The Australian Variety Theatre Archive (AVTA) is an independent, not-for-profit research website devoted to the period of theatrical activity in Australia that might be considered the 'golden years' of minstrelsy and vaudeville. The motivation for the site has been the need to rectify the exceedingly poor amount of research directed towards this area of Australian history and thus address the many myths, inaccuracies and gaps that are to be found in the present historical record.
The AVTA's primary objectives are two-fold: To celebrate and advance our knowledge of the Australian variety theatre industry which operated between the mid-1800s and the late-1920s/early-1930s; and to provide an on-going information archive which will serve as the basis for further research by both academics and historians, as well as by the general public.
Variety entertainment during the period covered by the AVTA crossed many theatrical genres and media forms (including film and radio). The archive is primarily interested, however, in the following genres: burlesque minstrelsy (including minstrels farces) vaudeville revue revusical (one act musical comedies) pantomime. The archive is also looking to provide biographical details on the people involved in variety the performers (individuals and acts), entrepreneurs and managers, troupes, scenic artists, stage managers, front-of-house managers, costume and property-makers, choreographers, writers, composers, songwriters, lyricists directors, music directors, producers and associated industry practitioners (journalists/critics, advance representatives etc).
The AVTA also publishes Mixed Bag, a monograph series devoted to variety theatre and popular culture entertainment.
Source: http://ozvta.com/ (Sighted 23/06/2011)
'The colourful career of Frederick King appears to have begun in the late-1870s. Having changed his name to Hermann Florack (likely in an effort to evade a Victorian arrest warrant from1876), he toured the country with companies led by Baker and Farron and Tom Buckley, and on a number of occasions produced and/or toured his own shows (including Florack's Federal Minstrels)....'
A poem written to advertise J. Billin's Victoria Hall (Melbourne) minstrel entertainment. Presented at that time by the Representative Metropolitan Company, Ha! Ha! Ha! makes reference to several of the troupe's more high profile members - Will Whitburn, John Fuller Snr, Alf and Tom Holland, Owen Conduit (music director), Amy Rowe, Ada Marvin, the Three Leopolds, and Sullivan and Silvani.
English-born musician, conductor and composer August W. Juncker came to Australia in 1883 as conductor of the Dunning Comic Opera Company and remained for the rest of his life. In this article Peter Meyer looks at his life and career and evaluates the impact he had on both Australian and Sydney society.
An elderly, out-of-work and broke vaudeville performer sits huddled on a bench at St Kilda on Christmas Eve. His situation has been brought about in part by the decline in work opportunities as many 'legitimate' theatres turn to film exhibition and also because his type of act is now out of date. He begins to recall some of the people he'd worked with or seen during his career.
A biographical entry on vaudevillians Charles 'Ike' Delavale and Elvie Stagpoole.