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Silk programme - The Grand Theatre of Varieties, Birmingham

The Grand Theatre of Varieties, Birmingham

  • Object:

    Silk programme

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1907 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Rae Hammond

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Silk and satin playbills and programmes were commonly produced in the 18th and 19th centuries to mark special evenings at the theatre, often lavishly fringed and sometimes even illustrated with an engraved image. They are rarely produced nowadays, and if attempts to make them occur today, they are usually made of a synthetic fabric and rarely of silk.

This luxuriously fringed programme was produced to mark the opening in 1907 of the Grand Theatre of Varieties, Birmingham, in Corporation Street where it had been built in 1883 as the Grand Theatre. When it was reopened as the Grand Theatre of Varieties it became yet another Moss Empires Theatre, one of the chain of Variety Theatres owned and run by Sir Edward Moss and Oswald Stoll who merged their businesses in 1898. When they opened a new theatre, they invariably mounted a Grand Opening Night featuring a luxurious silk programme, and a star attraction - in this case, the popular magician Chung Ling Soo.

Physical description

Silk programme for the opening night of The Grand Theatre of Varieties, Birmingham, 9 December 1907. Printed on cream silk in blue typography with a cream silk fringe attached on each side. The programme features the performers C. Hayden Coffin, Frank Sylvo, Little Ganty, Campbell & Barber, Florence St. John, The So & Sos, Lady Mansel's Juveniles, The De Freggers, Chung Ling Soo, and the American Bioscope.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1907 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Printed silk


Height: 33.5 cm excluding fringe, Width: 25.7 cm excluding fringe, Height: 45.7 cm including fringe, Width: 38.5 cm including fringe

Descriptive line

Silk programme for the opening night of The Grand Theatre of Varieties, Birmingham, 9 December 1907, featuring the American magician Chung Ling Soo


Silk (textile); Printing ink; Ink




Entertainment & Leisure; Magic


Theatre and Performance Collection

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