Variety theatre’s greatest days are brought vividly to life in Heyday of the Hippodrome by Mark Jones (Bright Pen, £8.99).
At the beginning of the twentieth century Hippodromes, Coliseums, Palaces and Empires opened all over Britain, and Eastbourne’s Hippodrome immediately became the most popular theatre in town, running twice-nightly, 52 weeks a year for half a century. Its management fought off predatory syndicates and steered independently through both World Wars, the rise of cinema, radio, talkies and, finally, the advent of television.
Meticulously researched, the true and unique story of this remarkable theatre is revealed for the first time. Its cast ranges from Houdini to Harry Secombe, Marie Lloyd to Max Bygraves, General William Booth to Gracie Fields. Many legendary acts are described and local press reviews quoted.
But this is not simply a book about the Royal Hippodrome. The narrative is set in the context of Eastbourne’s growth as a resort and the wider history of variety theatre
“Absolutely superb … a huge amount of excellent material. It will be a rich treasure trove for lovers of variety,” writes Emeritus Professor John Pick. “The book is beautifully produced and is in every way a triumph.”
FACTFILE:Heydey Of The Hippodrome
Published by Bright Pen
Available from authorsonline.co.uk, Amazon (also in e-book form)
Paperback, 228 pp, 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches