Sport, Leisure and Tourism - Entertainment Pre-Cinema

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Music Halls

In 1843, the Theatre Act created Music Halls with a license to sell drinks. Music Halls were a place for the Working Class to go out for a treat to see a variety of acts, ranging from dancing to magic tricks. 

Upper class people sometimes went to Music Halls to socialise with poorer people. One famous performer, Marie Lloyd who sang cheeky songs, was loved by the audience.

Acts included

  • Singers
  • Dancers
  • Comedians
  • Acrobats
  • Magicians

The MC introduced the acts.

Most towns had a number of Music Halls.

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Theatre - a building with a stage on which plays and other entertainments are performed.

Theatres were more common with the Middle Class, and did not sell alcoholic drinks.

The works of Gilbert Sullivan, such as HMS Pinafore and The Mikado were popular. 

By 1900, most towns a theare.

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Social Activities Provided by Churches and Chapels

Church and Chapel attendance during the early twentieth cenuty was strong, especially in Wales after the 1904-05 Religious Revival. Wales was unique as a society because people worshiped in Chapels as well as Churches. In the Chapels, there was a tradition of singing which came from rural Wales. For many people, the activities organised by the local Chapel and Church were their only form of entertainment.

Sunday was the day of worship, but Churches and Chapels organised activities all week. As well as organising choirs, they organised brass bands, singing festivals called Cymanfa Ganu, and drama productions such as plays and pantomimes. 

They were also strong supporters of cultural festivals known as Eisteddfodau. They were revised in the nineteenth century and they became a mass form of entertainment in Wales. 

  • Cymanfa Ganu - a hymn singing festival
  • Eisteddfod - a festival of Welsh culutre and tradition
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