Skip to main content

Supporting the College and our students

Best friends Babs Thomas and Betsan Roberts have been good friends of RWCMD for many years. They talked to us about what it means to them to support the College in its work training future artists.

Babs Thomas and Betsan Roberts

Babs and Betsan met through a mutual friend in the late 1960s when Betsan was studying acting at RWCMD in its first home at Cardiff Castle. They’ve been coming to see our students performing together ever since, and have been supporting the College for many years. 

Through their annual support Babs and Betsan help the College create an incredible learning experience for the students so they can leave the College ready to enter the professional industry. As well as generously supporting students through Connect and the Chairs’ Circle membership schemes, they’ve also named a seat each in the College’s Richard Burton Theatre as well as one in memory of the friend that brought them together. 

Connect members generously support the students’ public performance opportunities and student, Niamh Pragnell Toal reflects on her experience of being in the College’s recent production of Dialogues of the Carmelites.

'This experience was my first opera and has definitely impacted who I am as a musician since. The beautiful story really struck me and encouraged me to look more into the context of my music to be able to translate them better on stage. Without this great opportunity I wouldn’t have been able to advance my musicianship and development. The professional nature of the production gave me a real insight to how the industry works and made me even more excited for the career ahead of me.'
Niamh Pragnell ToalStudent
‘There is something magical about watching young people perform. I was never given the opportunity to act when I was in school, which is why I love coming here so much. Seeing these students succeeding in doing something they really love, and being able to support them in their journey is what it is all about.’
Babs Thomas

Visitors to the College

As well as supporting our students philanthropically, Babs and Betsan are also regular visitors to the College productions, particularly the drama shows put on by the College’s student-led Richard Burton Company.

Their favourite play last year was ‘The 39 Steps’, a hilarious and high energy take on the classic film performed by a small but multi-talented cast. Betsan also enjoys the annual NEW season, which features specially commissioned plays, collaborating with the UK’s best writers and directors, which premieres in both Cardiff and London. 

‘The NEW shows are fantastic. As a Connect member, I was invited to attend the behind-the-scenes meeting with all the designers and writers before they started rehearsals. It was so interesting to see how they put them together from start to finish.'

'The College is a wonderful place. I still have weekly Zoom meetings with my friends who were students here too, and Babs and I come here for a cup of coffee and a catch up, sometimes even if we don’t have a show to go to!’
Betsan Roberts

Explore section