New Theatre, Cardiff

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New Theatre
Logo new theatre cardiff.png
Address Park Place
Wales, UK
Capacity 1144
Opened 10 December 1906

The New Theatre (Welsh: Theatr Newydd, although it usually uses its English name as a title) is one of the principal theatres in Cardiff, capital city of Wales, and celebrated its centenary in 2006. It is located in Cardiff city centre on Park Place, close to Cathays Park.

The theatre has a capacity of 1,144,[1] and hosts a number of touring productions including Musical theatre, plays and children's shows and also presents an annual Christmas pantomime.


The New Theatre

The building was constructed from brick and Bath Stone and opened to the general public on 10 December 1906.[2] It was constructed under order by Robert Redford, who had rented the Theatre Royal for the previous nine years. At the time of the initial build, the stage was one of the largest in the country, measuring 76 feet (23 m) wide, by 54 feet (16 m) deep and 57 feet (17 m) between the stage itself and the pulley grid hanging above. The first public performance was a performance of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, conducted by the company of Herbert Beerbohm Tree.[3] The company had been brought from His Majesty's Theatre, London, and repeated the performance at the New Theatre on 13 December, and again for a matinee on 15 December. Also performed during the first week were the plays Colonel Newcome, Trilby, The Man Who Was and a further Shakespeare performance of Hamlet.[4]

Early performances included the Charles Klein play The Lion and the Mouse by Walter Maxwell's company,[5] and the return of Tree's company with performances of an adapted version of Charles Dickens's The Mystery of Edwin Drood as a warm up to their season in London.[6] In the early years of the British Broadcasting Company's radio broadcasts in the late 1920s, performances and concerts were conducted live on air from the New Theatre.[7] This included the third act of Faust by the Carl Rosa Opera Company on 17 October 1928.[8]

The artists that have performed on stage at the New Theatre have included Sarah Bernhardt, Anna Pavlova, Laurel and Hardy, Tom Jones, Tommy Cooper and Shirley Bassey.[2] Harold Pinter's play The Homecoming had its world première here on 26 March 1965.[9]

In 1954 Welsh National Opera made the New Theatre its home and principal base, however they have subsequently moved and taken up permanent residence in the Wales Millennium Centre.[2]

In 1993, Sir Anthony Hopkins unveiled a bronze bust of writer Gwyn Thomas in the foyer.[citation needed]

The New Theatre has been a Grade II listed building since 1975.[10]

Present day[edit]

The stage from the balcony and boxes to left and right

Arts Active is the education, community and audience engagement section of St David's Hall and the New Theatre.

The theatre also hosts all the rounds of the Song Prize of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, apart from the final night, which is held in St David's Hall.

It was featured in The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "Secrets of the Stars".


  1. ^ "New Theatre seating plan". New Theatre. Archived from the original on 2010-01-30. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  2. ^ a b c "New Theatre history". New Theatre. Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2010-05-21. 
  3. ^ "Cardiff's New Theatre". London Daily News (18950). 11 December 1906. p. 12. Retrieved 4 April 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  4. ^ "Local Engagements". Western Daily Press. 97 (15149). 8 December 1906. p. 7. Retrieved 4 April 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ "Touring Companies". The Era. 11 August 1906. p. 3. Retrieved 4 April 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ "The Theatres". The Times (38503). 29 November 1907. p. 10. 
  7. ^ "Programmes". The Times (44952). 23 July 1928. p. 21. 
  8. ^ ""The Grand Cham's Diamond"". The Times (45026). 17 October 1928. p. 21. 
  9. ^ Nightingale, Benedict (1965-03-27). "review: The Homecoming at Cardiff". The Guardian. p. 6. 
  10. ^ "New Theatre". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′01″N 3°10′32″W / 51.483662°N 3.175532°W / 51.483662; -3.175532