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Hippodrome / Coventry Theatre / Apollo show archive

An attempt to list all the shows ever performed at our Hippodromes, beginning with the temporary circus buildings, which from 1884 were specially erected on Pool Meadow for each visit - then, in 1903, to the first permanent, but short-lived, 'Tin' Hippodrome on the Priory Street side of Pool Meadow facing the old Swimming Baths. The popularity of these shows created the demand for a theatre worthy of our city, and so in 1906 began the construction in Hales Street, next to Swanswell Gate, of what we now regard as the Old Hippodrome.
Again, the success of this theatre meant that barely three decades later a greater capacity was required, and so we come to our lovely art-deco New Hippodrome in Hales Street, once known as the Showplace of the Midlands. Opening on the 1st November 1937, it was renamed Coventry Theatre in 1955, then from 1979 became The Apollo, giving its final performance in June 1985. After a short spell as a bingo hall it was eventually realised that such a building could not be put to any practical use, so, sadly, it was demolished in 2002. If anyone still has any tickets or programmes and would like to see them used to illustrate a show, please contact me.



1884 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985

1884

Temporary Circus building, Pool Meadow

Date(s)ShowNotesImages
Mon 28th Apr 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusGrand Inauguration Night in the "Substantially erected wooden circus in the Pool Meadow", attended by Mayor Joseph Banks and ex-Mayor Albert Tomson. The show was a Variety Equestrian Programme comprising the "Best Stud of Magnificent Horses in the World", including John Henry Cooke, England's Greatest Horseman, Madame Alice on the Invisible Wire, and many others.
Mon 5th May until Sat 10th May 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusContinuing with the Variety Equestrian Programme, plus Clowns. On the 10th May, the "First Grand Illuminated Day Performance" of the show - with Illuminated Day Performances being given each Saturday afternoon.
Mon 12th May 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusActs include the Petite Fairy Morceaux "the Evening Star, and Elves of the Crystal Cave", and equestrian act The Rigs of Mr. Briggs.
Mon 19th May until Wed 28th May 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusThe Young Talbot - British Foxhunter, Harry Stelling on the swinging perch, Miss Enestine Rosa giving a training illustration, Masseniello - the Fisherman King of Naples, plus much more.
Thu 29th May 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusBenefit evening for the Coventry Philanthropic Institution.
Fri 30th May until Fri 6th Jun 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusGrand Military Night on Friday 30th. La Statue Blanche (or, The Sculptor of Venice).
Fri 6th Jun 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusGrand Fashionable Night, plus Ballroom scene from Cinderella and Mrs. Brown's first visit to the circus.
Sat 7th Jun until Sat 14th Jun 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusAn English Harvest Home, Splendid Stud of Leaping Horses, Ida & Cissy the Twin Ponies, Performing Elephant introduced by Little Pickles.
Mon 16th Jun until Sat 21st Jun 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusDick Turpin's Ride to York (or, the Death of Bonny Black Bess), plus equestrian manoeuvre, the Spanish Bolera.
Mon 23rd Jun until Sat 28th Jun 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusGrand Equestrian Spectacle entitled Fra Diavolo! (or, The Brigands of Calabria).
Mon 30th Jun until Sat 5th Jul 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusGrand Semi-Oriental Spectacle, Mazepa (or, The Wild Horse of Tartary).
Mon 7th Jul until Thu 17th Jul 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusThe War in Zululand - the Cooke Brothers "greatest production". On Friday 11th - Conundrum Night - a presentation of a silver cup for the best Conundrum.
Mon 14th Jul 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusA Grand Comic Night - Benefit of Little Pickles.
Fri 18th Jul 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusDick Turpin's Ride to York, and the Death of Bonny Black Bess.
Sat 19th Jul 1884Cooke Brothers Royal CircusFinal show of the current season. Benefit of John Henry Cooke - a Serviceable Horse to be Given Away! After this circus season ended, an auction to sell the "well-seasoned Timber used in the erection of the above Circus" took place on the 7th August. A permanent venue was obviously not in place on Pool Meadow at this stage. It appears to be another three years before the next circus event took place here.

Next year: 1887

1884 1887 1888 1889 1890 1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985



Also of interest might be A short history of Coventry's Theatres and Cinemas, by Bill Birch.

 
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