This poster, from the collections of the V&A Museum, was made in 1878. It advertises the 1878 Grand Pantomime at the Surrey Theatre, The House That Jack Built! or Harlequin Dame Trot.
First built in 1792, and demolished in 1934, the Surrey Theatre is probably my favourite illegitimate-and-now-not-there-any-more playhouse in London! It stood in Blackfriars Road, in the middle of (then) prostitute-ridden Lambeth. And yes, I have a favourite not-there-any-more-playhouse. My second favourite is the Coburg; I am the coolest person you know.
The Surrey was the first home of Douglas Jerrold‘s epically excellent melodramatic masterpiece, Black-Ey’d Susan (1829), which ran for over 300 nights and thoroughly embedded itself in nineteenth-century culture. Ira Aldridge performed there repeatedly in the 1840s.
The Surrey turns up a lot in the annals of the Basement Project (the sideline research I’ve been doing since August), and it lifts my heart every time.
3 thoughts on “Advent Calendar Day 6: Harlequin!”
Just wanted to say that I’m immensely enjoying these Advent Calendar posts. I would make a joke about Ruud Gullit sitting on a shed, but that comes from watching far too much Father Ted. (And that sentence inexplicably rhymes. Anyway, keep it up!)
I’m so glad you enjoyed them! I hope you still are.
Oh bloody hell, I haven’t logged into WordPress in quite a while and didn’t see this! I did continue to enjoy them indeed, thank you — and I do hope you had a lovely Christmas.