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Carmarthen and District Youth Opera Receives Prestigious King’s Award for Voluntary Services

Carmarthen and District Youth Opera has been honoured with the King’s Award for Voluntary Services in recognition of its outstanding contributions to providing musical theatre opportunities for young people in the West Wales area.

Recognising outstanding examples of voluntary work, the King’s Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS) was created in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee and previously known as The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS), the Award has been shining a light on the fantastic work of voluntary groups from across the UK for many years. Equivalent to an MBE, KAVS is the highest Award given to local voluntary groups in the UK, and they are awarded for life.

Established in 1979, Carmarthen and District Youth Opera has been a cornerstone of the performing arts community in Wales for over four decades. What began as a small group of dedicated individuals at Carmarthen’s Further Education Centre youth club has flourished into one of Wales’s most successful cultural societies, thanks to the dedication of volunteers.

Under the leadership of the late Elizabeth Evans MBE and her husband David, Carmarthen and District Youth Opera has grown from strength to strength, showcasing high-quality musical entertainment and earning accolades such as the Lord Snowdon Award for its first annual music production of “Snow White” in 1979. Over the years, Carmarthen and District Youth Opera has continued to captivate audiences with productions ranging from “Oliver” to “Jesus Christ Superstar,” garnering national praise.

Further major Lyric refurbishment works in the early 1990’s and later, gave a home to the Youth Opera with a venue and facilities in which it could deliver productions of the highest quality to an audience of approximately 500 people. For a period of 15 years, it functioned as an entertainment centre run voluntarily by the Lyric Trust, drawn from the Youth Opera’s supporters. The theatre is since owned and run by Carmarthenshire County Council as a venue for current and future generations.

Carmarthen and District Youth Opera’s impact extends beyond the stage, with many former cast members pursuing successful careers in music and dramatic arts. The organisation’s commitment to excellence and inclusivity has earned it widespread recognition, including from Her Majesty the Queen, the Emir of Qatar, and their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

As Carmarthen and District Youth Opera celebrates this prestigious award, it remains firm in its commitment to nurturing young talent and enriching the cultural landscape of Wales.

Councillor Hazel Evans, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture & Tourism said:

“Carmarthen and District Youth Opera embodies the spirit of community and dedication to the arts that enriches our region. Receiving the King’s Award for Voluntary Services is a testament to the unwavering commitment of its volunteers and the profound impact the organisation has on nurturing young talent. We are proud to celebrate their achievements and look forward to their continued contributions to the cultural vibrancy of West Wales.”

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