A jewel set in the shadow of the Black Mountains

theatre Feb 2016

Photo by Foivos Lamprou


From my celestial window-sill.

Welcome – let us all seek to find at least five good fun ideas a day to help lift our spirits. In line with this aim, may I suggest you have a look at Simon Barnes’ comic novel DARKLY FLOWS THE TAFF.Darkly Flows the Taff

The book – a satirical comedy thriller set in 1986 – pays homage to Hitchikers Guide with a mix of Lucky Jim and James Bond (shaken but not stirred) and echoes a landscape as bizarre as Clochemerle.

Rupert Courtney Morgan, a young inexperienced ‘agent’ is sent to Wales to investigate the death of a government inspector found dead on the Brecon Beacons – with a copy of Under Milk Wood and a deflated rugby ball by the body. The culture of Wales is most emphatically rugby – it reigns supreme over all other arts and crafts, so here must be a clue!   Follow Rupert is his quest to unearth the truth and avoid death in DARKLY FLOWS THE TAFF!

Simon Barnes, Actor/Writer, founded Llandovery Theatre, writing plays and directing professional and youth actors from 1975 for over 35 years!

REVIEWS AND COMMENTS – Llandovery Theatre.com

For information and totally unbiassed editorial on Darkly Flows the Taff go on: Llandovery Theatre Web page or the Theatre Face Book page, and read some of the amazing reviews and comments on our books. All books are obtainable in paperback and ebook and can be ordered via Amazon.

Darkly Flows the Taff: £7.99 Ebook 3.98 and profits go to the theatre.    

‘I am blind so my husband read this witty and amusing book to me – sometimes I laughed out loud! We both loved the book…. Hope and Richard Booth of King of Hay on Wye Bookshop.

Do read Simon’s book!

Building a Dream 1976 – 1996 – 2020

We are the Strolling Players – We are the Storytellers!

You are just telling stories!’ When I was young this meant you were telling ‘fibs’ – but this is a true story – a love story, a tale of a lifelong love affair with theatre and the Building of a Dream!

Do you like theatre? I think if you have managed to stray onto our web page, and are still reading – then – yes, you like theatre. Good! Welcome!

We heard recently that a London Theatre roof collapsed on the heads of the audience watching a play; we hear that museums in the North of England are having to place buckets to catch rain coming through their roofs. We, at Llandovery Theatre, have experienced both in some measure – for on finding our ‘gem’ – it was in such a state of decay that at one stage, the Job Creation builders refused to continue working!

See the picture above – it is not a rough sleeper trying to find refuge, it is our artistic director (1995). It is 4 p.m. – the builders have gone home and she is alone (apart from the photographer) and over the next weeks, they will both be moving the stone from the demolished back wall – into barrows and out onto a skip – thus saving the theatre £1,000 in building costs.

It was the final part of the Llandovery Theatre building journey – a trip started in 1977 – a 21 year adventure including 40 years of theatre performance! We were not always alone – see the picture of a group of Llandovery Young Farmers – we had just directed them in Oh What a Lovely War – and they gave us a day’s work: – moving a mountain of earth dug out to enable the stage area to be lowered and a raked auditorium built.

And this is our Art Gallery with its entrance to the theatre auditorium – and yes, we too have had to have buckets catching water but today 2019 it has been restored and our Mural of Peace holds the doorway to Magic!

 The Actor Manager?

Entering 2020 we are at a crossroads! Llandovery Theatre – despite rumours – has never had revenue funding from the Arts Councils, the Lottery or the Local Authority. We were – we are – the mavericks – the strolling players – like Dickens’ Vincent Crummles Theatre Company, we are – among the last generation of Actor Managers.

The Pied Piper

It was the children who followed us, who kept our theatre alive – as hundreds attended our literacy and drama workshops, and performed for us, as together, we pursued the dream: to develop performance, reading, listening and communication skills, building self-confidence, imagination and love of storytelling, with the young and not so young, those with special needs as well as those with special gifts.

Our Pied Piper is gone! He has left behind a beautiful building and a big ask!

