Richard Booth

Llandovery Theatre Company pay Tribute!

RICHARD BOOTH, Self Styled King of Hay has died, 20th August 2019, aged 80 years! Eccentric, talented, exuberant entrepreneur, passionate advocate and lover of books, Founder of Hay-on-Wye bookshop town – Richard was friend and Patron to Llandovery Theatre and its Company of players from 1993, when he and Hope Booth came to see one of our plays: The Little Bit the Boy’s Admire.

The following day, he called us:: ‘I like what you are doing – how can I help?’ We met, we talked – He said: ‘I could make you the biggest Theatrical Bookshop in the Country – starting with 2000 books on theatre and the performing arts.’

1993 the Theatre Bookshop, placed adjacent to the Theatre coffee lounge, was opened by Cardiff West M.P. Rhodri Morgan. I have a faded newspaper picture of five happy faces – King Richard, Rhodri Morgan, Simon and me! Now alas – I am the only one left to continue the journey!

Books, reading and creative writing remain our passion, and over the years, we have introduced scores, nay hundreds of children and young people to the adventure into reading books and performing plays. We work with children and youth of all abilities, specialising with those with severe learning disabilities, at times launching one or two into the theatre ‘business’ and most times spreading the word that the ability to speak, listen, debate, read and write well will always be of benefit, whatever career path is chosen or foisted on one!

Recently I sent Richard a copy of Simon Barnes’ Novel – Darkly Flows the Taff – a satirical ‘spoof’ on the arts and government, set in Wales. I received an email from Hope Booth with a wonderful critique of the book, starting with ‘I am blind so my husband read this witty and amusing book to me – sometimes I laughed out loud! …We both loved the book and very much hope it will go into an audio edition for other blind people to enjoy.’ I hope so too! Yet to do!

Darkly Flows the Taff is in Richard Booth’s Llandovery Theatre bookshop.

The ‘King’ is dead, but his dream and support for others is still very much alive!