Poster advertising an entertainment at the Canterbury Theatre of Varieties
Printer: Smith, Walter
The Canterbury Theatre of Varieties opened in 1851 on the site of an old skittle alley opposite the Canterbury Tavern. After it was extensively rebuilt in 1876 to provide a three-tier theatre, entrance hall, promenade and lounge, it soon became a favourite venue for performers. The entertainment on this evening in August 1886 included a variety of different acts, from acrobats and performing dogs to well known names such as Jenny Hill (1851-1896), the "Vital Spark" loved for her energetic singing and dancing. At the top of the bill is Carl Hertz, a magician whose extraordinary performance involved the "instantaneous disappearance of a lady in full view of the audience". He was to become more famous in 1921 for making a bird in a cage vanish in front of the House of Commons Committee - a feat that was achieved by the unfortunate bird being crushed by the cage and killed.