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Culture and Controversy in Music Hall and Vaudeville

May 11, 2013
Department of History, King's College London

Hoxton Hall 130 Hoxton Street London N1 6SH
130 Hoxton Street London N1 6SH
United Kingdom


Nancy Bruseker
University of Liverpool
Fern Riddell
Kings College London

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A unique conference experience, held at Hoxton Hall, on May 11th 2013, organized by King’s College, London and the University of Liverpool. This one-day conference will explore the history of one of the most exciting, subversive and controversial forms of theatre from the 19th Century. 

The first example of mass entertainment in Britain, the music hall’s influence over fashion, language, society, and culture continues to resonate today, while remaining one of the most enduring art forms of the Victorian period. On the other side of the Atlantic, vaudeville had a similar impact, helping produce a mass audience of consumers, in advance of the development of film and television. In addition, American performers found opportunities in the UK, and vice versa, becoming carrier of cultural exchange in the process.

This conference seeks to bring together all those working on any aspect of the Music Halls, both nationally and internationally, for a day of discussion and discovery.


- Start -

 9 a.m.

Panel One: Society and the Music Hall

Chair: Fern Riddell (King’s College, London)

Chris Beeching – Performer and Author

‘Social Resonances in the songs of George Leybourne’

John Mullen (Université Paris-Est Créteil)

‘The nature and limits of patriotism in the British music-hall in the First World War’

Tobias Becker (Freie Universität Berlin)

‘Music Hall Cosmopolitanism: Cross-Cultural Exchange between London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna, c. 1900’

- Tea Break -

Panel Two: Music Hall On Screen

Chair: TBC

Peter Walsh (Independent Researcher)

‘Defining Cine-Variety: Exploring Performative Modes in Early Cinema’

Ayse Behçet (University of Roehampton)

‘From curtain call to siren call: The portrayal of female sexuality in the films of Charlie Chaplin’

- Lunch -

Panel Three: Men, Women, and Identity:

Chair: Nancy Bruseker (University of Liverpool)

Amber Jane Butchart (London College of Fashion and University of Arts, London’)

‘”Female Costume was rather a drag” Bifurcation on the Stage: Vesta Tilley and Fashion Transgression in Late Victorian Music Hall’

Andrew Horrall (Bibliothéque et Archives Canada)

‘Cro-Magnon Charlie: Depictions of Prehistoric Men and Women in Music Hall and Variety Entertainment’

Anne Reilly (The Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

‘Lucile and her Mannequins: Fashion’s Image from Showroom to Theatre’

- Break -

Panel Four: Music Hall in Public Memory

Chair: William Rough (University of St Andrews)

Kate Bailey (Department of Theatre and Performance, Victoria and Albert Museum)

‘New Exhibition: Sickert and the Three Graces’

Essie Fox – Author

Title TBC: ‘Music Hall’s influence in ‘The Somnambulist’ and ‘Elijah’s Mermaid’

Gerald Glover (Founding member of the British Music Hall Society)

‘The formation of the British Music Hall Society 1963’

Panel 5: Hoxton Hall

A representative of Hoxton Hall will discuss the history of the Hall, as well as its current restoration project and role within the community.

- End -

Papers will last 30 minutes, with 15-20 minutes for questions at the end of each panel.

Please email: with any enquiries.

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May 7, 2013, 9:00am BST

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Custom tags:

#london, #music hall, #cross dressing, #silent film, #charlie chaplin, #vaudeville, #nineteenth century

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