtedly a large debt to the company is Arwel for his leadership and vision over the past decade.

“His passion for developing quality Welsh Theatre is evident to all, and I wish him well with his next challenges. Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is set on a solid foundation for the future, thanks to Arwel’s commitment and enthusiasm. ”

Arwel joined Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru as Artistic Director and Chief Executive in 2011. Originally from Tanygrisiau near Blaenau Ffestiniog, he graduated from Bangor University and then trained as an actor at Webber Douglas College of Drama, London.

He was a professional actor for eighteen years before joining Sgript Cymru as Literary Manager in 2005 and then went on to become Associate Director with Sherman Cymru between 2008 and 2011.

In 2002, he won two prestigious awards, the BAFTA Cymru Best Actor his work on the Treflan series for S4C, and the DM Davies Prize at the Wales International Film Festival for his work as writer and director of the film Cyn Elo’r Haul .

His directing work for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru includes some of the company’s highlights over the last 10 years: Father, Macbeth, Chwalfa, The Woman Who Came from the Sea, Y Bont, Blodeuwedd and Sgint.

Also, in a co-production with the Sherman Theatre, Arwel was the director of Llwyth and then, more recently, Tylwyth by Daf James – two innovative productions that saw a celebration of LGBT stories and characters.

In the last 18 months with an extensive programme of live theatre productions cancelled, the company rolled out an extensive digital programme to support Welsh artists and theatre workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

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