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  • Place of origin:

    Brighton (printed)

  • Date:

    1919 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    C. Pell & Son (printer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs D.K. Richards

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Les Rouges et Noirs was formed by members of the British army serving in France during the First World War in response to a call from Lord Horne, Commander of the First Army, in 1917, for a touring concert party from among his troops. So-called because of the regimental colours of the First Army, the troupe entertained fellow soldiers in the trenches of France and Belgium. Not wanting an all-male revue, the troupe included a chorus of women played by soldiers, but the genuinely feminine appearance of the 'Beauty Chorus' meant that it did not come across as a drag show, but as a heterosexual concert party with an intriguing element. The revue title Splinters was chosen to describe the various sketches, songs and dances which made up their programme.

In December 1918 Les Rouges et Noirs was called by the War Office to appear in London and played a three-day engagement at the Canadian YMCA's Beaver Hut Theatre in London's Strand, followed by a Command Performance at Windsor Castle for George V and Queen Mary. The troupe returned to France in 1919, and after hostilities ended appeared in London's West End in June and August 1919 and toured new versions of the revue commercially throughout the British Isles until 1924.

Physical description

Typographic poster printed in red and blue letterpress printing on low-quality cream paper advertising the variety show performed by the army entertainers Les Rouges at Noirs, 'The First Army Entertainers', Palace Pier Theatre Brighton, week beginning Monday 12 May 1919. PALACE PIER THEATRE and LES ROUGES ET NOIRS in red uppercase lettering, as are the details of the play for the week of the 19th May 1919, THE SECOND MRS TANQUERAY starring Madge McIntosh. The edges have suffered tears and areas of paper loss, especially along the top and bottom edges.

The poster features the names of the cast of Les Rouges et Noirs in blue typeface - the men Eliot Makeham, Will B. Willby, Will Burns, Harry Watson, C. Gordon Blackford, Victor Campbell, Jack Cottrell, Alfred Grant, and the '? ladies' Vivian Taylor, Ellis Brooke, Jack Richards, Stan Bennett, Ernest Greene, Reg Stone, with Hal Jones as Splinter. Also credited for the lyrics, music and dialogue are Oliphant Down,Charles Heslop, Reginal Halstead, Guy Stevens, Lawrence Craven and E.H. Robinson; the wigs were by Clarkson and Gustave, the dresses by Poiret, Paris, the dances by Will Burnes and the 'specialities' by Brooke and Cottrell. The poster also featured the prices excluding War Tax, the fact that there was no pier toll to theatre patrons, and the details of tickets and plans being available from Lyon & Hall, Potts & Co., Murdoch & Co., Palmeira Stores, Hove, and Boots Ltd.

Place of Origin

Brighton (printed)


1919 (printed)


C. Pell & Son (printer)

Materials and Techniques

Printed paper


Height: 50.0 cm, Width: 31.0 cm

Descriptive line

Poster advertising The First Army Entertainers Les Rouges et Noirs at the Palace Pier Theatre, Brighton, for the week beginning the 12th May 1919. Printed by Pell & Sons, Brighton, 1919.


Paper; Printing ink


Letterpress printing

Subjects depicted

Cross dressing


Entertainment & Leisure


Theatre and Performance Collection

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