FLUELLEN Theatre Company will be performing the first professional production of a play by the man who discovered Richard Burton

His name was Philip Burton, a Welsh teacher, writer and academic who taught at a school in Port Talbot attended by the young pupil destined to become a great actor.

It was he who discovered and mentored the young Richard (who changed his name from Jenkins to Burton in honour of his teacher) setting him on the path to international fame.

The play called Granton Street was written in 1934 and first performed by the YMCA Amateur Dramatic Society in Port Talbot, then, several years later, produced in a truncated radio version for the BBC.

But until now it has not had a professional production. Its existence was discovered by local author and highly-respected historian Angela V John who came upon it while researching her book, The Actor`s Crucible, about the wealth of actors who came from Port Talbot.

The play will be staged at Theatr Gwaun, Fishguard on Friday, October 20,

Angela said: “Philip Burton’s Granton Street is a fascinating play. It is, at one level, a Romeo and Juliet story of a collier`s son who becomes a doctor and falls in love with the local coalowner`s daughter.

“But it is also a really fascinating take on politics, education and social change by a teacher and collier`s son who had first-hand experience of social mobility.”

Set in the small front room of a family in the fictional South Wales mining town of Abernansant on the eve of a by-election, it is a powerful drama of political and emotional passions as events threaten to tear the tightly-knit family apart.

The production is set to coincide with the publication of the text of the play, with a forward written by Angela John, who first brought the existence of the play to Fluellen`s attention and is working very closely with the Company on the new production.

“Two years ago, I saw Fluellen perform “Strike For A Kingdom”, a stage adaptation of Menna Gallie`s novel about a Welsh mining town in the depression,” said Angela.

“It was a lovely production and I felt that Fluellen was the ideal company to approach about Philip Burton`s play”.

Fluellen`s artistic director Peter Richards, said: “We were delighted and honoured to be asked to stage Granton Street. It is a major piece of Welsh theatre that has lain neglected for far too long. Congratulations are due to Angela John for encouraging its much-deserved revival”

The play is on at Theatr Gwaun on Friday, October 20 starting at 7.30pm. For further information call 01348 873421.