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Robert Adams was born in Georgetown, Guyana. He was a British actor on stage and screen. He was the founder and director of the Negro Repertory Arts Theatre, one of the first professional Black theatre companies in Britain.

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Born in Georgetown, British Guiana (now Guyana), Adams worked as a teacher and actor before coming to England in 1934 to try and make it as a professional actor. In London, he worked as a labourer and became a champion wrestler before breaking into acting in 1935.

 

An early role was in the 1936 play Toussaint L'Ouverture by C. L. R. James, acting alongside Paul Robeson. He went on to star with Robeson in films, including Song of Freedom, and he took the lead in a television adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones. The role of Brutus Jones, a Pullman porter who becomes the ruler of a Caribbean island, had already been played by Robeson on stage and screen. The BBC’s version was transmitted live from Alexandra Palace on 11 May 1938, and Adams became the first black actor to play a leading dramatic role on British television.

 

After Paul Robeson returned to the United States at the outbreak of the Second World War, Robert Adams became Britain’s leading black actor, and would continue acting on television in the 1940s and 1950s. In the late 1940s, he founded the Negro Repertory Arts Theatre. whose productions included O'Neill's All God's Chillun Got Wings, at Colchester in 1944. He also appeared in the Unity Theatre's 1946 production of the play and a BBC television production in 1946

Robert Adams the first black actor to play a leading dramatic role on British Television.

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