The Welsh National Theatre: The Avant-Garde in the Diaspora

  • David Hughes


In September 1991 a booklet, Export Wales, was produced by Janec Alexander, theatre coordinator of Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre. Its purpose was promotional and it was given wide distribution overseas. It marked an interesting reversal in the Welsh situation by ostensively defining a Welsh National Theatre made up of experimental groups. One cluster of groups, deriving from the Cardiff Laboratory Theatre (now The Centre for Performance Research), developed under the influence of Eastern European theatre practice, particularly the work of Grotowski and Barba’s Odin Teatret. The influences on Moving Being, the only surviving group to gain high profile popularity from its inception, were the American postmodernists of dance, visual art, happenings and music: the artists grouped around the Cunningham Company, Cage, Rauschenberg, Johns and Cunningham himself. A cluster of movement- and text-based groups currently work in the space marked out by Moving Being, though perhaps not directly under their influence.


Performance Research National Theatre Early Eighty Experimental Theatre Music Theatre 
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  1. Promotional and documentary material (including quotes from publications) produced by the companies mentioned.Google Scholar
  2. Interviews with the following carried out by the author in Cardiff in November 1991Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, Janec. Theatre Coordinator, Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.Google Scholar
  4. Gough, Richard. Artistic Director, The Centre for Performance Research, Cardiff.Google Scholar
  5. Pearson, Mike. Co-Director, Brith Gof, Cardiff.Google Scholar
  6. Russell, Maggie. Project Associate, Magdalena Project, Cardiff.Google Scholar
  7. Thomas, Edward. Artistic Director, Y Cwmni, Cardiff.Google Scholar
  8. Thorne, Simon. Performer and Co-Director, Man Act, Cardiff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Theodore Shank 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Hughes
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Performing ArtsLeicester UniversityUK
  2. 2.Nottingham UniversityUK

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