Saturday, 21 November 2009


RhylRhylIn 1921 Mr. Billie Manders, a female impersonator, and his concert party of entertainers named The Quaintesques played the first of many summer seasons in the Pier Amphitheatre which was at the shore end of the pier, roughly where the Seaquarium is now.

The pictures above were taken in 1930 and are from Rhyl History Club Community Archive. In the group picture Mr. Manders is the one standing with his hands on shoulders of the chap in front. Then it was an all-male company; eventually it became a mixed company.

The advert is from the official tourist guide book of 1948. Mr. Manders died in 1950 when he was in his early fifties. The show carried on under the watchful eye of his widow Gladys with the help of producer/director/ singer/dancer Al Dixon. The Quaintesques continued until 1962 and then withdrew having played 42 consecutive seasons.

A member of the company in its final few years was female impersonator- comedian-singer Johnny Dallas. He went on to be a favourite at the Amphitheatre after it had been renamed the Gaiety, and at the Queens Showbar in West Parade. His death was reported this month.

There is a 30-page chapter on Billie Manders & the Quaintesques and a portrait of Johnny Dallas in the book 'Entertainment In Rhyl And North Wales' by Bill Ellis, published 1997. Recommended.