Alexander and Annie Fay (not Anna Eva Fay), who were performing in the late 1800s, might be all but forgotten today had it not been for their involvement in the Sunderland Victoria Hall Disaster of 1883. Dean explains the events leading up to this tragedy. However, the talk is about much more than this. Through original research, Dean traces the lives of the Fays and on the way we learn much about the performances of the day and the characters whose paths they cross.

John Salisse’s archive was the result of over 40 years of collecting and research. His interests were the Maskelyne family and their theatres. In this talk Anne dips into the archive, which is now part of The Davenport Collection. Anne focuses on the early days of the Egyptian Hall, where JN Maskelyne’s entertainments first made him a household name in Victorian Britain.

A half sheet poster printed by Weiners of Acton, London. The poster includes the name Val. Prince, presumably the artist. The half sheet poster has been overprinted with the word ‘Mysteries’. The performer was Li Sing Foo (Arthur Hortopp) who toured this show for a brief period following Soo’s death. For more information see ‘The Fairground Soo’ by Dean Arnold published by Mike Caveney’s Magic Words in 2015.

A half sheet poster printed by J. Weiner, London. The original black writing on the poster has been overprinted in black to read ‘The Chung Ling Soo Mysteries’. The performer was Li Sing Foo (Arthur Hortopp) who toured this show for a brief period following Soo’s death. For more information see ‘The Fairground Soo’ by Dean Arnold published by Mike Caveney’s Magic Words in 2015.

A half sheet lithographic poster printed by Horrocks & Co. Ltd., Ashton-under-Lyne. The original poster has been overprinted THE MAGICAL PRODUCTION. The Chung Ling Soo Magical Production was the first attempt to tour Soo’s show soon after his death. Soo’s place was taken by Ching Wu (Alfred Banks). For further details see Dean Arnold’s excellent book ‘The Fairground Soo’ published by Mike Caveney’s Magic Words. The poster, without any overprinting, may be found under Ref. no. N615.

The half sheet poster has been overprinted to read: Li Sing Foo presents “A Dream of Wealth” The Chung Ling Soo Mysteries. Li Sing Foo was Arthur Hortopp who toured this show for a brief period following Soo’s death. For more information see ‘The Fairground Soo’ by Dean Arnold published by Mike Caveney’s Magic Words in 2015. The poster was printed by Val Prince.