Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 Australian Variety Theatre Archive : Popular Culture Entertainment: 1850-1930
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

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: (Sighted 23/06/2011)


  • Creator's note: The Australian Variety Theatre Archive (AVTA) went public on 10 May 2011, the 146th anniversary of the birth of Harry Clay.
  • The AVTA is archived at Pandora: Australia' Web Archive.


* Contents derived from the version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
H. Florack, Clay Djubal , 2016 single work biography

'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)....'

Section: Music Directors and Composers [Industry]
Note: Research Notes
When the Baritone was Waiting on the Hungry Harry Clayi"There was bustling, there was hustling, as you've never seen before.", Charlie Vaude , 1914 single work poetry
A poem written to commemorate Harry Clay's initiation into the Chasers, a social gathering of theatrical personalities who met weekly for a boating and fishing expedition on Sydney Harbour.
Section: Texts: Published - Poetry
'What Oh Tonight' : The Methodology Factor and Pre-1930s Australian Variety Theatre - Appendices (Volumes 1 and 2), Clay Djubal , 2005 single work thesis
Companion edition to the main thesis.
Section: Dissertations
To 'Variety' - 1914i"The 'curtain' is up and our entrance we make,", Arthur Morley , 1914 single work poetry Section: Texts: Published - Poetry
The City of 'Make-Believe'i"A wee little girlie sat playing", Arthur Morley , 1917 single work poetry Section: Texts: Published - Poetry
Stranded! : Xmas - 1897i"'Tis a long call back - and times were bad,", Arthur Morley , 1915 single work poetry Section: Texts: Published - Poetry
A Week Around the Suburbs with Ike Becki"In doing a week for Ike Beck,", Presto , 1917 single work poetry
A poem written about Ike Beck and his troupe of variety performers on one of their tours around the Sydney suburbs. Others mentioned in the work are : Phil Levarto, Cel Delwyn, Arthur Tauchert, 'Fat' Jamo, and Verlie.
Section: Texts: Published - Poetry
Untitledi"The king of vaudeville", Harry Clay , 1920 single work poetry
Essentially an advertising jingle written by Harry Clay to promote his Sydney and New South Wales variety theatre operations.
Section: Texts: Published - Poetry
An Irish Stew of Entertainmentsi"The same old fare theatrical", Narranghi Boori , 1905 single work poetry Section: Texts: Published - Poetry
Ha! Ha! Ha!i"To those of a laughable turn of mind", J. Billin , 1891 single work poetry

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.

Section: Texts: Published - Poetry
Sydney Organist Topped the Pops, Peter Meyer , 2011 single work biography

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.

Section: Music Directors and Composers: Other
Note: PDF copy of Sydney Organ Journal publication.
Lawrence Cambell, Clay Djubal , 2013 single work biography Section: Practitioners
John F. Sheridan, Clay Djubal , 2011 single work biography Section: Practitoners
Only an Actor's Dream, Harry Scales , 1929 single work column

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.

Section: Texts: Published
Note: See: Poetry & Short Stories
Drink's a Curse, Will Whitburn , 2011 single work prose Section: Texts: Unpublished
Note: See 6. Patter & Comedy Routines
O'Donnell and Ray, Clay Djubal , 2011 single work biography Section: Organisations and Partnerships
Desmond and Jansen, Clay Djubal , 2005 single work biography Section: Practitioners
Delavale and Stagpoole, Clay Djubal , 1998 single work biography

A biographical entry on vaudevillians Charles 'Ike' Delavale and Elvie Stagpoole.

Section: Practitioners
Walter Bentley, Clay Djubal , 1998 single work biography Section: Practitioners: Other
'Stop Your Nonsense', Clay Djubal , 2005 single work criticism Section: Works: 1915
Note: Updated and expanded from Clay Djubal "What Oh Tonight" 2005 thesis (Appendix C).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 2011
Last amended 16 Jan 2015 12:14:46
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