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circus

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acrobatics

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

Ancient popular entertainment. Petronius describes rope dancers and acrobats in the Satyricon. In thirteenth-century Bourbon, acrobats ‘somersaulted on the ground’, and by the sixteenth...

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Al Jolson

Overview page. Subjects: Music.

1886–1950)

US singer. Billed as ‘The World's Greatest Entertainer’, he was extremely popular on the stage for several decades.

Born in Lithuania, Jolson was brought to the...

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Alan Bolt

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

(1951– )

Nicaraguan director and playwright. Bolt was initially supportive of the Sandinista revolution but later openly critical of some of its policies. His play Banana Republic...

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Amusement Parks

Overview page. Subjects: United States History.

The roots of today's amusement parks date back to the 1500s, when so-called pleasure gardens began opening on the outskirts of major European cities. In addition to primitive rides, these...

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amusements and recreation

Overview page. Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century).

Dickens had a profound interest in popular recreation, and reference to it suffuses his early fiction and his journalism throughout his life. His basic philosophy can be found in the ...

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Andrew Ducrow

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

(1793–1848)

Belgian-English circus entertainer who was an outstanding mime, acrobat, and equestrian. His great speciality was miming activities from life at sea or impersonating...

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animals

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

Animals have featured in performance from ancient times. The Romans had bears and dogs in dramas, elephants who performed rope walking, and built gruesome shows of animal fights. Throughout...

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aquatic drama

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

Spectacular representations of nautical battles, shipwrecks, and storms at sea, which came to London from the circuses of Paris and became exceedingly fashionable in the early 18th century....

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Astley's Amphitheatre

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

A theatrical entertainment, regarded as the first modern circus, founded in London in 1770 by the English theatrical manager and former soldier Philip Astley (1742–1814). By 1798 he was...

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B. F. Keith

Overview page. Subjects: Theatre.

(1846–1914), manager.

Born in Hillsboro, New Hampshire, he left his family farm to join a circus but by the early 1880s had moved into the realm of theatre management, taking ...

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