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Theatre costume

Theatre costume

  • Date:

    ca. 1920-1929 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Leather with wooden sole

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Patric Judge

  • Museum number:

    S.107:1 to 2-2004

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Will Judge (1883-1960), The Norfolk Comedian, was as his title indicates, a well-known performer in East Anglia in the early 20th century, performing in variety and as a pantomime dame. In the days before radio and television, comedians were often famous within a fairly restricted area and humour, too, showed many local variations - there were many comedians famous in the north of England who never performed in the south, and vice versa.
Most comedians included song and dance in their acts and these clogs were used by Will Judge in his act. Clogs, leather lace-ups with wooden soles, were worn by workmen throughout England; clog dancing was a recognised form of English folk dancing and in the north of England, theatres and clubs held clog dancing competitions, the judges stationed under the stage or a table the better to judge the complex rhythms.

Date

ca. 1920-1929 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Leather with wooden sole

Object history note

Will Judge (1883-1960), billed as The Norfolk Comedian, was a well-known comedy- variety and pantomime artist for thirty years in the first half of the 20th century. Although he performed all over the British Isles, occasionally in London, he was best known in East Anglia and the North of England; at this period, before the spread of radio and the invention of television, comedians were often 'local' and humour in the North could be very different from that in the South (for example, Max Miller was never as popular in the North of England, while Jimmy Learmouth was most popular in his native Lancashire). He played Dame in pantomime and married Gertrude Orchard, who played Principal Boy. His Dame characters, while obviously exaggerated, inclined towards the 'elegant' or homely rather than the grotesque.
Clog dancing was a traditional dance form that became popular in the North of England in music halls and variety theatres. Dance competitions, both in theatres and clubs, were commonplace.

Descriptive line

Dance shoe worn by Will Judge, ca.1920s. Leather lace-up clogs, with wooden sole

Materials

Leather; Wood

Techniques

Glueing; Stitching; Nailing

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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