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The Royal Variety Performance is a televised variety show held annually in the United Kingdom to raise money for the Royal Variety Charity and attended by senior members of the British Royal Family. The evening’s performance is presented as a live variety show, usually from a theatre in London, and consists of family entertainment that includes comedy, music, dance, magic, and other special acts.
The inaugural performance took place in 1912 at the Palace Theatre in London in the presence of King George V. Subsequent London performances have taken place at the London Palladium, the London Coliseum, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, the London Hippodrome (now a casino), the Alhambra Theatre (demolished), the Victoria Palace Theatre, the Dominion Theatre, the Prince of Wales Theatre, the Lyceum Theatre, the Apollo Theatre, the Hammersmith Apollo, and the Royal Albert Hall (100th anniversary in 2012). For the full chronology see the Royal Variety Charity’s archive of Royal Variety Performances or Wikipedia .
The 1960 Royal Variety Performance, held at the Victoria Palace Theatre, was the first to be televised and will probably always be remembered as the Sammy Davis Junior’s show.
The Royal Variety Performance has been staged outside London of several occasions: the Opera House Theatre in Blackpool (1955, 2009 & 2020), the Palace Theatre in Manchester (1959), the Birmingham Hippodrome (1999), the Edinburgh Festival Theatre (2003), Wales Millennium Centre (2005), the Liverpool Empire Theatre (2007), and The Lowry in Manchester (2011). From 2021 the show has been held at the Royal Albert Hall.
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Text copyright © 2017-2023 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos.
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