Acting Wales: Stars of Stage and Screen by Peter Stead

By Peter Stead

A lot has been written concerning the sociology of yank performing and extra lately there was a dialogue of the ways that the necessity to rival Hollywood and the arriving of tv replaced the character of English performing culture which have been primarily theatrical. we will be able to now speak with self belief of a Welsh performing culture. even though missing a metropolitan centre, a tradition within which either chapels and colleges inspired recitations and function allowed an curiosity in beginner dramatics to advance. ultimately actors graduated from Wales to the glamour of London's West finish and to the movie studios. What did Welsh actors give a contribution to English- language theatre and cinema? extra lately there were new expert possibilities in Wales itself and therefore gifted new generations of actors were amphibious, operating either at domestic in Wales in addition to across the world. each one bankruptcy will evoke an actor, check their paintings and occupation and establish the social and mental dimensions explored therein.

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Unlike Novello, Emlyn Williams was not blessed with the looks of a god but he never gave anything less than an impression of being very satisfied with what he had to offer. He was totally at ease with his looks and used them to maximum effect. To me he was essentially feline and he exuded all the satisfaction that most cats express as they tidy up their bodies after a delicious snack. It was no accident that ‘George’ Williams was preening himself when he first saw the man who was in the process of becoming Emlyn in that Rouen mirror.

His mother had taken him to see a play about ‘village-folk’ performed by an amateur group from Ffynnongroyw. The trouble was that the play was performed in Welsh, the everyday language of the hearth and 33 EMLYN WILLIAMS chapel, and therefore ‘as dull as real life’. His mother had been more impressed: she had liked the live sparks which had emanated from a real anvil, and had thought the blacksmith ‘had a look of those Protheroes that worked with your father’s cousin’. But then came a trip to the Royalty Theatre in Chester to see Dick Whittington.

Madam Clara was never far away and a room was kept for her at Ivor’s Berkshire home. Webb has her turning up at Ivor’s great first nights ‘beaming with goodwill and brandy’. She died in 1943, three years after she had published her autobiography for which her son had written a foreword. In some respects Mam had earlier been replaced by Lloydie, a Cardiffian and one of her former pupils who came out of the army in 1919 to become Ivor’s secretary and, in effect, personal manager, positions he was to hold until his heart attack in 1945.

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