Greatest Welsh Actor to Come Home

Dame Elizabeth Taylor presents Prince Charles with a bust of Richard Burton

At a star-studded Royal Gala at Buckingham Palace, with Dame Elizabeth Taylor in attendance, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales tonight (29th April) announced that the new theatre currently under construction at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama is to be named The Richard Burton Theatre.

Dame Elizabeth said ‘Richard would have been so deeply touched by this great honour, as am I. It is wonderful to be here and join in this celebration, along with many others who remember and respect Richard with so much love in their hearts.’

‘The Burton family is deeply appreciative of the naming of this wonderful theatre,’ said Richard Burton’s nephew, Guy Masterson. ‘Wales has given the world some of its greatest artistes, and we are delighted that Rich’s legacy lives on in his homeland. We are confident that it will provide a great environment for the students at the Royal Welsh College.’

Kate Burton, Richard Burton’s daughter, added ‘I am proud and very excited about the naming of this theatre for my father. He was a very passionate and determined man and I know this new theatre in the capital of Wales will inspire future generations of young actors to follow in his footsteps.’

Prince Charles with Dame Elizabeth Taylor

The Richard Burton Theatre, along with the 450 seat Concert Hall, four Acting & Movement Studios and Exhibition Gallery, will be an important new addition to the College’s professional training and performance facilities. Designed by architectural practice BFLS, it is due to open in the Spring of 2011.

Dame Elizabeth presented Prince Charles with an original bronze bust of Richard Burton as a young man, which will stand in the foyer of the new theatre in the College.

‘It is wonderful to receive a bust of this great Welshman and personal friend in the presence of our Patron, His Royal Highness, who is an enthusiastic supporter of the College, and alongside representatives of the Burton family,’ said College President, Lord Rowe-Beddoe. He added, ‘This evening has been an exciting occasion for the College, and a fitting climax to our 60th Anniversary celebrations’. Hilary Boulding, Principal at the College added, ‘It’s a great thrill for the Royal Welsh College to be able to honour one of Wales’ most famous sons. Richard Burton is synonymous with a passion and talent for acting, and commemorating his legacy in this way will be an inspiration for our students. We are delighted that Wales’ newest theatre will bear his name.”

Prince Charles, Patron of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, had generously agreed to host the royal gala at Buckingham Palace as the culmination of the College’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

The evening featured a series of performances showcasing the talents of the College’s students, alongside Bryn Terfel CBE, an Honorary Fellow of the College, who made his Buckingham Palace debut singing at the event. A tribute to Richard Burton was read by his close friend, actor Robert Hardy CBE.

Prince Charles with Hilary BouldingPrince Charles with Rob BrydonPrince Charles with Ruth JonesPrince Charles with Bryn TerfelBryn Terfel with student Dame Shirley Bassey with studentsPrince Charles with studentsPrince Charles with studentsPrince Charles with studentsPrince Charles with Simon Jones, Head of Historical PerformancePrince Charles with studentsPrince Charles with studentsPrince Charles with Dave Bond, Head of Acting

Guests included Dame Shirley Bassey, Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon as well as Lord Lloyd Webber, Lord and Lady Sainsbury of Preston Candover, Sir David Frost, Sir Michael Parkinson and Sir Howard Stringer, together with several members of Richard Burton’s family.