There is evidence of many different artistic talents throughout Gwaenysgor’s known history; artists, poets and actors have flourished, and no wonder with the inspiration that comes from our beautiful village surroundings.
Drama In Gwaenysgor
When the War Memorial Institute was built in the early twenties after the First World War, a Welsh Dramatic Society was started – Cwmni Perthnasau – which regularly put on plays.
In 1928 the dramatic society decided that in addition to producing two Welsh dramas yearly, they would also put on two English language farces to cater for the non-Welsh speaking public.
The Welsh drama productions seem to have come to an end sometime in the 1950s. The War Memorial Hall had become dilapidated and had been demolished in the 1930s. The only available meeting place for village groups was the old school.
Islwyn Parry recalled how the Wesleyan Chapel was also involved in amateur dramatics during the 1940s:
We used to meet in the Vestry on a Monday night… You’d learn a drama, a little play after Bible Class. We had a circuit then, there were ten chapels in the circuit, and we had a competition then, a drama competition, so each chapel would learn a one-act play and then we would go to Newmarket, to the Memorial Hall or to the Institute in Gronant or somewhere in Ffynnongroew and put a play on. You would have ten plays, three or four a night, Welsh plays, one act.
Soon after the Second World War, a Gwaenysgor branch of the Women’s Institute was established. Gwyneth Smith who moved to the Old Rectory in the 1950s had been actively involved in amateur dramatics in Prestatyn and soon a WI drama group was developed under her leadership.
The WI entered a play in a local Drama Festival and did well. The next year, another play was prepared for the Festival. The group worked hard on this play and were looking forward to the Festival when one member of the cast announced that she would be away on the date of the competition.
This caused a rift and Gwyneth resigned from the group.
She then set up the Studio Gwaenysgor Studio Players independently from the WI. This group recruited members from Prestatyn as well as Gwaenysgor.The Studio Players went on to compete in Festivals for several years and performed in many places in Flintshire and other parts of North Wales.
Gwyneth Smith later became the both the WI and the Girl Guides drama advisor for North Wales. In the 1960s, she produced a Flintshire WI production of “Joseph And his Multicoloured Dreamcoat” and a pageant to celebrate the centenary of the International Red Cross, which staged are-enactment of the Battle of Solferino with a cast of hundreds at the trotting stadium in Prestatyn.
In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s an amateur show was put on in the village hall every Christmas involving all the children in the village (some as young as two years old!) throughto the teenagers. Parents made the costumes and generally helped in any way they could. It was a great community event each year and is still talked about with great fondness. Fiona Smith produced these shows while she lived in the village and was also very active in the theatre group, ‘The Rhyl Liberty Players’.
Bringing us up to date; the Ace Group (Arts, Community and Entertainment) is now working in conjunction with ‘The Arts Council for Wales’ and ‘Flintshire County Council’ to bring professional entertainers into our own village.
The Art and Craft Club
We also run a flourishing Art and Craft group which meets every Tuesday morning in the village hall.
There is a Book Club where members meet in one another’s houses every other month. Books are supplied by the local library.