Remembering Dundee’s Music Halls.

17 April 2024

Remembering Dundee's Music Halls exhibition poster

Music Hall may be an almost forgotten form of entertainment today, but now a new exhibition at Dundee’s Local History Centre in the city’s Wellgate Library aims to brings the stories of city’s halls and their performers back to life with a focus on a collection of rare posters dating from the 1840s through to the Great War.

Based on the research of Dr Billy Rough of the School of Art History, the exhibition has been co-curated by Ombeline Picat of the School’s MLitt Museum and Heritage Studies programme alongside Nicole Entin, a 4th year undergraduate on the School of Art History’s History of Art MA. Both worked alongside Dr Rough and Dr Erin Farley of Leisure and Culture Dundee to bring the exhibition to life.

In the 19th century, music hall reigned as the paramount form of theatrical entertainment in Britain but by the early few decades of the 20th century its popularity was in decline – challenged by radio, cinema, and even television. But at its peak Dundee was home to several prominent halls and its residents were keen to enjoy the songs, dances, acrobats, and comedians who stepped on their stages.

The widespread popularity of music hall offers valuable glimpses into the cultural fabric of the past, leaving behind a legacy still felt today. In Dundee, a vibrant history of music halls once flourished, with several iconic city structures serving as venues. Though their original purpose may have been overshadowed by subsequent transformations into cinemas and bingo halls, their contribution to the city's cultural tapestry remains significant.

‘Remembering Dundee’s Music Halls’ opens on the 25th April with a special free talk by Alison Young of the British Music Hall Society on the ‘Art of the Music Hall’ and will run until the end of May 2024. The exhibition coincides with the British Music Hall Society’s ‘Music Hall and Variety Day’ which is celebrated on 16th May every year.

Associated events are funded by the University of St Andrews Impact and Innovation Fund.

For more info check out: @dundeemusichalls | Linktree

Remembering Dundee's Music Hall full poster