Tonya was born and bred in the Gower Swansea although she travelled all over the world with her father's job, living for a period of time as a child in Indiana, USA.

Her love of acting came from performing in the Welsh festival tradition of The Eisteddfod. Her first main role came in school playing the part of Madamme Dubonnet in the musical The Boyfriend. As a teenager she went to singing, acting and dance classes where Sue Powell-Reed took her under her wing and helped her develop as an all round performer. She then went on to win a place as a member of the West Glamorgan Youth Theatre Company, where her discipline as a performer was advanced and she was given the privilege of playing many significant roles including Mother Courage and Lady Macbeth. Derek Cobley (The Artistic Director) saw her potential and encouraged her to take the next step and she successfully auditioned for the National Youth Theatre of Wales. Whilst with The NYTW company she began on a path that was to change and enhance her life forever. Simply being self sufficient and living away from home for five weeks gave her the chance to find herself and some life long friends along the way including the love of her life, her husband Richard. Her mentors were Paul Clements, Pauline Crossley, Menna Price, Dorien Thomas and Iain Stuart Ferguson who worked together to open her eyes to the possibilities and intricacies of the art of acting. This was such a large part of her life, that over the past ten years she has been a part of the artistic and teaching staff of the National Youth Theatre of Wales. Her role includes working on the residential courses but also year round as a development officer going to schools around Wales running workshops encouraging students to get involved with theatre. This has led to further links with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain where she sits on an audition panel for the workshop programme.

After A Levels Tonya gained a place at the Welsh College of Music And Drama in Cardiff under the guidance of Andrew Neil and Paul Clements. Here she played many roles including the lead role in Miss Julie on a nationwide tour. She won awards in stage combat and was a member of the Carlton Hobbs Radio Team.

Since college Tonya has worked extensively in television, theatre and radio in both English and Welsh language productions. Tonya has also turned her hand to both directing and casting (under the guidance of her associate and friend Suzanne Smith). These paths have crossed for short periods of time and although Tonya enjoys them very much acting is still her great love. As an actress she has achieved her ambition of touring a one woman show Witch Child, adapted by her and Derek Cobley. This proved to be a resounding success and after its first brief performance came back for a national tour.

Her biggest achievement to date however is her daughter Alys Hedd who was born in October 2006.



2008 Tonya Smith
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