“Don’t Forget The Pierrots!'' The Complete History of British Pierrot Troupes & Concert Parties  book cover
1st Edition

“Don’t Forget The Pierrots!'' The Complete History of British Pierrot Troupes & Concert Parties

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 30, 2022
ISBN 9780367489182
September 30, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
448 Pages 120 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume is the first authoritative historical textbook to look at the origins, development and evolution of seaside pierrot troupes and concert parties and their popular performance heritage.

It will provide, for the first time, a definition of the pierrot troupe and its evolution from the roots of European popular traditions such as the commedia dell’arte and minstrelsy, to links between music hall and contemporary popular culture. Tony Lidington will explore how pierrot troupes grew from a single idea to a major international cultural industry and how it boosted morale and national identity during the two World Wars, before sublimating into contemporary pop music and comedy. Tony’s continuing practice as research provides an experiential framework for the historical and ethnographic analysis of the form.

This book will be of vital interest to students, researchers, and performers of outdoor (al fresco) arts, clowning & comedy, minstrelsy, vernacular music-making, and music hall.

Table of Contents


Support for writing & illustrations


Note about Cover images

Preface: ‘The Pierrot fable’

Introduction: "Don’t forget the Pierrots!" - an overview of this book’s structure.

Chapter 1: "Here we are again!" - current practices.

Chapter 2: ‘Trope to troupe’ – the origins of Pierrot in Britain

Chapter 3: ‘Minstrels…white and black’ - white-faced minstrels, black-faced minstrels, and the emergence of blackface minstrelsy in Britain.

Chapter 4: ‘The seaside minstrels.’

Chapter 5: ‘Proliferation 1891-1914’

Chapter 6: ‘Bringing Blighty to the boys with troupes for the troops’ - Pierrot troupes and concert parties of the First World War.

Chapter 7: ‘Ambiguities in the evolution of the form and its developments during the inter-war years’ - including case examples of ‘The Follies’, ‘The Co-optimists’, ‘The Fol de Rols’ & ‘Twinkle’.

Chapter 8: ‘Khaki-clad Pierrot heroes’ - British concert parties & Pierrot troupes in the Second World War.

Chapter 9: ‘It’s that troupe again…’ - concert party adaptations for the airwaves and post-war British pop culture ‘Post World War II, with case example of Jack Hylton.

Chapter 10: ‘Impacts and reverberations’ – the ways in which the seaside troupe format has directly affected contemporary culture.

Chapter 11: ‘Conclusion’ - Pierrots & concert parties provide a portal to past, present & future popular culture.


Appendix 1 - Timeline of projects about Pierrots & concert parties by Tony Lidington

Appendix 2 - Programme for Moore & Burgess Minstrels, April 14th, 1877

Appendix 3 - Early members of Clifford Essex’s ‘Pierrot Banjo Team’

Appendix 4 - First railway connections

Appendix 5 - Spreadsheet of troupes with ‘Royal’ or ‘Imperial’ in the title

Appendix 6 - Pre-First World War troupes

Appendix 7 - Song books & publishers for Pierrot troupes and concert parties

Appendix 8 - List of troupes in First World War

Appendix 9 - 1918-1939 Pierrot troupe database

Appendix 10 - Numbers of ENSA performances (from Basil Dean)

Appendix 11 - Annual budgetary expenditures for ENSA (from Basil Dean)

Appendix 12 - List of seaside shows opening 1946-1961

Appendix 13 - The Roosters


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Tony Lidington is Associate Lecturer of Drama at the University of Exeter, UK. Tony has been a professional showman for 40 years – researching and implementing British popular entertainment forms in a wide variety of contexts throughout the country. He is founder and performer of the last-remaining professional seaside pierrot troupe "The Pierrotters" and has performed at countless resorts and events as his alter ego "Uncle Tacko!"