The Theatres Trust

Adelina Patti Theatre (Craig Y Nos)

  • Theatre ID
    344
  • Built / Converted
    1891
  • Dates of use
    • 1891: continuing
  • Current state
    Extant
  • Current use
    Theatre (Private theatre, now in occasional use)
  • Address
    Craig-y-Nos Castle, Abercrave, Powys, SA9 1GL, Wales
  • Website

Details

A small theatre building added by Dame Adelina Patti and her husband, the tenor Nicolini, to an existing neo-Gothic house. The most ambitious of the few private theatres in Britain, and still intact. Like Chatsworth, it also functioned as a ballroom but has a proper stage with fly tower, and also original machinery and scenery, including a spectacular act drop of Patti as Semiramide, attributed to Hawes Craven. The stage has a slight negative rake. The small, rectangular auditorium has a coved and panelled ceiling and the walls are richly articulated by giant, fluted Corinthian columns. The proscenium, flanked by columns, has a central pedimented tablet with the names of Verdi, Rossini and Mozart. There is no fixed seating. The flat floor can be tilted downwards towards the stage to form a raked auditorium and a sunken orchestra pit opened up. The main house was for many years used as a hospital, later converted to a hotel. The theatre continues to be used at intervals for performances of opera, however the fabric has deteriorated over time and some is in a poor state of repair. This is one of the most important private theatres in Britain and deserves exceptional effort to see it restored and brought back to fuller use.


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Backstage Equipment at the Adelina Patti Theatre, Abercrave, circa 2013
© Craig Y Nos Castle

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Auditorium of the Adelina Patti Theatre, Abercrave, circa 2013
© Craig Y Nos Castle


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Scenery border at Adelina Patti Theatre, Craig-Y-Nos, Abercrave, 2003
© The Theatres Trust

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Scenery backstage at Adelina Patti Theatre, Craig-Y-Nos, Abercrave, 2003
© The Theatres Trust


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Exterior of Adelina Patti Theatre, Craig-Y-Nos, Abercrave, 2003
© The Theatres Trust

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Side Elevation of Adelina Patti Theatre, Craig-Y-Nos, Abercrave, 2003
© The Theatres Trust

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  • Events
    • 1891 Use: continuing
    • 1891 Design/Construction:
      • Bucknall & Jennings - Architect
      • Jackson & Sons - Plasterwork
  • Capacities
    • Current: 158
  • Listings
    • Grade I
  • Stage type
    • Pros flat
  • Dimensions
    • Building dimensions: Auditorium 10.48m long x 7.46m wide
    • Stage dimensions: w: 6m (20ft) d: 6.46m (21ft) at pros wing SL: 2.80m SR: 3.19m
    • Proscenium width: 6m
    • Height to grid: 7.93m approx
  • Unreliable anecdotes
    The stage of the theatre has no rake in the conventional sense of the term, but there is a distinct, if slight, negative rake. It has been said that Patti, not being very tall, did not want to appear overshadowed and so arranged it that, when she appeared, she would enter downstage, the apparent height of those upstage of her being reduced by the negative rake. The room is said to be "a replica of the Drury Lane Theatre" (Alan Jones's book on the (Swansea) Grand Theatre p.197). It is not. "An exact copy of the Bayreuth Staatsoper"-part of the description in the recent sales prospectus. It is not. There is no such theatre.

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