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Lyn Mackay

Lyn Mackay is a classically trained pianist with a passion for all things musical that goes very deep. Swansea born, she was brought up in a loving family in the sandfields area of the city. At the age of 13, she wrote her first song and by the time she was 15, whilst still at school, she played and sang at the Langrove Motel and Country Club in Gower for 3 nights a week and in 1976 appeared on television’s ‘Opportunity Knocks.’ During the 70’s/80’s, taking the stage name Lyn Lawrence she earned her living as a professional musician/pianist/singer/ in the clubs of the Welsh Valleys, North-East/South-West of England. She travelled extensively abroad, travelling as far afield as Bahrain-she went to Oslo for a month, got asked to go straight to Stockholm-fell in love with Sweden and as a result, spent almost 5 years there as the resident pianist/singer for the SAS Hotel chain in their prestigious Piano-Bars. She was the resident pianist/singer at the Playboy Club, London-went for a week-stayed 6 months and also did Sunday’s at Ronnie Scott’s. She did session work for EMI and then got the residency as pianist/singer at Kettners’ in Soho. Lyn was always on the periphery of national stardom- in fact the executives at EMI on a coin toss chose Kate Bush over Lyn. Lyn was often promised the earth and after hearing the shallow promises over and over  became disillusioned at the business she loved. During the 1980’s she married and had two boys, that she clearly adores. After the breakup of her marriage She felt the need to “come home” and bring the boys up as “Swansea Jacks”. As a single mum she took the decision to reinvent herself, took a degree and became a teacher at  Dylan Thomas school in Swansea. A role she continues in to this day. Lyn is now Head of Faculty; Expressive Arts, it is a job and a school she adores. She is also Teacher-in-Charge of Music with several very successful choirs. Through her, the school was the first in Swansea to offer a GCSE in Performing Arts. Now in their third year, their results have been so good, that as a result several other schools are now also offering the subject to their pupils with Lyn and her Departmental Staff acting as Advisors.

Lyn’s first appearance at Swansea Grand Theatre came in a touring revue called “Spring Thaw” in 1980. After returning to Swansea who’d have thought that 27 years after that first appearance at Swansea Grand Theatre she would return with her own creation “Swansea Girls”. Which was a great critical and commercial success which was produced in conjunction with Swansea Grand Theatre. The follow up “Swansea Women” was at the theatre in September of 2010, and all being well “Swansea Jacks” will follow. Lyn’s enthusiasm for all things musical is astounding and her “Glass Half Full” outlook on life is truly infectious, and she is yet another unsung hero of Swansea’s entertainment history.

Swansea Girls poster 2007/2008

Written By - Lynne Mackay

Musical Director - Gareth Thorrington

Choreography - Lloyd Carthew

Directed By - Kathryn Rice

Candid interview with Lynne Mackay April 2010