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Colin Hodges

Colin Hodges is one of the very few amateur performers whose mere entrance onto a stage warranted applause. Colin had a star quality that could easily have transformed into a professional career in entertainment if he had chosen that path. His first "performance" came on the stage of Swansea Empire theatre when he was just ten years old. His mother and father would regularly take Colin to the Empire to see the variety shows there. One show involved a Magician called the Great Lyle. Colin was mesmerized by this illusionist and when near the end of his act he asked for a volunteer from the audience, Colin, to his parents horror, jumped up onto the stage. He assisted The Great Lyle with an illusion involving taking a wristwatch from an audience member and it disappearing, The Great Lyle then turned to Colin and said "we're in trouble now Colin, go and apologise to the gentleman" as quick as a flash Colin countered with "Do your own dirty work" The audience roared with laughter  - with his mother at this point under her seat. An assistant then brought out a box which when touched by Colin transformed into a white rabbit. Around the neck of the rabbit was the watch. As Colin took a bow and great applause his desire to perform was realised. He first began to sing and act at Fabian's Bay church in St Thomas. They would perform a very moving play based on the story "Mary Jones and Her Bible", the true story of a young Welsh girl who saved for six years and walked 25 miles for a bible in her own language. He attended St Thomas Dumbarton House and Swansea Grammar School before moving on to Swansea University where he obtained an honours degree and became a teacher of the classics. First at Cathays High School in Cardiff from 1956 -59, then moving on to Penlan Comprehensive School from 1959 - 1985. During 1955 Colin was persuaded by his university friends to enter a talent show at the Swansea Empire hosted by Carrol Levis. to his surprise he won it. Carrol Levis was very complimentary and told Colin he could join the tour around Britain's Empire theatres the next week. When Colin turned him down as he wanted to finish his degree, Levis immediately turned from Mr Nice to Mr Nasty, astounded that someone would turn down the opportunity. Colin first auditioned for Swansea Amateur Operatic Society in 1961 and got the part of Mr. Snow in Carousel at The Grand Theatre, a role he played on two further occasions with the society in 1971(joined by his 6 year old daughter Paula who played one of the Snow children) and 1985. In 1966 a new minister arrived at Fabian's Bay church where Colin was a young deacon. The minister was invited to "The Student Prince" and was horrified at Colin's portrayal of a beer swilling carousing student and left before the show had finished. He summoned Colin to his office later and berated his performance. Colin assured him that he was only acting and that the bottle actually contained only water, he invited the minister along to the next show "Guys and Dolls" where Colin played a Gambler! singing the immortal "Luck Be A Lady". Fearing the worst Colin was pleasantly surprised when he was again summoned, but all was ok as at the end of the show the character was converted and joins the Salvation Army, gaining the approval of Colin's minister.

His favourite role was that of Henry Higgins in "My Fair Lady" which he did alongside Jean Thorley as Eliza in 1969 and again alongside Ria Jones in 1982. He also answered an SOS from Maesteg Amateur Operatic Society in 1977, just two weeks before curtain up, to reprise the role of Higgins. Due to the untimely death of David Dennis Thomas. 

Colin also performed a few shows with Gendros Catholic Amateur Operatic Society including their first at Swansea Grand Theatre "Kismet" in 1980. Colin and his usual female lead Jean Thorley thrilled Swansea audiences for many years, playing to packed houses at Swansea Grand Theatre with queue's at the theatre box office forming as early as 6.00 am. 

After leaving Penlan School he lectured at Tycoch College, and now can be found as minister of his beloved Fabian's Bay church. He admits to having led a charmed life juggling a successful teaching career, a wonderful family and a great career on stage, achieving great success in all three. He appeared with Swansea Amateur Operatic Society for 30 years and  also appeared in "The King And I" with a young Catherine Zeta Jones in 1981.

I remember "Mr Hodges" as my history teacher, a funny teacher who I greatly respected and thank for my CSE Grade 1. If he had chosen to lead the path of Professional theatre I'm quite sure that he would have risen to the top of the profession. He was that good!


Annie Get Your Gun 1964

My Fair Lady 1982

Carousel 1985

My Fair Lady 1969

Hello Dolly 1988