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Layton, Tony

Tony Layton

Tony Layton

Tony Layton is a playwright and theatre director who lives in the the coastal town of Llandudno in North Wales. 

Tony has been a journalist, a photographer, a merchant seaman, an RAF medic, an office worker, a commercial traveller and a mature student at Edinburgh and Hertford. He claims that the short time he spent at Newbattle Abbey College in Dalkeith as a mature student was a valuable experience that helped him take stock of what had been a varied career. He saw that his experiences were a valuable resource for his writing.

He has a soft spot for Suffolk where he taught drama for many years before going to Wales, the land of his fathers. His family had left Wales during the war to escape the bombing and moved to Blackpool, and then on to Cheshire where Tony found his first job in Wilmslow.

Since retiring from teaching in the 1980's, where he was advising teachers on the teaching of drama, he has concentrated on writing for theatre and television. His television play "S LOVES B" won the BBC award for writing in 1995. His plays for theatre have also been awarded prizes by the Drama Association Of Wales, namely ‘Lucy in the Sky’, ‘Exit Right, Running’, ‘Honeymoon Suite’ and ‘Sharks in the Custard’ the latter being the most successful play on the books of the DAW.

He founded the Swansea Youth Theatre and when he moved to Carmarthen he founded the Merlin Youth Theatre both, of which, are thriving today. In Swansea he quickly established himself as a theatre director of plays and musicals.

In collaboration with Roger Hart he has written three musicals; ‘A Little Carnival’, ‘The Razzle Dazzle Man’ and ‘Merlin’. His friend, the poet and broadcaster, John Bilsborough, has also been involved in the last two of those projects. His musical play ‘Once Upon A Spell’ written in collaboration with the composer Dulais Rhys, is a piece for Junior school age children.

In 2002, his major play with music ‘Dylan’, was produced in collaboration with Alun Gibbard, who had produced a television play on the life of Dylan Thomas. An important element of this play was the original music by Osian who produced an enchanting CD.

Tony has a drawer full of plays that will probably never see the light of day. However, he says that to him they are important because a writer has to practice his craft to find a voice and a style. He thinks that "a would-be playwright should find a way of working closely with actors when learning his craft. You will soon find out what works and what needs a red line through it". Also, he finds that working with young people keeps him fresh and alive to the changing moods and rhythms of language.

His main advice when talking to writers is for them to always remember that theatre is a visible medium and much can be said without words. "Enormous blocks of dialogue on a page often represent a poorly written play. Give words space to breathe and allow space for emotion, reaction and expression". Tony is currently on the list of the Welsh Arts Council Writers on Tour and enjoys speaking to groups on the art of writing natural dialogue.

Writer's Website

  • None

Titles We Represent

  • Dylan (with Alun Gibbard)
  • Merlin (with Roger Hart & John Bilsborough)
  • The Razzle Dazzle Man (with Roger Hart & John Bilsborough)
  • Once Upon A Spell (with Dulais Rhys)