Celebrate some of the most popular entertainments of Victorian times
Performing pigs, magic tricks and pantomime! Roll up to celebrate some of the most popular entertainments of Victorian times performed in a variety of venues from fairground tents to musical stages.
Focusing on five colourful characters, follow their stories as we bring the worlds they inhabited to life. These Victorian A-listers include Dan Leno, the original pantomime dame and ‘funniest man on earth’, John Nevil Maskelyne, magician and manager of ‘England’s Home of Mystery’, and the great circus showman ‘Lord’ George Sanger. Also hear of those whose fame has now faded such as Annie De Montford, a mill worker turned mesmerist, and Evanion the Royal conjuror.
Step back in time with wonderfully decorative original posters, handbills, advertisements and tickets – all glorious examples of rare ephemera – alongside contemporary film and sound recordings. Explore the Victorians’ influence on the world of entertainment today. Without them we might never have experienced the joys of panto, stand-up comedy and even Britain’s Got Talent.
Every Saturday (15 October – 17 December, 15.00 – 17.00), a company of actors and performers will present archive material from the exhibition through the prism of contemporary performance.
Contemporary performance supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England
‘a fascinating whistle-stop tour’ - South London Press
‘a show exploring the spectacle and sheer pleasure of Victorian entertainment through vibrant playbills and posters’ - The Conversation
‘brilliantly colourful’ - The Guardian