Page last updated at 21:03 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 22:03 UK

Welsh college students perform at Buckingham Palace

Bryn Terfel
Bryn Terfel performed two songs in front of the Prince of Wales

Students from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) have been performing in front of Prince Charles, Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Dame Shirley Bassey.

The gala dinner at Buckingham Palace marks the college's 60th anniversary.

Bryn Terfel sang to an audience including comedian Rob Brydon and his Gavin and Stacey co-star Ruth Jones - both former RWCMD students.

The dinner came as the college unveiled a number of new performance facilities.

RWCMD patron Prince Charles watched a series of performances - including harp recitals and a historical performance - by former and present students.

'Mixture'

The Prince of Wales also gave a speech and met guests including Dame Elizabeth, who was twice married to Welsh actor Richard Burton.

Dame Shirley said she was "delighted" to be invited to the gala dinner as a supporter of the college in her home city, Cardiff.

"The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama was one of the two charities that benefited from my auction a few years ago of many of my stage gowns," she said.

"I was invited and delighted to accept."

FAMOUS PAST STUDENTS
Sir Anthony Hopkins
Sir Anthony Hopkins, who graduated in 1957 before going on to star in Hollywood films such as The Silence of the Lambs and Nixon.
Ruth Jones, who wrote and starred in Gavin and Stacey and also starred in Little Britain, Fat Friends and Little Dorrit.
Comedian, actor and presenter Rob Brydon, who played Uncle Bryn in Gavin and Stacey. He left the college before graduating to join Radio Wales.
Actress Eve Myles, whose role in Torchwood scooped her the 2007 Bafta Cymru best actress award.
Victor Spinetti, actor who starred with the Beatles in A Hard Day's Night.
West End stars Aneurin Barnard and Iwan Rheon, who earlier this year picked up Olivier awards.

The evening featured a series of performances showcasing the talents of the college's students, alongside Terfel, an honorary fellow of the college, who made his Buckingham Palace debut singing at the event.

A tribute to Richard Burton was read by his close friend, actor Robert Hardy.

Guests also included Lord Lloyd Webber, Lord and Lady Sainsbury of Preston Candover, Sir David Frost, Sir Michael Parkinson and Sir Howard Stringer, together with several members of Richard Burton's family.

'This evening has been an exciting occasion for the College, and a fitting climax to our 60th anniversary celebrations," said RWCMD president, Lord Rowe-Beddoe.

Doubling

The college, based in Cardiff, was founded in 1949 in Cardiff Castle.

It now trains around 600 students a year from across the UK and abroad in acting, stage management, theatre design, music and arts management.

The college is in the process of doubling in size, with new facilities including four movement and acting studios, an exhibition gallery, a theatre and a concert hall.

Bryn Terfel launched a fundraising drive in 2008 as the college looked to raise £3.5m from donors towards the £22.5m total. The Welsh Assembly Government gave a £10m grant.



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SEE ALSO
Welsh actors triumph at Oliviers
22 Mar 10 |  Wales
Curtain up on drama college refit
15 Sep 09 |  Arts and Culture
Terfel aids 3.5m college appeal
04 Nov 08 |  South East Wales
Liz Taylor backs Burton theatre
22 Feb 05 |  South East Wales
Bassey gowns up for auction
12 Sep 03 |  Wales

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