Ah, the WMC – like a great, big, brown armadillo dormant in Cardiff Bay. That’s my way of looking at it, I suppose. Yet on one of the many tours that the staff organise around the Centre, you are encouraged to look closely at various different aspects of the venue’s striking architecture (courtesy mainly of Jonathan Adams, among others) and reach your own conclusions as to what they mean. For example, the actual shape of the venue is intended to resemble the back of a ship while the two slate constructions either side represent cliffs with the glass acting as the ocean. But I don’t know – I still see an armadillo.
With our cheery guide Sophie, myself and two fascinated older folks were taken in, out, up, down and around nearly every nook and cranny a theatregoer could hope to go. Everything excluding the auditorium itself. Strange, I know, but understandable since the cast of War Horse were busy rehearsing and weren’t keen on a small group of tourists ooh-ing and ahh-ing at every move. Luckily, we gawped from the safety of the Technical Box instead and Sophie’s in-depth and factual tour was not purged of its intrigue in the slightest.
As you could guess, the tour also comprises prying behind-the-scenes into rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms and any other room that may be of interest (sadly not the bathroom). You’ll be swamped with anecdotes and factoids aplenty, – did you know, for superstitious reasons, there is no Dressing Room 13? Spooky!
Facts abound at every corner on this tour. It certainly equips you with an all-round knowledge of any and every aspect of this iconic arts hub. There’s a lot more to that armadillo than one might think. Plus, it’s always nice to spout off some fun facts on your next visit too. Just pre-warn whoever’s sitting next to you.