Please complete the form to email this item.

Silk theatre programme

Silk theatre programme

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, printed

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Theatre & Performance, room 104a, case 22, shelf A

  • Download image

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 silk playbill was produced to mark the grand opening night of The London Hippodrome on 15th January 1900. Featuring a wide range of circus and variety performances, it set the Hippodrome's programme for years to come. Performances often included large scale aquatic acts, with the theatre space containing a 100,000 gallon water tank used in performances such as the Amphibious Burletta, Giddy Ostend, or, the Absent-Minded Millionaire, as seen on the opening night.

Physical description

Silk programme on cream silk in navy-blue typography, edged with a cream silk fringe, advertising the opening of the London Hippodrome. Headed with the title 'London Hippodrome' in navy-blue, followed lower down with 'Grand Opening Night', and featuring a programme of the acts for that night, with the amphibious burletta Giddy Ostend given the largest billing.

Place of Origin

London, England (probably, made)


1900 (made)


unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Silk, printed


Height: 40.5 cm, Width: 31.5 cm

Descriptive line

Silk programme produced for the Grand Opening Night of the London Hippodrome, 15 January 1900.

Exhibition History

Theatre and Performance (Victoria and Albert Museum, Galleries 103 -106 01/01/2009-31/12/2009)

Production Note

Designed to celebrate the opening night of a new London theatre


Printing ink; Silk


Entertainment & Leisure

Collection code


Download image