Tuesday, 16 February 2016


In this blog there is mention of the Coliseum on western promenade being established in 1921 as an open air theatre. It was owned by the council and leased out to 'concert parties' of singers, musicians, dancers and comedians .

One of the earliest, if not the first, leaseholder was Billy Churchill whose show Uncle Billy’s Jolly Boys could not have been there more than half a dozen years but made quite an impact because long after the troupe had gone the public were still referring to the Coliseum as “the Jolly Boys”.

The longest lessee was Will Parkin who took over the theatre in 1927. He inherited Mr. Churchill’s mantle of Uncle Billy, and presented professional shows there until the 1950s.

In Bill Ellis’ book 'Entertainment In Rhyl And North Wales' (published 1997) you would find an entire chapter about Will Parkin. Since then - nearly 20 years - I have been looking for a Parkin picture that Bill had not included, and here it is:


Click on the picture to see a bigger version.

This pic is from the late 1920s when the troupe was called The Optimists; Mr. Parkin is the one sitting on a surreal animal. By early 1930s, a time of economic depression in UK, they were called The Super-Optimists!


Colin Jones / email: rhyl.colin.jones@live.co.uk

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