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Silk theatre programme

Silk theatre programme

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed silk

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

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 the circus and variety acts James and Amalia Jee, Double Wire Act; Miss Godlewski, Haute Ecole; the Brothers Weldermann 'Continental Grotesques', Mlle. Arniotis 'the Queen of Athletes'; Little Tony, Boy Vaulting Act, The O'Kabes, Acrobats; Lavater Lee and his Bucking Mule; Leonidas' Cats and Digs; Herr Julius Seeth with his 21 Forest Bred Lions; the Jackson Family, Instrumentalists; Lee's Liberty Arabian Steeds and Barrel Act; Bros. Permane - Henri and Charles, 'Continental Grotesques', Miss Lea, Wonderful Equestrienne; Charles H. Jee, Juggling; Mlle Amalia (Amalia Jee), Equestrienne; Auguste, Lavater Lee and Oscar Lee, it featured the 'Amphibious Burletta' Giddy Ostend, or the Absent-Minded Millionaire starring Little Tich, with Elsie Carew, Marie Finney, James Finney, Fritz Rimma, Kenneth Altamont, Mr. M.R. Morand, Miss Blanche Wolseley, Mr. S. Asher, scenery by T.E. Ryan, costumes by Morris Angel from designs by Herbert Norris, and music arranged and composed by Georges Jacobi who conducted the orchestra of 40 and 50 singers. With the theatre space containing a 100,000 gallon water tank, the Hippodrome became well known for its large scale aquatic acts such as Giddy Ostend 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

Printed silk


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; Ink; Silk (textile); Silk




Entertainment & Leisure

Collection code


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