The worst play in the world?

Courtesy of Dick Weindling and Marianne Colloms

On Monday 15 May 1911, the play ‘When Kilburn Sleeps’ was put on at the Kilburn Empire. This was on the triangular site at the beginning of Kilburn High Road, where the London Marriott Hotel is today.

Kilburn Empire, then Essoldo Cinema 1953

It was produced by the wonderfully named Wentworth Croke.

He advertised it as ‘the worst play ever written, presented by absolutely the worst actors in the world’. ‘Wigs stolen from Clarkson’ (the famous theatrical wig maker). ‘Wardrobe from Petticoat Lane’ (the street market). ‘Mechanical effects by accident’.

It was written by Frank Dix (the advert said ‘pinched’), as a skit on melodrama.

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