Empire Theatre, Liverpool: Entertainment During the War

There has been a theatre standing opposite St Georges Hall in Liverpool since 1866, providing entertainment and light relief for many – and throughout World War One the building played exactly the same role.

The Empire Theatre hosted hundreds of acts over the four years of conflict - ranging from dancing dogs to ventriloquists and singers. This was the age of Music Hall.
However, this wasn’t always an escape from the War.

One well known act was male impersonator Vesta Tilley. She would tour the country performing in music halls with some songs linked to fighting at the front. Serving for your country was shown as glamorous and fun in these songs, and men were encouraged to sign up after watching the performance.

As the war raged on, people were becoming more cynical and the style of theatre changed – becoming more comedic, but not anti-war.

Music Hall still survives today in a different style with variety and talent shows.

Location: Liverpool Empire Theatre, Lime Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 1JE

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