What if everything you thought about Music Hall was wrong?
Course dates: Wednesdays 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 November and 7 December
Times: 18.00 – 20.00
The smell of grease paint, the dim glow of a gas-lit auditorium and the loud call of a cockney comedian – these are the things that spring to mind when we think of Music Hall. It’s a quintessentially British institution, spawning generations of stand-up comedians and much of the vibrant popular culture we still experience today.
Inspired by our autumn exhibition Victorian Entertainments: There Will Be Fun, Fern Riddell will challenge the preconceptions of Victorian Music Hall as a gentle, old-fashioned entertainment and bring to life the darker, far more radical side of our earliest form of mass entertainment. You’ll learn how Music Hall transcended its working class roots, became the birthplace of British cinema, how it showcased exciting new technologies and provided a home for militant women’s rights campaigners – with an audience stalked by serial killers and suffragettes.
Throughout the course you’ll encounter original footage and recordings, culminating in a private view of rare Victorian ephemera drawn from the British Library’s outstanding collections.
This course is led by Fern Riddell, with contributions from Helen Peden (Curator of Printed Heritage Collections 1601-1900 at the British Library, and curator of our Victorian Entertainments: There Will Be Fun exhibition).