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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (printed)

  • Date:

    1968 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Printed card

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Gwendoline Playle

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Typographical posters such as this were typical of the advertisements for variety theatres in Great Britain in the first half of the 20th century. Variety developed out of music hall and, like its predecessor, provided a number of entertainers on one programme. As small music halls gave way to the large variety theatres built by profitable concerns such as Moss Empires, the type of entertainment on offer became more ambitious. Variety shows typically took place twice-nightly, and the star performer whose spot was the culmination of the show, had their name at the top of the poster, literally 'topping the bill'.

Before the days of television and radio, Variety was tremendously popular. Every town in Britain would have boasted a variety theatre and its stars could command fabulous salaries. As cinema and television became the mass means of entertainment, a host of variety theatres were converted to cinemas or were closed. Seaside Variety shows fared better than most and kept their patrons in the 1950s and 1960s by engaging stars who made their name on the radio, in the burgeoning rock and pop industry, or in television.

Physical description

Typographic hanging card for the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, printed in black, fluorescent orange and yellow, advertising the programme commencing on Monday 9 December 1968, with the show Old Tyme Music Hall presented by Don Ellis; featuring Peter Brough with Archie Andrews; Hetty King; Randolph Sutton; Billy Matchett; Don Ellis; Margery Manners; Billy Wells; Paul Denver; Ian Ross; The Elsie Smith Can-Can Girls. Printed with the names of the Theatre Proprietors: Howard & Wyndham Ltd.; Managing Director: Peter Donald; Man: Joe Ewing.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (printed)


1968 (printed)



Materials and Techniques

Printed card

Marks and inscriptions

Sticker with the words 'Ellis Ashton Collection'.
Appended recto, bottom right.

Sticker with the words 'Ellis Ashton Collection […]; British Music Hall Society'.
Appended verso, top centre.

Inscribed with numbers and calculations.
Blue pencil, verso, lower half.

Marked verso in black, green, blue and red ink.

Possibly evidence of previous framing, verso.

Possibly evidence of a hanging card appended verso top centre.


Height: 38.0 cm, Width: 25.4 cm

Object history note

From the Ellis Ashton collection. Given to Dick Playle who amassed this collection.

Descriptive line

Handing card for the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, advertising the programme for the week commencing on Monday 9 December 1968, with the show Old Tyme Music Hall presented by Don Ellis.




Entertainment & Leisure; Advertising


Theatre and Performance Collection

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