Tag Archives: theatres

Variety Troupes in Rhyl 2! The 1920 Rhyl promenade

I wasn’t sure whether to use this film to highlight the 1920s Rhyl Promenade or another of  the Variety Troups who were a regular feature of Rhyl’s seaside entertainment from Victorian times until the 1950s.

Some great shots of the promenade and the extent of the sand hills in the East End at this date. The BFI caption has a mention of friend of the site Colin Jones, who runs a great Rhyl blog, reads:

“After you have seen this Picture, you will want to visit this Popular Health Resort’ declares the title-frame – and the two (male) Jovial Jesters company members certainly put life and soul into playing the eponymous ‘Mr and Mrs Jones’ having a high old time of it, larking about and viewing the delights of Rhyl vertiginously from atop their charabanc as it trundles along the seafront.

According to Colin Jones’s ‘Rhyl Life’ online blog, Gilbert Rogers’s Jovial Jesters appeared in Rhyl during summer seasons from 1907 until the 1920s, occupying the minstrel pitch on the sands opposite High Street. In this film made by the Shannon Film Company for Rhyl Advertising Association, the parts of Mr and Mrs Jones are played by Hardy Palm and Harry Fife, clad in jesters’ attire and (Mrs Jones) Welsh shawl and tall hat. Other Jovial Jesters appear too – acting drunk on the charabanc and performing on a beachfront stage – the whole spectacle attracting quite a crowd of spectators.”

Jovial Jesters on Rhyl Promenade

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The Merrie Men: Variety Troupes in Rhyl

There was a long tradition of seaside variety troupes of entertainers who performed comedy, dance a musical numbers and sketches.

May troupes spent the whole summer season in a single resort a in Rhyl the Coliseum a Gaiety Theatre would often  house them.

Probably the most famous Rhyl company was that run by Billie Manders, but amongst the earliest was the Merrie Men. This short film dates from 1899!

The Merrie Men in Concert in 1899

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