European Variety & Novelty
America had its circuses, carnivals, dime museums and vaudeville theatres to present all manner of human curiosities, and all manner of novelty and variety acts.
Europe's older tradition presented these same acts, perhaps beginning in England at the annual Bartholomew Fair which had its premier in 1133 AD. While Bartholomew ended in 1855 by royal decree, the performance tradition had seeded itself already in taverns, pubs, and later as Music Hall entertainment. Music Hall originated as a British theatrical entertainment popular from about 1849 until it lost its luster in the 1920s. Later dubbed Variety, European theatre presented these same acts in a manner very close to American vaudeville.
In Germany the same stages were found inside so-called Panopticons, the first being a waxworks known as Castan’s Panopticon in Berlin, which opened in 1869.
Fairground and seaside European shows are also included here.