ADELPHI THEATRE, MOOR STREET, BIRMINGHAM
by Ted Bottle
The Adelphi lasted only about seven years from 1857. It first opened on Boxing Day 1857 as the Moor Street Amphitheatre, a large circular building giving a circus-style entertainment with 200 men and horses. It closed in March 1858 and reopened in September as the Circus Concert Hall. In October 1859 it became the Royal Alhambra Palace Circus, in September 1860 the Royal Grecian Amphitheatre, in May 1861 the New Theatre Royal. In April 1863 it reopened as the Adelphi, with drama, opera, and pantomime, but finally failed and closed in 1864.
RE-EMERGENCE OF A UNIQUE
W. P. DANDO'S IMPROVED TABLEAUX VIVANTS AT THE PALACE THEATRE OF VARIETIES, LONDON
by Joseph Donohue
Tableaux vivants, representations of paintings or statues by immobile actors, suitably clothed or unclothed, were presented by Eduard Kilanyi at the Palace Theatre in London in 1893. After Kilanyi's departure, Walter P Dando, the Palace's chief machinist, took over the tableaux and invented an improved apparatus for displaying them, with a revolve carrying four scenes mounted within an inner picture frame. In his British Patent Application 24064/1893 the frame folded to facilitate rotation, and anti-friction rollers with eccentric levers prevented wobbling of the rotatable platform. This allowed rapid changing of the tableaux during brief blackouts, and resetting of the scenes on the three sectors of the revolve at the rear. These displays of feminine beauty drew the attention of the "tabloid" press, and of the National Vigilance Association, which opposed the relicensing of the Palace and of the Empire Theatre. They were eventually relicensed, with a warning about their future activities.
NOTES AND QUERIES
Theatre Notebook Home
28th February 2011