Chorus members, In Dahomey

Chorus members, In Dahomey

Rhoda King, Jessie Ellis, Birdie Williams and Ida Gigas
Members of the chorus in the first all black musical comedy In Dahomey
1903
Shaftesbury Theatre, London
The Sketch magazine pp.10
Museum no. NAL 131655
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

In Dahomey boasted a cast of over one hundred and starred the famous double act Williams and Walker. It was a huge success and the Cakewalk, and Buck and Wing dances featured in the production became the latest dance hall crazes in the UK. The show was heavily publicised. Photographs of the production showing the prettiest chorus girls appeared in all the illustrated magazines and the front of the theatre was covered with posters and photographs. At this time, there were few black people to be seen in the West End, so the management made sure that the performers were seen walking up and down Shaftesbury Avenue to increase public interest in the show.