Long standing GDL mainstay, Geoff Lake, tells the story:

"Whilst looking through old minute books I came across a bequest from Mrs Muriel Phillips who left five hundred pounds to the League to help with expenses for competing teams in the One-Act competition in 1979. She talks about the friendships and pleasure she has had since joining the League as founder member in 1946.

Minute books that have been handed down to us only go back to 1957. Amazingly, in the accounts for that year there is recorded no less than 88 paid up groups affiliated to the GDL with over 30 individual members!

So, just after the Second World War, a group of amateur theatre enthusiasts got together to form an organisation that would bring together Am Dram groups working within the borders of the Glamorgan County Council area which stretched from Cardiff in the east, Merthyr to the north and Swansea and the Gower to the west. Their purpose was to organise competitions, social and training events and to bring together groups to share their experiences and expertise.

In 59 years nothing much has changed except that an important aim, now, must be to raise the profile of amateur theatre (or, as we prefer to call it, 'Local Theatre') with the general public. This was not necessary back in 1946, as every village and indeed a lot of workplaces had their own group and were an integral part of the community.


The Glamorgan Drama League organises the local round which is part of the national Wales One-Act Play Competition.

For many years it was the Berwyn Festival of One-Act Plays, based at the Berwyn Centre in Nantymoel, but returned to Cardiff in 2005.  Crossing the county proved a positive move and to that end, the festival was held from 2006 to 2012 inclusive, at the Dylan Thomas Theatre, courtesy of our hosts, Swansea Little Theatre.

Since 2013, the festival has moved locations a few times, settling for a while in the Sony Theatre in Bridgend; in the theatre at Coleg y Cymoed in Llwynypia; at the Welfare Hall in Ystradgynlais. In 2017 the event moves again, this time to the Savoy Theatre in Tonyrefail.

Recent History

July 2016

The British Final Festival of One-Act Plays is hosted by DAW in Cardiff, in the Sherman Theatre.

For the first time since 1992 (when the British Final Festival was last held at the Sherman), Wales brings home the trophy! The winning company is a GDL group, The Unknown OUTCasts with their production of Contractions by Mike Bartlett.

June 2016 Four of the finalists at the Wales Final Festival, held this year at Theatr Colwyn in Colwyn Bay, have come from the Glamorgan Festival. As last year, two of the finalists are productions from The Unknown OUTCasts.
July 2015 The British Final Festival is held in Swindon: Wales is represented by GDL member company Cardiff Players with their production of The Obituary.
June 2015 The Wales Final Festival is held in the very fringes of the GDL area, in the Welfare Hall in Ystradgynlais. Five of the six performances at the Wales Final are from the Glamorgan round of the One-Acts.
June 2010 The Wales Final Festival was once again held in GDL territory: this time at the Taliesin Theatre in Swansea. It was won by a GDL youth company, the Cardiff-based The Unknown Theatre Company, with their production of Cotton Girls by Scott Tobin
July 2007 The British Final is held in Solihull: GDL company, The Players' Theatre represent Wales with their production of The Bridge.
June 2004 The GDL played host to our peers from across Wales by hosting the All-Wales final round of the One-Act competition.  The festival was held at the Taliesin Theatre in Swansea. 

Do you have an interesting item of GDL history?
Please help us build a fuller history: contact us with your reminiscences or other information for inclusion on this page.

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