Drama Association of Wales History

Use the links below to choose the history of the area of DAW activity you're interested in:

  • Wales One-Act Play Final Festivals - List of past winners
  • British One-Act Play Final Festivals - List of past winners
  • DAW Summer Schools - History

    We know we have a lot of gaps in our history, and in our photoalbum pages.

    In some cases, this is because we haven't input yet everything we have: we're working on it as fast as we can.

    But if you have information or photos that can help us build our archive, we'd
    really like to hear from you.

We are also collating Photoalbums for all the areas above.

Key points in the history of DAW

DAW founded in 1934: Starts to run a small specialist drama library, lighting equipment and drape hire service.

1965: DAW launches one act playwriting competition, the four winning plays are chosen to perform at The Coliseum, Trecynon. The authors include Grafton Radcliffe, J.R. Evans and T.C. Thomas. The event was also publicised on BBC Radio.

1966: DAW hosts the British Final for the first time.

1969: Pontllanfraith W.I. representing Wales win at the British Final with The Nine Fathers.

1970: DAW starts to run training courses, a youth drama programme and continues its one act play festival.

June 27th 1970: DAW hosts the British Final for the second time, this year in Cardiff at the New Theatre.

1971: DAW joins forces with the British Drama League and the Scottish Community Drama Association to form the UK Centre of the International Theatre Exchange (ITE).

January - March 1973: DAW moves from Cathedral Road to Chapter Arts Centre and becomes a registered charity.

1973: DAW member group Bridgend Castle Players are chosen to perform at the Opera House in Monte Carlo representing the UK at the fifth Congress of I.A.T.A. festival.

1977: The Players' Theatre, Gelligaer are the first Welsh winners of the British Final since 1969! Perfoming the Frank Vickery play After I'm Gone.

1982: The Players' Theatre win again at the British Final with their performance of Sganarelle.

June 1986: Third time lucky for The Players' Theatre as they bring the Howard de Walden trophy back to Wales at the British Final, this time performing The Forced Marriage.

dramaffest 89

June 1989: DAW organises a weekend event called dramaffest 89 (photos from the weekend can be found here), which incorporates workshops and street theatre centered around the Wales One Act Final held at Theatr Hafren. Based on the success of the weekend, festivites are arranged for dramaffest to be a part of the Wales Final for the next four years.

Eynon Evans

Spring 1990: The library is re-named the Eynon Evans Library DAWN article

January 1991-March 1992: DAW acquires the playsets of the British Theatre Association. Western Mail article 28/2/1991

27 June 1992: DAW members Castaway (from Aberystwyth) win the British Final Festival with their performance of After Liverpool.

Anthony Hopkins signature

August 1992: Oscar-winning actor Sir Anthony Hopkins becomes the Association's newest patron, attending the opening of DAW's new premises in Splott. He even autographs the wall! Photos of the event here

1994: DAW celebrates its diamond jubilee.

1994-1997: A joint venutre between DAW, HTV and Sherman Theatre produce the successful series of HTV Lunchtime Plays, which includes the writing talents of Arnold Wesker, Helen Griffin and Lisa Hunt.

Summer 1996: Five newly translated Welsh language plays are published and presented at the Bro Dinefwr Eisteddfod, they are Yr Arch, Noson Dan Gynfas, Ar Amrantiad, S'Dim Ots Gen I and Amser I Hau, Amser I Fedi.

April 1999: Another partnership is set up this time with Tŷ Newydd to host a residential workshop tutored by writer Alan Osborne. DAWN article

May 2003: DAW & ITE invite Art 3 a theatre group from South Korea to perform throughout Wales. DAWN article

14th May 2005: A fire started at the DAW buidling destroys the roof and the upstairs storage rooms. Thankfully the library was not damaged, the DAW office is forced into temporary accommodation for the next several months

October 2008: DAW organise the Shakespeare Today masterclass led by Michael Bogdanov. DAWN article

November 2008: DAW launches its first website

DAWN Autumn 2009

October 2009: DAW welcomes new Patron, Connie Fisher. DAWN article

June 2010: DAW introduces its new logo and redesigned website.

Spring 2011: After a investment review of its 116 clients the Arts Council of Wales withdraw their financial support of DAW. DAWN article

June 2011: After 19 years DAW moves from the old library into The Maltings. DAWN ceases publication, a monthly e-newsletter is introduced in its place.

January 2012: DAW welcomes a new patron Michael Sheen OBE Newsletter article.

February 2013: The DAW Executive committee are faced with no choice but to make the staff, who had been with DAW for many years, redundant. Extensive discussions begin to establish what will become long term of the library stock, which DAW is no longer able to support, after its loss of funding.

April 2013: The future of DAW is highlighted in a news report by BBC Wales video here.

Spring 2014: The move of the bookstock begins from The Maltings to its new home at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. DAW leaves The Maltings and moves into temporary accommodation, pending its move back to the old library in Splott.

August 2015: DAW brings back the successful Summer School, held this year at the Willow Globe. Summer School Newsletter

Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Cardiff Council, Councillor Georgina Phillips with The Unknown OUTCasts Director Lon David

July 2016: The 83rd British Final Festival of One-Act Plays is held at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. The Unknown OUTCasts return the Howard de Walden trophy to Wales (after 24 years!) with their play Contractions. Further details on this weekend can be found here




July 2018: Wales win at the 85th British Final, with The Players' Theatre with their production of The Bridge by Gabe Torrens.

August 2018: The DAW office in Cardiff is closed and the new base is located in Colwyn Bay.

August 2019: DAW appoints new Chair Anthony Evans, with the office being run remotely.

March 2020-March 2022: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all festivals and anuual Summer School are cancelled.


Updated March 2023

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