ABOUT CY

An insight into the man himself
Born in British Guiana (now Guyana), South America, Cy Grant (1919-2010) lived an extraordinarily life.

He served as a Flight Lieutenant Navigator in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, was shot down and spent two years as a prisoner of war in Germany. After the war he qualified as a Barrister at Law, but went on to be an actor on stage and in film, as well as a singer in concert and cabaret. His was the first black face to be regularly seen on British television, singing the news on the BBC TONIGHT programme.

He had his own series on Radio and TV and his acting career is on record in BLACKSTAGE, an Oral History Project kept at the Theatre Museum. He is the author of RING OF STEEL, pan sound and symbol (Macmillan 1999), and other books. He was the Chairman/co-founder of DRUM, the London-based Black arts centre in the 1970’s and Director of CONCORD Multicultural Festivals in the 1980’s. He was an Honorary Fellow of the University of Surrey, Roehampton and a member of The Scientific & Medical Network.

Cy Grant was the first black celebrity to be featured regularly on television in the United Kingdom.
"Tonight" was a BBC television current affairs programme broadcast in Britain live on weekday evenings from 1957 to 1965.
HIS CAREER
STAGE
  • Member of the Lawrence Olivier Festival Co. London & New York, 1951-2
  • This Way to the Tomb, Arts Theatre, London
  • Comedy of Errors, Bristol Old Vic & Baalbeck Festival 196-
  • Othello, Phoenix Theatre, Leicester, 1965
  • Cindy Ella (with Cleo Laine and Elizabeth Welch) Garrick Theatre, London 1966
  • The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd - tour 196-
  • Joseph and his Multicoloured Dream coat, Haymarket, Leicester, 1975
  • Ice Man Cometh, Royal Shakespeare Co, London, 1976
  • One-man show: Return to My Native Land by Aime Cesaire, platform performance at the National Theatre, before transferring to the Theatre
  • Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, London 1977 and on tour for two years including the Edinburgh fringe festival
  • Kingdom Come, King's Head, London
  • Night & Day, Derby Playhouse 1981
  • Maskarade, Talawa 1994*THEATRE MUSEUM: National Video Archive. Interview: Blackgrounds
FILM
  • Sea Wife (20th Century Fox) 1956 Location: Jamaica
  • Calypso (ENALPA Films, Italy) 1958 do Haiti, Puerto Rico, Antigua
  • Shaft in Africa, 1973 do Madrid
  • At the Earth’s Core 1974
TELEVISION
  • Man from the Sun (BBC) 1956 (Repeated 1992 Black & White in Colour)
  • Home of the Brave (Granada) 1857
  • TONIGHT, BBC 1957-60: singing the news in calypso.
  • The Encylopoedist (BBC) 1961
  • Freedom Road, ATV (with Cleo Laine, Madeline Bell etc.) 1964 (Won 3 major prizes BERLIN T.V Festival)
  • GTV9, Australia, ( daily appearances for 6 weeks) 1964
  • Cindy Ella (The stage play was first a radio play, an LP & Book) 1966
  • Schools Othello Act3 Sc.3 (with Judi Dench) Assoc. Rediffusion Watch:
  • Egypt ; Moses and Pharaoh BBC Schools Series 1980
  • Blakes 7, 1980, BBC TV – Series Three episode Aftermath, playing Hal Mellanby
  • The Persuaders Episodes of The Persuaders, Softly, Softly , Born Free etc .
  • Captain Scarlet series Voice Lt. Green, Captain Scarlet series, a Gerry Anderson production
  • Metal Mickey Series, ITV
  • The Cleo Laine Show
  • Windrush Gala 1998
OWN TV SERIES
  • For Members Only daytime TV series ITV 1955
  • Country Style, Tyne Tees TV
  • Songs that Matter ATV 1971
CONCERT
  • Kongress Hall of the Deutschen Museums, Munich 1963
  • Queen Elizabeth Hall, 1971
  • Music Societies throughout Britain: De Montford Hall Leicester (2 Christmas Concerts with Leicestershire Philharmonic Choir) etc.
CABARET
  • Savoy, Churchills. Quaglinos, Esmeralda's Barn, London West End and abroad (Bricktops Rome, New Stanley Hotel, Nairobi, Governor General's Ball Malta, Cruises etc.)
  • CSE (Combined Services Entertainment) Tours: Cyprus, Maldives, Singapore, Libya
RECORDS
  • 2 LP's for World Record Clubs: Cool Folk and Cy & I, (with Bill LeSage)
  • Ballads Birds & Blues, Reality Records
  • Cy Grant, Transatlantic
  • 45 : Psalms for the Grail, etc.
  • Single: King Cricket (Garfield Sobers)/Learie Constantine
BROADCASTING

Over 90 entries listed in BBC Sound Archives between 1954 and 1982, among them the Plays:

 

  • Prisoners Progress
  • Blackamore Dandy
  • Cindy Ella
  • Upright Now My Country & I World Service 197
  • The Way of Nature (A series of meditations on the Tao te Ching), World Service of the BBC, 1980 (Repeated 1982)
  • Toussaint, Part 2 Tree of Liberty World Service 1990, featured in Salutations (Radio 2 series paying tribute to black entertainers) 1993?
  • Caribbean Cocktail (Alex Pascall Desert Island style series) 1994
OWN SERIES FOR RADIO 2
  • Rhythms of the Sun 1997
  • Calypso Chronicles, 1994
  • Panning for Gold, 1995
  • Amazing Grace 1997
BOOKS
TALKS, LECTURES, READINGS
  • The Tree of Liberty in the Caribbean (Narrative Anthology) South Bank 1989: (Bi-Centennary French Revolution)
  • Cheltenham Festival of Literature 1989
  • Negritude Revisited (from unpub.book Blackness & the Dreaming Soul):
  • Dartington Conference What Future for the Arts l988,
  • Open University Third World Studies Summer School 1989,90
  • Center for African Studies  Birmingham University, 1989
  • Loughborough University 1990
  • Influences: Central Library, Coventry
  • Return to My Native Land: Birmingham Museum
  • Only Connecting: A.E.M.S advisors and teachers, Trent Polytechnic, Exeter School
  • Columbus as Icon (From Blackness & the Dreaming Soul): Open University Summer School, 1992
  • David Pitt Memorial Lecture: British Library 1998
PUBLICATIONS
  • Papers & Reviews Resurgence Magazine
  • Extract Blackness & the Dreaming Soul Wasafiri, 1989
  • Colour & Prejudice, Concord in Devon Report. 1985
  • Poem, Caribbean Voices (Anthology John Figueroa)
  • Poem, Bluefoot Traveller (Anthology West Indian Poets in Britain ed James Berry)
  • Mother Country, (Chapter 1 - Blackness & the Dreaming Soul) Kykoveral 1996
CONFERENCES
  • Dartington Conference - What Future for the arts? (paper) 1988
  • OPEN DIALOGUE lll. THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN CULTURES CONFERENCE - Washington DC 1988 - DOWNLOAD PDF
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