Front cover of programme for C.B.Cochran's production The Miracle
Printed and published by Gale and Polden Limited
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
In 1911, C.B.Cochran transformed the exhibition halls at Olympia, in west London, into a massive Gothic cathedral and mounted a huge medieval pageant called The Miracle. He brought the great Max Reinhardt from Germany to direct the show, with its huge crowd scenes, commissioned a script from Karl Volmöller and music from Engelbert Humperdinck, composer of the opera Hansel and Gretel. Volmöller's story told of a nun who forsakes her vows to experience life in the world. After many adventures, she returns penitent, to find that she has not been missed as the statue of the Virgin Mary has come to life and taken her place. It called for over 2,000 costumes, 1,000 assorted actors and extras, a chorus of 500, 25 horses, an orchestra of 2,000 and sets costing up to £8,500 each (about £170,000 today). This 'complete descriptive programme' tells you all you need to know of the story, the show and its creators as well as pictures of many of the characters and costumes. Unnamed among the massive crowds was a child actress called Gertrude Lawrence.