Richard Burton’s legacy lives on

Local people from Richard Burton’s hometown are rallying around to keep the actor’s legacy alive by continuing to commemorate his life in the community.

Burton, who was renowned for his beautiful voice and colourful life, is one of many famous actors from the steel town, and local groups are now keen to have his legacy cemented in the town to showcase that Port Talbot has produced one of the biggest stage and film stars in the world.

Whilst there is a lot already being done to celebrate his life, local people believe that more could be done to mark the birthplace and legacy of Richard Burton, the famous actor who dominated the big screen; surely his hometown should now be a place for the world to admire his artistic achievements.

Eirwen Hopkins, Director of the Heritage Lottery funded project with young people, ‘Burton@14’, is keen for the community of Port Talbot to join forces at a public meeting at 6.45pm on Wednesday 27 September to come up with some ideas that can create a permanent legacy in the town.

She said, ‘We have decided to hold an open public meeting for any Richard Burton enthusiasts to join us at Carmel Chapel Vestry, Riverside, Glan-yr-Afon, Port Talbot.  It is hoped that we will be able to share thoughts on how the town can dedicate a permanent feature, to commemorate Richard Burton, and to remind the world of all the other stars that have put Port Talbot on the international map.  It is open to all so please feel free to join us.’

Sian Owen, Richard Burton’s niece, also an actor, said, “I am so glad that we are thinking of celebrating the legacy of such a big star from the area. We could create a fitting and overdue recognition of his achievements, and could also benefit the community as a whole. It would be good for as many people as possible in the area to feel able to contribute to the ideas and planning of this initiative.”

Recently the ‘Burton@14’ project, in partnership with Swansea University’s Richard Burton Archives, NPTC Group, and Neath Port Talbot Library Services, gave young people the opportunity to create a film about Burton, which premiered in June, with a guest appearance by another famous Port Talbot born actor, Michael Sheen. The project will be hosting another public event in Port Talbot to mark Richard Burton’s birthday in November.

The Richard Burton Archives