The Palace Theatre, Manchester 1921 to 1925.

Flapper 2

‘The Roaring Twenties Era’ was celebrated at The Palace Theatre with the show ‘Follies of 1921’.  Definatley a flapper’s show, it starred The Palace Girl Dancers, ‘Gus Chevalier’, (who was a top comedian of his day and in 1932 was a regular at the London Windmill Theatre), and a host of other stars. In that same year a young John Gielgud, aged just 17 appeared in a play, which marked the start of his career.  In 1922 Odette Myrtil  starred in a Variety Show. Odette was born in France but was a big star in the Ziegfeld Follies and later in life starred in a variety of movies.

A play Pot Luck, directed by the French Impresario ‘ndre Charlot starred Jack Hulbert and his wife Ciceley Courtneidge.  The pantomime for 1923  was Cinderella and amongst its cast were Nervo and Knox who were members of The Original Crazy Gang.  Among their many routines, a slow motion wrestling act was developed into a funny show stopper.


In 1924 the actor Sonny Hale graced the stage in Little Nellie Kelly, a musical written  by George M Cohan.  This musical was highly successful on Broadway and eventually turned into a movie in the 1940’s starring Judy Garland.  It had amazing songs in it such as: Little Nellie Kelly, Strike up the Band, It’s A great day for the Irish and Singing in the Rain.

Another musical ‘No, No’Nanette’ came to grace the stage at Manchester’s Palace Theatre. It’s lasted the age of time and is still popular today. Among the many songs are the evergreen tunes, Tea for Two and I want to be Happy.

Other famous artists who appeared at the Palace Theatre in the early 1920’s were George Robey, Stanley Holloway, Leo Franklyn and  Sybil Thorndike.

The early 1920’s theatre in Manchester was clearly a remarkable time which saw many famous actors begin their careers.


Marilyn Shalks

6 Responses

  1. I was pleased to read a reference to my Grandfather, Gus Chevalier, who was the resident comedian at the Windmill Theatre, and was the act chosen for the first trial broadcast for television in London.
    If you have any other references to him, please let me know.

    • Hi Cecile

      Many tanks for contacting me, I will let you know if I see his name in any of the programmes and playbills as I work my way through the Manchester Archives + collection.

      Many thanks for visiting my website and reading my bogs

      Kind regards


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