Not currently on display at the V&A

Poster

mid 20th century (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

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.


Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Printed paper
Brief description
Poster for the Empire Theatre, Middlesbrough, advertising the programme for the week commencing on Monday, 5 June, n.y., featuring Frank E. Franks in The Summer Show.
Physical description
Typographic poster for the Empire Theatre, Middlesbrough, printed in red and blue on paper, advertising the programme commencing on Monday 5 June, n.y., featuring Frank E. Franks in The Summer Show; The Three Aberdonians, Navin O’Reilley and his dog Maloney; Huntley Macdonald; Bert Murray; The Rhythm Rangers; Molle Florette; Mervyn Rolando; Susie Belmore; Jean Hardy’s 12 A.R.P. girls; Little Dot; Little Trixie; Gene Boyne -The modern Vesta Tilley-; The Marriage Market Episode 2. Printed with the names of the Theatre Managing Director: William Bastiman; Musical Director: Etienne Saville.
Dimensions
  • Height: 88.5cm
  • Width: 28.6cm
Credit line
Given by Gwendoline Playle
Summary
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.
Collection
Accession number
S.249-2008

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Record createdNovember 7, 2008
Record URL
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