‘By the time this post appears I’ll be in Italy preparing to direct Jack & the Beanstalk for the biennial Venice pantomime, so it seems an appropriate time to write about the man who shaped the pantomime dame as we know her today: the great Dan Leno.

Dan started life as George Galvin, the child of two struggling music hall performers and if he wasn’t quite born in a trunk in the Princess Theatre, he was certainly soon a part of his parents’ endlessly travelling, bread-line existence. At the age of three he made his stage début as Little George, the Infant Wonder Contortionist and Posturer.

In the 1860s childhood was a brief affair in even the most comfortable of families. In show-business it was over as soon as a child could walk onto a stage ….’

via The History Girls: There is Nothing Like a Dame, says Laurie Graham.


For fans of vintage theatre, visit my First Night Vintage store for Dan Leno and many more performers.

See also Dan Leno in Mother Goose at Drury Lane in 1902.

Take care and keep laughing!