Poster advertising a benefit performance at the Canterbury Theatre of Varieties 588
Printer: Smith, W.
Throughout the 19th century, music halls hosted a variety of acts from singers and dancers to comedians, jugglers and magicians. So popular did this inexpensive entertainment become that by 1875 there were over 300 music halls in London. The Canterbury Theatre of Varieties, which opened in 1851 and was rebuilt in 1876, became one of the most successful of these London halls, popular with artistes and audiences alike.
It is evident from this poster of 1885 that the Canterbury Theatre was able to attract a large number of variety artistes for a benefit performance on 20 May. Since the members of this "talented Company" would not have been paid, only the most successful performers could afford to appear. Among them were G H Macdermott (1845-1901), "The Great Macdermott", and Jenny Hill (1851-1896), the "Vital Spark".