Poster for entertainment at the Canterbury Theatre of Varieties
Printer: Hoenig, Alex
Medium: Print on paper
The Canterbury Theatre of Varieties opened in 1851 on the site of an old skittle alley opposite the Canterbury Tavern. It was extensively rebuilt in 1876 to feature a three-tier theatre, entrance hall, promenade and lounge and soon became a favourite venue for performers and audiences alike.
On this occasion, probably in the early 1890s, the entertainment included a variety of different acts from acrobats and stunt performers, such as Leonce who is illustrated here, to well known names including Bessie Bellwood (1847-1896). Bessie became famous for her cockney humour and rousing songs. She delighted audiences with her strong character - and often equally strong language - and her quick wit, which she used to good effect when heckled.