Shrek’s dragon comes to life in Carmarthen


Students and staff at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) have teamed up with the Carmarthen and District Youth Opera (CDYO) on their latest production.

An image of the dragon from Shrek being built by a student

CDYO will be performing Shrek – The Musical in the renowned Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen between 21 – 25 February. They approached the University’s Theatre, Design and Production team to create the dragon, called Elizabeth, who guards Fiona and who rescues Shrek, Donkey and Fiona from Lord Farquaad at the end of the story.

Dave Atkinson, Lecturer on the BA Set Design and Production programme said: “We were approached to build a dragon puppet for the production of Shrek. This was a perfect opportunity to showcase the Set Design and Production course based at the University’s Carmarthen campus as we could integrate the project into a second-year module. 

“As part of the module, our students designed and built the dragon alongside teaching staff as well as specialist guidance from Jake Linzey, a graduate of the course who is a director of the multi-award winning prop and puppet makers, Leviathan Workshop

“The project is a classic example of the use of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) within the creative industries as the counterweight balance had to be calculated for the reach of the dragon head, while also using mechanics to operate the mouth and head movements. 

“The students are also working on the show as puppeteers and stage management so they will benefit from seeing it through from start to end”. 

An image of the dragon from Shrek being built

Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Youth Opera said” that creating a Dragon which was worthy of this production was always going to be a challenge and, and we are delighted that this key part of the show, has been conceived following collaboration between ourselves and University of Wales Trinity St David’s (UWTSD). This beloved character has been brought to life by the 2nd Year students studying Set Design and Production and we have no doubt she will delight you all with her fiery personality and stage presence. A huge thank you to the University, Course Tutors and especially the students who not only created and built her but will also be joining us for the performances and being an integral part of the show as puppeteers and stage management. It is great that they were there at the start of the process and will also be with us at the end.”