Oxford Music Hall

Definition

Theater

  • The first purpose-built London music hall. It was opened in1861 by Charles Morton in an old galleried tavern at thecorner of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road. Early bills offereda mixture of music and slapstick comedy. The Oxford remained one ofthe leading music halls despite increasing competition and destructivefires in 1868 and 1872. George Robey made his West End debut therein 1891. Two years later a new hall was built on the site, openingwith such top names as Marie Lloyd, Bessie Bellwood, and Harry Champion.The Scottish comedian Harry Tate made his first London appearancethere in 1895.

    Serious drama first appeared on the Oxford stage in 1906,when the Italian actress Eleonore Duse starred in Ibsen's Ghosts.In 1917 Charles Cochran presented Bruce Bairnsfather's play TheBetter 'Ole, based on his famous World War I cartoon. The venuewas renamed the New Oxford Theatre in 1920, reopening with the DollySisters in The League of Notions. In 1924 the Old Vic Companypresented a season of Shakespeare under the direction of Robert Atkins.Two years later the Oxford closed and the site became a Lyons' CornerHouse.

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