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November 14 , 2007

Actors' Crucible

Port Talbot and the Making of Burton, Hopkins, Sheen and All the Others


<p>Richard Burton, Anthony Hopkins and Michael Sheen count amongst the world's most renowned and gifted actors. Yet they have something else in common: they all come from the south Wales steel town of Port Talbot. What is it about this industrial community that has produced such superstars?</p><p>Angela V. John, who also hails from the town, explores the lives of these acting legends before they became famous. She presents their emergence as part of a rich culture and commitment to drama long embedded in the town's history. She reveals too a host of other famous Port Talbot faces, from early stars such as Ronald Lewis and Ivor Emmanuel to more recent performers like Rob Brydon and Di Botcher, along with a cluster of young actors starting to make their mark on London's West End stage, and on the big and small screen. Her account culminates in the spectacular three-day event of Easter 2011 when Michael Sheen resurrected Port Talbot's pride and hopes through the unforgettable theatrical experience of <i>The Passion</i>.</p><p>This book puts centre-stage the shifting fortunes of a town, its actors and, crucially, its enablers - those unsung heroes who helped to nurture talent in schools, youth centres and youth theatre. Using extensive interviews, it provides a refreshing way of looking at the history of a community and a profession, as well as casting new and unexpected light on the backgrounds of its most famous stars.</p>
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