Tamara Harvey pays tribute to former Artistic Director Terry Hands, who died today.
4 February 2020
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of our inspirational and legendary former Artistic Director Terry Hands.
Terry Hands served for 18 years as Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd (at the time known as Clwyd Theatr Cymru) during which time he established a world-class ensemble, produced internationally acclaimed productions, nurtured some of the UK’s leading creatives and saved the theatre when it was threatened with closure.
Tamara Harvey, Theatr Clwyd’s current Artistic Director paid tribute to her predecessor:
“Terry Hands was a giant of the theatre. And a colossus of Theatr Clwyd. He saved the theatre from closure – this is actual truth not hyperbole – and protected it from ongoing public funding cuts, keeping our theatre making teams together whilst theatres across the country were losing theirs. It is one of my great professional regrets that I didn’t have the chance to work alongside him, except through inheriting the organisation he cared for with such ferocious commitment for seventeen years. He was a brilliant artist, a focused, dedicated and unswerving visionary, and – on the occasions we had dinner together – a charming, irreverent and very funny man.
He nurtured a generation of Welsh actors, championing the depth and breadth of the talent in this country. He was also unswervingly supportive of and generous with young directors who came to further their training and development at Clwyd, including most recently Kate Wasserberg, Lora Davies and Phillip Breen.
When I arrived at Clwyd, I was reminded over and over again how enormous were the boots I had to fill by everyone else – but never by Terry. For one so terrifyingly intelligent and massively experienced, he had a surprising humility.
I once asked him why he’d never directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “I was there for the first performance of Peter’s Dream [Peter Brook’s iconic production at the RSC]. I knew that night, having seen his, that there was nothing more to add.”
Theatre in Wales and beyond owes him an immeasurable debt. He will be sorely missed by all those fortunate enough to have known him, whether as colleague, mentor or friend.”
Terry joined Theatr Clwyd in 1997 and throughout his 18 year tenure directed some of the greatest plays by the world’s leading playwrights including works by Shakespeare, Ayckbourn, Dylan
Thomas, Tom Stoppard, Arthur Miller, Arnold Wesker and Noël Coward.
His landmark productions at the theatre included Macbeth starring Owen Teale, Nicol Williamson in the title role of King Lear, Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, Mary Stuart which featured his daughter Marina Hands, the acclaimed Under Milk Wood with a returning Owen Teale and, his final production for the theatre in 2015, Hamlet, starring Lee Haven-Jones.