Tuesday, 14 March 2017


Rhyl in the 1930s played host to many stars but few as internationally famous as American bass baritone singer Paul Robeson whose one-off performance at the Pavilion in 1934 was a very big event.

The late Jack Griffiths, ex-councillor and author of a history of the Parish of Rhyl and the Parish Church, was a boy usher at the theatre that night. Jack told me, "It was sensational. I've never seen so many people on Rhyl promenade. Huge crowds waited just to catch sight of him."

After his appearance in Rhyl, Paul Robeson made the films 'Sanders Of The River' (1935) and 'Showboat' (1936). Hear him sing his famous song Ol' Man River from 'Showboat' on YouTube:

He returned to Wales to make the 'The Proud Valley' (1940) in which he played a coal miner – his favourite film:

film movie

The late Paul Robeson is held in esteem and affection in Wales to this day. Read about his achievements and his political activism in Wikipedia:

The following references are added here for indexing purposes:
Harold Holt agent promoter, Lawrence Brown piano, Julian Shelley Trio.