Archive for June, 2010

The Frank L Gregory Troupe at the Sunderland Empire

Friday, June 25th, 2010

The Frank L Gregory Troupe appeared at the Sunderland Empire for the week of 21 September 1906 “in a marvellous exhibition of hoop rolling and juggling” where there are “hoops made to act like human beings”:

Frank L Gregory Troupe Poster - From the Tyne & Wear Archives

From the Tyne & Wear Archives

This article from the Newcastle Weekly Journal and Courant, published on 23 January 1909 mentions the troupe a few months later when they appeared at the Pavilion Theatre, Newcastle:

Frank L Gregory Troupe Article in Newcastle Weekly Journal and Courant Jan 23 1909 - From Newcastle City Library

From Newcastle City Library

Unfortunately the journalist is reduced to the stock description of “novel and clever” with no details of the routine. However we do know that they were still working in 1914 as this article in the New York Times on 29 December 1914 mention them as the “Marvellous Gregory Troupe, hoop rollers and jugglers” performing at Keith Alhambra Theatre.

There is some more information looking back on the heyday of hoop performers in this article from the Juggler’s Bulletin on September 1947 – scroll down to the “Out of my Scrapbook” column by Jack Greene. He describes how Frank Gregory “tossed a hoop in the air and made it light on a string held by his partner several feet away from him, then roll back to the tosser”.

The Brothers Hutchinson at Hartlepool Town Hall

Friday, June 11th, 2010

This week I’d like to show you a poster from right back in 1849, when the Brothers Hutchinson, “who are justly acknowledged to be the wonders of the age”, appeared at Hartlepool Town Hall for the nights of 31 May and 1 June.

The poster is a masterpiece of mid-Victorian pomp, describing both the luxurious props and crowned heads who’ve seen the act before:

The Brothers Hutchinson poster. From the Tyne and Wear Archives

From the Tyne and Wear Archives

Queen Victoria and most of her court seem to have been there at Drury Lane Theatre in London to see them perform the “Sports of Atlas” which included tossing “three German Silver Globes backwards and forwards to each other with the feet”, and they’re pictured in the background of the illustration while the brothers do their stuff:

The Brothers Hutchinson poster - close up. From the Tyne and Wear Archives

From the Tyne and Wear Archives

The Sports of Atlas are probably derived from the ‘Atlas Games’, which I’ll write more about as soon as I can work out which book I read about them in!

There’s another act to interest us jugglers on the poster. Mr Thompson, Decanter Equilibrist was part of the bill for those two nights. Steve Rawlings eat your heart out!