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Freddie Lees

Freddie Lees became a great favourite with Swansea Audiences during John Chilvers era, and was one of a select group who would receive an “entrance round” (that is applause for just coming on stage in a play) when appearing in rep at the Grand. Born in Oldham in 1934, he always wanted to be involved in show business and after 3 years in the R A F two of which were spent in the Suez Canal Zone, he joined a touring company for a year followed by a three-performance-a-day panto for five weeks with a different town every week! So his third job took him to the Swansea Grand to play a schoolboy in “The Facts Of Life” which was part of John Chilvers first rep season for the Willis family, which consisted of 6 plays.He went on to appear in 5 pantomimes at the Grand “Jack and the Beanstalk” with Ryan Davies and Bryan Evans in 1975/76, “Aladdin” in 1978/79 With Ivor Emmanuel,“Puss In Boots” in 1980/81 with Davy Jones of the Monkees, “Jack and the Beanstalk” in 1982/83 with Don McClean and  “Aladdin” again in 1985/86 with Bernie Clifton and Ria Jones – Ria is now a big West End Star, and whose brother is Swansea’s own female impersonator Ceri Dupree. Freddie’s last appearance in Swansea was in “Educating Rita” - starring alongside Melanie Walters ( now famed as Gwen in Gavin and Stacey) and directed by Swansea’s own Menna Trussler.  In the mid sixties Freddie Lees spent two years with the National Theatre Of Western Australia, and followed that with four Mediterranean cruises for P&O on the “SS Arcadia” doing old time music hall. Over the years he has been back to Swansea many times to do plays and Pantos, and in the late fifties even did a season as stage manager. Freddie Lees has always  considered Swansea his second home. As well as appearing in panto with Ryan, he also played his nephew come agent in “The Sunshine Boys” at the New Theatre Cardiff, which also starred Bill Owen - Compo from “Last of the Summer Wine”. Freddie Lees has appeared at most of the regional theatres and has appeared in many tours. In the West End he was in “Johnny The Priest”, Norman Is That You” and “Billy” at Drury Lane and then went on to  “Oliver” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” both at the London Palladium. In “Chitty” he played the Toy maker, to rave reviews, during Michael Ball, Gary Wilmot, Jason Donovan and Brian Conley’s Stints as Caractacus Potts. He was also proud to appear in “The Mousetrap” in its 15th year. and has appeared in many pantos through the years alongside the likes of Lulu, Ken Dodd, Jim Davidson, Brian Conley, Barbara Windsor, Bonnie Langford and Cannon And Ball. He has appeared on Television many times, with two stints on Coronation Street in the Seventies playing two different parts, and more recently “Little Britain”, “Old Gits” and “Hotel Babylon”. On radio he played the leading role in the 6 part serial ”Deep Six” and was in “Call Me Madam” with Tyne Daly both for radio 4.

Freddie as Dame at Swansea Grand Theatre in 1982/83

in the pantomime “Jack And The Beanstalk”