Emeline Ethardo at Newcastle Empire
Readers of rec.juggling may recognise today’s material – it’s the very first stuff that I found when I started looking for material about the history of juggling in the North East. This advertisement appeared in the 27 July 1895 edition of the Gateshead Guardian:
Emeline Ethardo, “A distinct Novelty, A Juggler, a Contortionist, a Dancer, an Acrobat, an Instrumentalist. Something new” was on the bill at the Newcastle Empire Theatre for the week of 29 July 1893. Also of note on the bill is the second appearance on this blog of Conway and Leland, “One-legged Acrobats” who also appeared with WC Fields in Sunderland in 1908, billed as “Cheerful Monopedes”!
Emeline is listed in Michale Kilgariff’s book ‘Grace, Beauty and Banjos: Peculiar Lives and Strange Times of Music Hall and Variety Artistes’ as a juggler, which suggests a link with Signor Ethardo – the Spiral Ascensionist (he used a walking globe and climbed enormous spiral tracks) – although he was possibly as a mentor or trainer rather than a relative. The excellent arthurlloyd.co.uk also has her listed as appearing at the opening of the Metropolitan Theatre, Paddington, London in 1897.
But the only information we have about the performance comes from the review from the Gateshead Guardian in the week following the advert above. On 3 August 1895 they say:
The Empire, Newcastle
There has been this week an excellent company at the Empire, and full houses. The chief attraction is Mr Edwin Boyd, the favourite London comedian, whose songs were rendered in a very talking manner, and were received with the greatest enthusiasm, especially his song “Life in the East End of London”. Miss Emmeline Ethardo pleased the audience immensely with her clever displays of juggling and contortion feats. Conway & Leland, the one legged acrobats, met with a great reception with their clever tumbling, etc. The Albert & Edmund troupe provide a highly amusing sketch, “The Locket”. The other artistes were Edith Yorke, vocalist; the Waldrons (Joe and Etty), burlesque artistes and dancers; Lily Langtree, comedienne; the Fairy Four, vocalists and dancers; and Arthur F. Cecil, mimic; all of whom gained the cordial approval of the audience.