Rhosllanerchrugog is a village of about 9,000 inhabitants situated on a hilltop overlooking the beautiful Vale of Maelor in North East Wales. To the English tongue Rhosllanerchrugog can be a bit of a tongue twister, and is often known simply as Rhos, however literally translated the name comes from the Welsh: rhos "moor"; llannerch "glade"; grugog "heathery" hence "Moor of the Heathery Glade."
The coal seams of north-east Wales led to the establishment of a large coal mining community and the development of the village itself during the 18th century. A symbol of Rhos' coal-mining and labour movement heritage is seen in the "Stiwt", the miners' institute on Broad Street. This fine building was erected and paid for by the miners as a social and cultural centre for the community.
Sadly, Theatr Stiwt entered a period of decline during the 1970s which eventually led to its closure in 1976. The grand old building that had once stood proud as testament to the spirit of a close-knit mining community was considered for demolition in 1985 due to its poor condition.
Fortunately the formation of the Stiwt Arts & Leisure Committee in 1988 led to the rebirth of the theatre, and with the help of local volunteers and a £2.1 million Heritage Lottery Grant the Stiwt was re-opened for business in September 1999.
Today the Stiwt Theatre has been transformed into a state-of-the-art venue for entertainment in the region, with a vision to nurture and develop the creative, cultural and recreational aspirations of all people in the immediate vicinity and wider community of Wrexham and indeed Wales.
The village of Rhos remains a vigorous Welsh community. Music, especially choral singing, has always played a prominent part in the life of the village of Rhos. It boasts one mixed choir, a musical theatre society, a drama society, two large male voice choirs and a female choir.
The Welsh Religious Revival of 1904 also had a major impact on Rhosllannerchrugog. The famous bardic line Beibl a Rhaw i Bobl y Rhos ("a Bible and a Spade for the People of Rhos) reflect the importance of both coal-mining and the chapels on the village's culture and heritage.
The churches and chapels impacted greatly on the linguistic and cultural profile of the area, and until the early 1980s chapel-going was significantly higher in Rhos than in most other parts of Wales or the UK. One result of this is that although only nine miles from the English border and surrounded by English-speaking villages, Welsh is still spoken as a community language in Rhosllannerchrugog.