Silk Programme thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Silk Programme

1876 (printed), 1876 (engraved)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Silk and satin theatre playbills and programmes were produced from the 18th century onwards, to commemorate special evenings at the theatre. Most theatres in the 19th century would have had some made to mark grand openings or milestone performances. By the end of the First World War however the practice had generally died out, only being revived very occasionally, more often at London's opera houses than any other theatres.

This programme was produced for the last week of Henry Farnie's enormously successful burlesque Blue Beard at London's Folly Theatre in October 1876, starring Lydia Thompson, the highest-paid and most popular star of the 1870s burlesque stage. It also advertises the forthcoming production of the burlesque Robinson Crusoe starring Lydia Thompson as Selim. Blue Beard had been a hit since Lydia Thompson first performed it in New York in 1871. After a five-year tour in the United States, her husband Alexander Henderson produced it in London at the Charing Cross Theatre, opening on 19 September 1874, transferring it to the Globe Theatre on 24 December 1874, where it ran until the following July. A Christmas version was produced in November 1875 at the Globe Theatre, and after a tour in the summer and autumn, it returned to the Charing Cross Theatre on 16 October, when Henderson re-named the theatre the Folly.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Printed silk
Brief Description
Silk programme for the last nights of Blue Beard by H.B. Farnie at the Folly Theatre, 23 October 1876 'and every evening', starring Lydia Thompson as Selim, preceded by Pecksniff by Harry Paulton, adapted from Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens. Letterpress on silk illustrated by Pilotell (Georges Labadie 1845-1918).
Physical Description
Silk programme in landscape format divided into two pages by decorative borders, each illustrated with images of characters and scenes from Blue Beard. On cream silk with narrow integral fringe, printed in blue typography and headed: 'Programme. Enthusiastic Reception of MISS LYDIA THOMPSON AND COMPANY'. Advertising the last nights of Blue Beard by H.B. Farnie and Pecksniff by Harry Paulton at the Folly Theatre, London, week commencing Monday October 23rd 1876. Also advertising the forthcoming production of Robinson Crusoe on Saturday 11th November 1876. No year or name of theatre specified on the programme.
Dimensions
  • Including fringe height: 29.0cm
  • Including fringe width: 37.5cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Credit line
Given by Antony Collieu on behalf of Charles Lepper.
Object history
This programme is for Miss Lydia Thompson and Company at the Folly Theatre, week commencing 23 October 1876. The cast of Pecksniff is listed as Martin Chuzzlewit Sen., Mr. L. Fredericks; Martin Chuzzlewit, Mr. W. Forrester; Mr. Pecksniff, Mr. Lionel Brough; Jonas Chuzzlewit, Mr. Philip Day; Tom Pinch, Mr. Appleby; Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Martin; Augustus Noodle, Mr. Willie Edouin; Bailey, Miss Lina Merville; Mary Graham, Miss Alice Grey; Mrs. Todgers, Miss Maria Davis; Charity Pecksniff, Miss Keene; Mercy Pecksniff, Miss Violet Cameron. The cast in Blue Beard is listed as Selim, Miss Lydia Thompson; Blue Beard, Mr. Lionel Brough; Corporal Zoug-Zoug, Mr. Willie Edouin; Ibrahim, Mr. Philip Day, Fatima, Miss Violet Cameron; O'Shacarac, Miss Ella Chapman; Hassan, Miss Topsy Venn; Sister Ann, Miss Keene; Fez, Miss Montague; Zaid, Miss Alice Grey; Beda, Miss Lina Melville; Chorus, Mesdames Vernie, F. Honiton, B. Honiton, Deacon, Leslie, Morgan, Brougham, Chorley, Carthew, H. Morgan, K. Abenel, Wilfred; Egly; Burgoyne, Talbot, Gordon, Patterson and Graham. Also advertising Robinson Crusoe with new scenery by Grieve & Son; costumes by Mrs. Wilson from designs by Mons. Marre, Grand Opera, Paris. Acting Manager Mr. J. C. Scanlon.
Associations
Literary ReferenceBlue Beard
Summary
Silk and satin theatre playbills and programmes were produced from the 18th century onwards, to commemorate special evenings at the theatre. Most theatres in the 19th century would have had some made to mark grand openings or milestone performances. By the end of the First World War however the practice had generally died out, only being revived very occasionally, more often at London's opera houses than any other theatres.



This programme was produced for the last week of Henry Farnie's enormously successful burlesque Blue Beard at London's Folly Theatre in October 1876, starring Lydia Thompson, the highest-paid and most popular star of the 1870s burlesque stage. It also advertises the forthcoming production of the burlesque Robinson Crusoe starring Lydia Thompson as Selim. Blue Beard had been a hit since Lydia Thompson first performed it in New York in 1871. After a five-year tour in the United States, her husband Alexander Henderson produced it in London at the Charing Cross Theatre, opening on 19 September 1874, transferring it to the Globe Theatre on 24 December 1874, where it ran until the following July. A Christmas version was produced in November 1875 at the Globe Theatre, and after a tour in the summer and autumn, it returned to the Charing Cross Theatre on 16 October, when Henderson re-named the theatre the Folly.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
S.5009-2009

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record createdDecember 8, 2009
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