Difficult Times for All


From my celestial windowsill.

Dear Actors, Artists, Patrons and Friends,

I am finding it difficult to send you future plans of the work of the Theatre, in the light of all the problems with coronavirus – specially as many of our kind supporters and friends are of an age when they are being asked to confine themselves to home! But creativity always continues for actors and writers, be they alone or on stage, and we will be keeping the theatre safe for the day we are allowed to fill it with friends and performance again.

Darkly Flows the Taff

In the meantime, please don’t forget us, and 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.

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!

From my window sill

Dear Friends.

It is not often that the Llandovery Theatre Company have a Mayor attend their Trust meeting, but Councillor Pauline Barker, Mayor of Cwmamman with her Consort John Barker, were among the gracious company of friends on Saturday 17th June 2017 at Llandovery Theatre.

Both are long term friends, for John was responsible in 1973 for driving the lorry, carrying the entire home of Simon and Jacky Barnes to Wales and offloading it on a freezing winter night into a small derelict cottage in Llandingat Without – a place so aptly named, as the cottage was without gas, electricity, water or sanitation.  The story of the first year in Wales was later a highly successful Festival play OUT OF THE FRYING PAN.  As the saying goes:  write what you know!

At the gathering The Taming of the Shrew was discussed.  This is the youth film production, and for the last ten years has sat untended in its computer.  John Barker and Chris Thomas investigated the idea of trying to rescue the film from its ‘sleep’ state, and re-edit it.  We have now great hopes of bringing this film back to life under the ministration of these two talented editors.

An interesting career note is that Beshlie Thorp – who plays Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew film, has recently completed four years at the Royal College of Music, and is about to go to the  Bristol Old Vic School to do a drama MA, and before that plays Lady Macbeth in the production of Macbeth in August in the grounds of Cardiff Castle. She first joined us with the Roald Dahl Literacy Workshops at Llandovery Theatre, when she was six!

Recording for the blind!
When Simon Barnes’ book Darkly flows the Taff was published, Richard Booth (King of Hay) read the book to his wife Hope, who is blind.  Hope responded to us saying – ‘we both loved it!’ and suggested that she hoped the book could be recorded, so other blind people could enjoy it.  Subsequently we recorded some excerpts from the book, and we plan to put these excerpts onto the Theatre Web.  But also, you should know, John and Pauline Barker (Mayor of Cwmamman) run a truly wonderful voluntary project: Ammanford Talking News for the Blind, which is distributed free to those who request it.  A disc is recorded monthly with news and editorials,  and we hope that excerpts of Simon’s book could be put on disc for the newspaper.

Discussing the future
Many ideas flowed, and it was agreed that in order to establish professional and community theatre activities on a regular basis, we needed to bring in new talent, and for that, of course,  we would need finance.  We are, therefore, embarking on a social media journey, and I, Horatio Nelson, will be at the helm.  Aiming to publicise our wonderful Theatre facilities world wide, and to enable us to make new friends  – we have set up a Twitter account – Horatio Theatre Cat @Llandotheatreco and Instagram – (horatio_theatrecat), so friends, artists and actors can contact us easily.

1993 – Rhodri Morgan M.P. opened the new bookshop and library at the Theatre.  He wrote in our visitors book:  ‘Little acorn but watch this space’.  Yes, our oak tree is now growing apace – and we are looking forward to a good and prosperous future with the help of new friends and theatre lovers. Long live Llandovery Theatre!

Horatio Nelson – theatre cat.