It is 30 years since the opening night of the New Pavilion Theatre. The occasion was billed as “First Night on the Prom” and was held on Wednesday, September 25th 1991. Mr Ednyfed Williams was the compère for the evening which featured Rhyl Youth Choir, Iwan Davies (Tenor), Clwyd Singers, Glenys Roberts (Soprano), Gay Harris Dancers, Point of Ayr Colliery Band and Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir. A welcome song (D. Hughes Jones) introduced the evening and was sung by Rhyl Youth Choir, conducted by Jefferson Thomas.
The original Grand Pavilion had been opened exactly 100 years earlier in September 1891, to read more about this click here
This pavilion was lost to fire in 1901.
A new pavilion for Rhyl was built in 1908 and demolished in 1974.
It was described in the 1991 Programme by Gwynedd Parry (the first President of Rhyl History Club):
“It was built in 1908 in less than six months at a cost of £16,500, seating just over 1000 people. The outstanding feature of the building was the huge centre dome; nowhere in Wales had such a span of ceiling been built without supporting pillars.
My earliest memory of this New Pavilion, as a young lad, was the Boxing Day Eisteddfod held there, which attracted hordes of enthusiastic competitors to this Mecca of culture; soloists, choirs and elecutionists etc. One local elecutionist during World War 1 became famous for her patriotic rendering of a poem entitled “Stick it to the Welsh”! The man responsible for founding and producing this great event was Mr W. Parry, the School Attendance Officer, who was the kindest, mildest character you could imagine, and a prominent member of the Welsh Baptist Chapel. The outbreak of WW11 sadly ended all this effort.
The Pavilion did a great service for Rhyl in so many ways; for example; the May Day Festival, culminating in the crowning of the May Queen. Nowhere but the Pavilion could stage such a Grand Finale to accommodate the scores of children taking part in the Festival
Top International artistes graced the stage at Sunday night concerts; Paderwski, Dame Nellie Melba, Mark Hambourg, Rosina Buckman, Clara Butt, Albert Sammons and more recently Dame Myra Hess under the aegis of Rhyl Music Club, which put on many superb events. And of course we have happy memories of our own Emlyn Williams and David Lloyd.
The Pavilion was filled and thrilled to hear performances by the Rhyl and District Choir of “Messiah”, “Elijah”, and other oratories. Then there were the “Musicals!”, The Garden of Allah, No, No, Nanette, The Belle of New York, Rose Marie, The Girl Friend etc. The Manchester Rep. was billeted here in WW11 and charmed us with their excellent performances. The Operatic Society and The Liberty Players never failed to give of their best.
Many of the artistes and titles I have named will hardly be known by this generation, but in their day they were as well known as today’s Pavarotti, Cliff Richards, Tom Jones, the Beatles or Morecombe and Wise.
One never to be forgotten appearance on this, the largest stage in North Wales, was a diminutive figure, and it was simply his entrance which electrified the packed audience. It was David Lloyd George at a pre-election meeting. The memory still lingers.
When in 1974 the Pavilion was demolished everyone in the town felt bereft, it was like losing a dear friend. Today, out of the ashes there has arisen the New Theatre. Let us wish it success and prosperity as we launch into the future.”
The programme continued with a welcome message from Councillor F.P. Selby, the then Mayor of the Borough of Rhuddlan, a photograph of the Theatre Manager Giles Ballisat and pen portraits of the performers.
2021 update – Unfortunately the main water tank in the New Pavilion Theatre burst in July of this year which left the 1891 restaurant severely damaged, and the box office, lobbies and toilets also damaged. There is no current date for reopening but we all look forward to our lovely restaurant and theatre re-opening in the not too distant future.