Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Theatre at Craig-y-nos  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
The theatre is attached to the NW of the house with entrance from the corner of the front courtyard.  


Broad Class

Theatre was constructed in 1890 by Bucknall and Jennings of Swansea with decoration by the famous London plasterers Jackson and Sons of Kensington, part of a large extension to a mid C19 mansion built for the famous opera singer Adelina Patti following her acquisition of the property in 1879 (see history of Craig-y-nos for more details). Plan is a small version of the Bayreuth theatre and seats 150. Stage retains side flats of painted garden scenery by Steinhardt and curtain drop by Hawes Craven depicting Madame Patti as Semiramide. At the opening in 1891 Madame Patti performed extracts of La Traviata and Faust. Originally there was a balcony along the back (S).  

Attached to NW side of main house and adjoining the clock tower, its frontage forming the N side of the main entrance courtyard. The theatre frontage is, like much of the Patti extensions, of contrasting coursed red sandstone and pale ashlar dressings, with slate roof incorporating a glazed and louvred ventilator. Facade has pilasters with triglyph frieze, cornice and pierced parapet, small central doorway with pediment. To right over the full height remodelled main entrance doorway and window is a raised stucco panel depicting cherubs, swags and musical trophies with decorative side pilasters supporting a small pediment surmounted by a figure holding a tambourine. To the side the masonry is coarser, snecked rockfaced sandstone, pale lower courses, yellow brick dressings, part rendered. Tall fly tower has hipped roof with separate ventilator; access for scenery and workshops below; windows have cambered heads.  

Outstanding decorative interior, with fine plasterwork moulding, painted in pastel green and peach and gilded. Auditorium of 4 bays with part-fluted part-decorative Corinthian columns; in between are painted panels with opera composers' names at base above a dado incorporating ornamental heating grilles between column plinths; side swing doors; above is a continuous frieze also incorporating names of opera composers; cornice supports wide volute brackets dividing coved painted ceiling panels with the main central section incorporating decorative plasterwork flanking the rooflight. Proscenium arch is flanked by twin Corinthian columns on a deep plinth; these support a swagged entablature with 'Rossini' the central name of the frieze; at the centre rises an open pediment enriched with reclining figures and cresting with central cartouche incorporating the initials ANP representing Adelina (and) Nicolini Patti. The stage has an original curtain drop depicting Madame Patti as Semirade and side hangings of garden scenery. The floor, kept horizontal, can be raked for audience seating and to provide an orchestra pit with balustrade, the original machinery still in working order - as are the ropes, weights and pulleys controlling the scenery in the flies, the trap doors under the stage, the foot and stage lights and the heating system. To the rear, part of the main building complex, are suites of dressing rooms, some retaining fireplaces.  

Reason for designation
Listed Grade I for its outstanding architectural character and extreme rarity as a private theatre attached to a country house. Group value with other listed items in the complex.  

Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]