Billy Purvis, the Jester of the North, is to get a blue plaque on Newcastle’s Quayside to commemorate his contribution to North East culture.
Regarded as the “first professional Geordie”, Billy became an entertainer and showman. He was an actor, dancer, comedian and conjurer, while his musical skills included playing the big drum and theUilleann pipes.
Having served his time as a drummer at Newcastle Theatre Royal, then in Drury Lane, and later as a doorkeeper at the Assembly Rooms on Newcastle’s Westgate Road, Billy set up his own travelling show in 1818.
His troupe toured extensively throughout northern England and lowland Scotland for the next 35 years, although it was in the North East that he was most fondly remembered at race meetings, hoppings and gatherings.
Billy Purvis, the subject of a new autobiography by the Tyneside historian Dave Harker, features in Mr Corvan’s Music Hall. It was based on Dave’s biography of Ned Corvan, Cat-Gut Jim the Fiddler, and toured the region to great plaudits in 2017.
The blue plaque unveiling, hosted by Newcastle City Council, will take place in the Close on Newcastle Quayside (between the High Level Bridge and Wetherspoon’s Quayside pub) on Monday, February 18, at 11am. Afterwards there will be refreshments and entertainment in the Guildhall. Entry is free. All are welcome to attend.
On Friday 1st February at 1.30pm at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Andy eastwood will be presenting another session of Midday Variety. Joining Andy will be Helen Farrell, Steve Barclay, Dean Stansby, Romany and the London Philharmonic Skiffle Orchestra.
On Thursday 14th March, Andy returns with guests Simmons and Simmons, Bob Brolly and his Band and Victoria Jones. The show will again commence at 1.30pm
For further information go to: http://www.belgrade.co.uk
Our President Roy Hudd headlines The Good Old Days at The City Varieties Theatre in Leeds on Friday 15th March and Saturday 16th March. Supporting Roy will be Mat Ricardo, Judith Hibbert and Andrew Robley with Richard Gauntlett as Chairman.
On Friday 22nd March and Saturday 23rd March Billy Pearce will be the top of the bill supported by Peter John, Helen Watson and Edward Hilsum with Mark Walsh as Chairman.
For further information go to http://www.cityvarieties.co.uk
The February meeting of In The Limelight will feature Anne Goulden with the 2nd part of her presentation on Wyn Davenport’s Autograph Album. What was travel to South America and South Africa like with a magic act in the 1920s? What other acts were on the bill?
To find out come along to the Club For Acts and Actors, 20, Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9HP on Thursday 7th February at 7.45pm. All welcome.
Voluntary donations towards the expenses of these meetings are greatly appreciated.