Music hall was one of the most popular forms of affordable mass entertainment in the mid-to-late Victorian period: not as seedy as the pop-up 'Penny Gaffs' it largely superseded, but not as formal or socially exclusive as mainstream theatre or opera. This illustration is accurate in showing a wide range of ages and social classes mingling together over different entertainments.
An evening’s entertainment at a music hall generally consisted of popular scenes and songs from operas, vernacular songs about contemporary urban life, dancers, and even acrobats and trapeze artists. Music halls were also usually licensed premises where alcohol and tobacco were sold.
- Article by:
- Liza Picard
- Popular culture
From music halls and waxworks to freak shows and pleasure gardens, Liza Picard looks at the variety of popular entertainment available in the 19th century.