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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1957 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour, pen and ink, crayon and balsa wood on millboard

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Kingsway Recorders Ltd

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Fol-de-Rols were musical revues, first staged at Scarborough in 1911 as summer seaside entertainment. The mixture of comedy sketches and song was popular with holiday makers and the Fol-de-Rols became a regular summer feature. After World War I their producer, George Royle, went into partnership with Greatrex (Rex) Newman, staging Fol-de-Rols shows in Hastings, Westcliff-on-Sea, Eastbourne, Sandown and Llandudno. Royle retired in 1935 but Newman continued to present the shows, for which he wrote much of the material. During World War II the Fol-de-Rols company entertained the troops as part of ENSA (Entertainments National Service Association) and the popularity of the seaside shows continued throughout the 1940s and 50s, with a winter tour being added. In 1960 Newman sold the Fol-de-Rols to impresarios Jack Hylton and Hugh Charles. Charles took over the running of the shows and continued to present summer seasons and winter tours. Newman still wrote for them, providing topical material and lyrics, but, as the 1960s progressed, the Fol-de-Rols found themselves competing with other forms of entertainment. The last big seaside show was staged in 1968, though there was a tour in 1969 and attempts were made to revive the shows on a smaller scale in the 1970s.

In their heydays in the 1950s and early 1960s the Fol-de-Rols employed many of the major names in light entertainment. New costumes and scenery were created for each season by leading designers, including Alec Shanks and St John Roper. This design is one of a collection of preliminary designs and artwork for Fol-de-Rols scenery which was made for the scene painters, Alick Johnstone Ltd. Alick Johnstone ran a highly successful workshop, founded in 1921, which created the scenery for the majority of West End and touring shows for over 50 years.

This design, dated 1957, may have been used in a scene entitled 'Rock 'n' Romeo', which featured in the Fol-de-Rols revue at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, opening 5 May 1958.

Physical description

Design showing an archway with a balcony in front. The arch, drawn in ink and painted, is cut from paper and glued to painted millboard. The balcony is painted on two pieces of paper glued together, the left hand edge folded and glued to the arch. Pieces of balsa wood are attached to the back and lower edge of the balcony, and two short lengths of balsa wood are attached to the lower edge on the reverse.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1957 (made)


Unknown (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour, pen and ink, crayon and balsa wood on millboard

Marks and inscriptions

'Profile arch unit'
Inscribed in ink, upper left

'"Fol-de-Rols" 1957 / "Romeo and Juliet" / Truck unit. / Scale 1" = 1 Foot'
Inscribed in ink, upper right hand corner


Height: 25.5 cm, Width: 25.4 cm

Object history note

One of a collection of designs made for the scene painters, Alick Johnstone Ltd, of Macklin Street, London.

Descriptive line

Design for the Fol-de-Rols musical revue, showing a balcony, probably for a scene entitled 'Rock 'n' Romeo', dated 1957


Watercolour; Ink; Crayon; Balsa wood; Glue; Millboard


Drawing (image-making); Painting (image-making)


Entertainment & Leisure; Designs


Theatre and Performance Collection

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