Advert for the Strand Theatre
Printer: Canning & Co
Medium: Print on paper
Victorian variety halls developed from music taverns, which had small rooms set aside for musical performances. As this form of sociable entertainment grew in popularity, the rooms grew in size, and by the 1840s music halls were purpose-built, with a raised stage and tables and chairs. In the 1890s, the tables were largely removed, the promoters preferring fixed seating in parallel rows to maximise the number of people in the hall, and thereby their profit. Eating and drinking was now widely banned from auditoriums.
Music hall or variety shows were broad-ranging affairs: a single night could include farce, comic performance, singing, dancing, acrobatics and circus performance.