Theatre in Wales

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Rebel voice in Aberystwyth     

Welsh veteran screen and stage actor Kenneth Griffith will deliver the annual lecture of the newly-launched National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales at Aberystwyth on December 5 2001.

Griffith, now 80, is celebrating his 60th year in film - an unprecedented career for a Welsh actor. He made his feature film debut in Love On The Dole (1941) but his breakthrough came with a lead role, as a vicious young blackmailer, in Shop at Sly Corner (1947) Griffith, born in Tenby, is also noted for his fiercely partisan television drama-documentaries, often with a robust anti Imperialist or anti-Colonialist stance. Key works have dealt critically with the British role in South Africa and Ireland. He will
be discuss his life, beliefs and career with David Berry, author of Wales and the Cinema: the first hundred years as well as take questions from the floor from the audience.

Griffith is best known to many for his performances in screen comedy, alongside Peter Sellers, notably in I'm All Right, Jack (1959) when he played a Welsh 'nark' ingratiating himself with Sellers's union boss Fred
Kite, and in the Swansea- set Only Two Can Play (1962), from the Kingsley Amis novel.

In recent times Griffith has enjoyed humorous cameos in Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down A Mountain and this year's Sara Sugarman British feature Very Annie Mary.

One or two of the Welshman's 'Irish' documentaries were banned - such asHang Up Your Brightest Colours (1973) a sympathetic treatment of Republican icon Michael Collins, and Curious Journey (1977) interviews with survivors of the Irish Troubles. The latter has still never been
screened on television; the Collins film made in the 70's was not shown until BBC Wales screened it in the 90's. Griffith, president of the
International Untouchables Association in India, has travelled abroad extensively, often championing groups he perceives to be underdogs or the victims of injustice , notably in Black As Hell, Thick As Grass (1972), about the Zulus, Soldiers of the Widow (1972) and Sons of the Blood (1977) about the Boers and Afrikaaners. Many of his programmes - the majority for
BBC Wales - have been directed by Michel Pearce.

Griffith's TV biographies include tributes to Tom Paine (The Most Valuable Englishman Ever, 1982) and actor Edmund Kean (The Sun's Bright Child, 1978).

A recent three day retrospective of Griffith's cinema and TV work was shown at the leading film arts venue in Wales - Chapter in Cardiff, when the
actor's great friend Peter O'Toole attended.

National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, first annual lecture:

A Night in the Company of Kenneth Griffith
7.00, Room A12, Hugh Owen Building,
University of Wales

Free entrance - a warm welcome to all
UNiversity of Wales, Aberystwyth  
web site
Arthur Dafis
Monday, December 03, 2001back



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