command performance

Definition

Theater

  • A performance of a play, solo act, or other entertainment requestedby a monarch or head of government. Although many kings and queensenjoyed theatrical presentations at court, it was Queen Victoriawho formalized the command performance; in 20 years (1881 - 1901)she arranged some 30 private events at Windsor Castle. Today commandperformances are normally given to raise funds for charities.

    Command performances are not restricted to the legitimatetheater. The Royal Command variety Performance at the Palladiumtheater in London has always included popular entertainers. The traditionbegan in 1912, when the theater manager Oswald Stoll arranged a varietyperformance at the London Coliseum for King George V andQueen Mary. The performers included Harry Tate, 'the one-eyedKaffir', Little Tich, and Vesta Tilley. When thelatter made a daring appearance in trousers, Queen Mary averted hereyes from the stage.

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