We are seeking inspirational teachers, actors, writers, stage managers who will come in and develop on from our 35 years, to sustain and support our community and our young people in their life dreams! And for this we need funding!

Are you still reading?

If you think you can help, please leave a message on our contact page above or on Llandovery Theatre Facebook page. We wait to hear from you – Thank you.

Horatio Nelson

Llandovery Theatre Cat!

We are the Story Tellers! Read our Stories!

Our Publications

Click the image of your book choice to examine. For the next year, ALL royalties from sales of these books will go to the creative work and maintenance of Llandovery Theatre.  Please buy now!

Horatio Nelson Theatre Cat

Reporting from my starry window-sill!

Birthday Celebrations

 Thank you to all our actors, artists and colleagues for making Llandovery Theatre’s 40th anniversary celebrations such a joy!   Forty years is a fine age, Jacky says she wishes it was her age and I, of course, with seven of my nine lives still to go, am forever young!

The showing of our Youth Actors’ film The Taming of the Shrew was the set piece of the celebrations – and I have to confess I shed a few tears – to look back the 14 years to when it was made – to see the wonderful performance work of the young actors, and remember the fun we all had making the film.

In the centre picture: Beshlie Thorp, Janet Thomas, Charlotte Collins and Kerry Dainton are all ex youth actors – John Barker and Chris Thomas – our first and final editors on the film. John is an ‘ancient’ friend – he brought Simon and Jacky to Wales in 1973, driving the lorry with all their goods and chattels, (not to mention Jacky’s potted plants) – an event re-told in her comedy play ‘Out of the Frying Pan’ performed in 1985 –  so John is really responsible for what has gone on in this theatre for the past 40 years!  Chris is the miracle worker that brought the film to life, and he and Jacky are still meeting to make it really perfect before turning it into a DVD.

As Christmas is on its way, I need to remind you that there is a really fun book available to give as a present – Darkly flows the Taff –  about a would-be James Bond, set adrift in West Wales to uncover a murder  – and, though it does not have any cats in it, it is a splendid read – written by Simon Barnes – available as an ebook or paper-back via Amazon. Read the reviews on our theatre web page – they are amazing!

We wish everyone a Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year!

The Taming of the Shrew

Watch The trailer;

Welcome to Llandovery Theatre 

We discovered this ‘treasure’ in 1975, when it was in poor health, decaying and near derelict. We fell in love with it, and despite warnings of  ‘you’ll never do it’  we gathered round us a small team of stalwarts and began building work, producing Festivals and writing plays.  With no funding from the Arts Councils, local authority or lottery, it was to take 20 years to complete the theatre, though creative work continued throughout, and is ongoing to the present day .  (See Theatre History)

Our DRAMA WORKSHOPS with a group of young performers, who have disabilities, are proving happy and exciting.  (See Drama Workshops)


Richard Booth – King of Hay – read Simon’s book, and immediately offered to promote it as the ‘lead’ book at his King of Hay Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye, throughout Spring and Summer. He also read the book to his wife Hope, who is blind, and she sent us a splendid review of the book, which you can read on Horatio Nelson ‘s Blog. together with other reviews our Theatre Cat has personally received about the book.

Simon Barnes – actor, writer, founder and creator of the Llandovery Theatre, wrote countless wonderful plays and scripts for the Llandovery Theatre Company, working with professional, community and youth actors.  He left this one novel and it is now obtainable at the King of Hay Bookshop, Hay-on-Wye or via Amazon.

(Read all about: Darkly Flows the Taff )

Llandovery Theatre Company survives and thrives by writing and producing its own work, and with the support and affection of its young actors and performers.

For up-to-date information, go to:   Llandovery Theatre Facebook page 

For ‘critical’ acclaim and personal observations, go to: 

Blog Horatio NelsonTheatre Cat.

We welcome all interest, support and friendship. Do contact us.

Click on the News tab for latest information.

What they are writing about Llandovery Theatre:

                        Beautiful and atmospheric – preserve at any price ..

  ‘Possibly the most beautiful small Theatre and Arts Centre in the Kingdom’

Llandovery is a small market town in the upper Towy valley, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales, UK.