On the 29th October 1936 the Pioneer Newspaper carried an advert for the New Rialto which announced. “For a short nine-week season the Stanley Ravenscroft Repertory Company will be presenting a series of plays and comedies.”
The season commenced a few days later on the 2nd November, with Ravenscroft selecting the Welsh playwright Ivor Novella’s popular comedy ‘Full House’, for his opening play. (Incidentally almost 36 years before, Novello’s mother and step sister had performed on the same stage).
The first short season proved so successful that without any formal contract it was extended with Ravenscroft and his Company commencing an association with the theatre which lasted until the autumn of 1958.
Formers members of the Ravenscroft Rep describe the ‘Boss’ as he was known, as completely wrapped up in the theatre. He lived alone in a flat situated upstairs in the building, but he used to spend a lot of his time in Brighton checking out actors for Colwyn Bay. Ravenscroft was always smartly dressed and was often seen smoking a cigarette. Those who worked with him at Colwyn Bay described him as ‘a gentleman of the old theatrical kind.’
Originally the rep performed all year but by the early 1950s audience levels fell and the theatre turned to seasonal work. In 1958, Ravenscroft announced that due to ill health he was retiring and closing down the company. He left his flat at the theatre and moved to one around the corner, in Rhiw Road.
He died at the age of 77 on the 27th May 1960. Current theatre staff believe that the ghost of Mr Ravenscroft haunts the venue to this day, keeping watch on the place he loved so much.
By Roy Schofield – historian for Theatr Colwyn