Swansea Grand Theatre 1971-2

Pictures supplied by and used with permission of Noel Talbot

 

The Fourmost, Reg Dixon, Nicky Stevens, Barry Hopkins, Noel Talbot

Reg Dixon and Noel Talbot

Further information provided by Vivyan Ellacott

1971-72

Pantomime was so successful that, by the first week it was extended to an eleven week run.

 

Reg Dixon & Noel Talbot- Twankey & Wishee

Eddie Caswell- Emperor of China

It featured “The Willow Pattern Plate” Story ballet- Cherry Willoughby Dancers

Princess- Nicky Stevens – later to become one of the “Brotherhood of Man”

Colin Cresswell- Abanazar

The Fourmost – Liverpudlian pop group as Chinese Policemen.

Barry Hopkins- Aladdin.

Jonathan Blake- Slave of the Lamp

Anna Lou and Maria- Speciality Act.

Francis Mortimer- ASM

 

Directed by John Chilvers

House Manager: Vivyan Ellacott

 

This pantomime coincided with the Miner’s Strike- a major industrial crisis in the country, and a whole series of planned power cuts

“Britain Gropes in the Dark as miners’ strike starts to bite” Feb 16th 1972.

 

Total electricity black-outs lasting nine hours a day were imposed on the entire country.

 

Vivyan Ellacott remembers-

“Our first blackout was from 6pm to 9pm. The Backstage boys coped well with this first one. We had two car headlamps in the Gallery, two on each side of the Circle  and two operated on the run outs in the stalls.

 

The audience seemed to like the show very much and the kids thought it was enormous fun. It was a bit of a comedown when the electricity came back on for the last three-quarters of an hour of the show.

 

The second blackout was on Wednesday February 16th. It was scheduled to start at nine o’clock. This time we moved the show forward, starting at six o’clock instead of six thirty, and cutting the show down to finish by nine. The walkdown was hysterical: time was ticking away and everyone tore down the centre steps and sang “Thank you very much” faster than it can ever have been sung before, Just as the last person left the auditorium, the blackout came!

 

Saturday February 19th

The Fire department reached a compromise- I was allowed to let the public remain for two hours (with the make-shift lighting). This meant delaying the start of the show by half an hour, to be within the time limit. As well as the eight car lamps we had used before, we had six extra in various positions around the theatre, together with two fixed behind the lenses of existing Patt 264’s so that their intensity and throw was doubled.

 

We also managed to borrow to large ship’s fog lamps and a ship’s battery. These acted as enormous powerful follow-spots. We had even been able to rig up a battery-operated microphone. The show went amazingly well.

 

The Pantomime ended it’s run on Saturday March 11th.

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