The Pierrots of Llandudno Will Return For One Very Special Celebratory Day
THE PIERROTS of a Conwy seaside resort will reawaken for one day only in the culmination of a very special heritage entertainment project.
‘Seaside Follies’ event will take place on Llandudno’s north shore promenade on Saturday, September 29, as part of the celebrations to mark the culmination of a six-month project into the history and practice of Pierrot troupes and seaside entertainment in the town, inspired by the influence of theatrical impresario Will Catlin.
Venue Cymru is built on the land where the Arcadia Theatre, run by Will Catlin and where his Follies performed, once stood. The man himself is remembered at the theatre’s café, which is called ‘Catlin’s’.
‘Seaside Follies’ includes free outdoor performances by the two newest Pierrot troupes in the UK – the professional adult troupe ‘The New Follies’ and the youth troupe ‘The Jollies’, which is made up of local children. The children have been through intensive training with Dr Tony Lidington, who ran a professional troupe ‘The Pierotters’ for almost three decades.
‘The New Follies’ will be doing walkabout performances along Llandudno promenade and are encouraging anyone who sees them to stop the troupe and ask for a song and a joke!
There will also be sketches by pantomime Dames Nigel Ellacott, known to audiences of Venue Cymru’s panto and Stuart Loughland from Theatr Colwyn’s pantomimes in Colwyn Bay. Also on the bill are the talented young people of Llandudno Youth Music Theatre who will be singing on the bandstand.
The fun starts at 11 am on the promenade opposite Venue Cymru, where actress Julia Quayle will do a one-woman promenade performance of a new play about a dancer in the 1920s, working at the Arcadia theatre.
Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Conwy Arts Trust, the project has been led by Dr Lidington, a leading seaside entertainment historian, who has also put together a special exhibition about Pierrots in Wales, Catlin and concert parties. This opens on 29 September at Venue Cymru, runs until January 2019 and will be free to view.
Dr Lidington said: “There will be an interactive exhibition inside Venue Cymru and the launch of the ‘Seaside Follies’ website, to which anyone is asked to contribute with images, memories and thoughts.
“We have worked with local students from Bangor University, local youth and professional artists and a range of local archive and museum services to engage with as wide a cross-section of the population as possible. Come along – it’s seaside fun for all the family!”
Cllr Louise Emery, Conwy County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This will be a fascinating and entertaining day. Locals and visitors will be amazed by the unique performances showcasing Victorian seaside culture on the historical background of our sweeping Victorian prom – don’t miss it!”
The original Catlin’s Follies was a family friendly, ensemble show and played to great success in Llandudno, with a mix of live acoustic music, slap-stick comedy and basic choreography, proving a huge hit with audiences.
Catlin also used innovative marketing techniques such as sending his Pierrots to the train station to meet the holidaymakers as they stepped down onto the platform.
For more information about ‘Seaside Follies’ visit www.venuecymru.co.uk