In February 2022 Theatr Clwyd and Glyndŵr University announced that Theatr Clwyd would take over the running and programming of William Aston Hall. 12 months later and events are beginning to take place once again with a full programme in 2023.
Corwen local Liz Price has been employed as Operations Manager at William Aston Hall. We sat down with her to find out more about what’s in store:
Congratulations on your new position at William Aston Hall. Tell us about your role and what you get up to as an Operations Manager.
Operations Manager at William Aston Hall – in a sentence? Working behind the scenes and front of house, leading our new venue team give a warm welcome, keep our venue safe, the bar open and the future bright for William Aston Hall. I am also chief keg keeper, lost property finder and part time handyman.
It sounds like there’s a lot going on. It must be exciting to take over a venue and start from scratch.
Yes definitely! There’s been a lot to take on with bringing a venue back to life with a small team – myself and Deryn (Venue Technical Manager) have been working really hard behind the scenes before the doors even opened in November. From painting dressing rooms to upgrading the stage, sound and lights – and working with Glyndwr University to make things…work! We just want to make sure we’re in the best position to give everyone the best welcome, as so many local people have great memories of William Aston Hall.
The best thing has been recruiting a whole new local team. They’ve been amazing at adapting, welcoming and just getting on with everything that’s come their way since November. We’re still at the stage where we’re figuring out a lot of the details which has been challenging but fun. This place has got real history in every corner, finding Super Furries ticket stubs in the basement, demo CDs from local bands and hearing all the stories from our visitors so far has been amazing. Theatr Clwyd Trust really want to do the venue justice and make it a really valuable resource for Wrexham as a place, the community and wider area.
You’ve recently returned to North Wales from London. How important is it to have a venue like this in the area?
There’s so much potential, it’s the biggest venue of its type in North Wales and we want to make sure we give everyone the best welcome back. We really want to make sure it works for everyone and that we get as much variety of music, shows and events in.
I was running a food and music venue in South London through all the various stages of Covid, so understand how difficult it can be just to get the doors open of any venue these days – the challenges to get to this stage for most venues have been crazy, and I’m just so glad we’re able to welcome audiences back and go forward from here.
As a listed building and venue built in the 1950s it’s also got its challenges, but we want to make sure that as a venue it works for everyone and that it’s accessible to the local community and part of what’s always been a vibrant music scene in Wrexham.
William Aston Hall has been away too long so we want to make sure it’s a real asset to Wrexham and north Wales in general.
This year there are so many events taking place. What are you looking forward to?
2023 is going to be a massive year for us and we’re jumping on the chance to bring in a wide variety of performers, events and shows to Wrexham. From comedians like Frankie Boyle and Sarah Millican to beer festivals, local community events and touring shows, we’re hoping to make William Aston Hall and Wrexham a destination for more tours and artists.
Personally, I am really looking forward to getting the big live music gigs back in, I can’t wait to see 1200 people back in the Hall hearing the amazing sound – doing what William Aston Hall was always designed to do – be a home for music and performance! Watch this space and follow us online to find out more. A dream for me would be to get the Super Furry Animals back in here!
When you’re not working what do you like to do in your spare time?
I have realised recently, though, that I am pretty much obsessed with food, having been around a lot of pop-ups and food markets – I love the chaos and what comes out of it, and I’m really into the idea of having my own food business one day. I’m also really into live music and comedy, and help out at a lot of Welsh festivals each year like FOCUS Wales, Green Man and Machynlleth Comedy Festival.