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Prentice Troupe of Comedy Acrobats

The Prentice Troupe of Comedy Acrobats was a London vaudeville act from 1902-1909 (possibly earlier and later) that traveled to the U.S. and possibly elsewhere. It would seem that the leader of the group was Harry C. Prentice, and the other members took on the Prentice name. We don't know for certain that Harry was really a Prentice or if this was just a stage name (as many have done). We have collected a number of items on this group, but they still remain a bit of a mystery. If you have any information on them please let us know!

» Prentice Troupe collection in the Prentice Museum

Boston Globe newspaper - Dec. 2, 1902

Page 8, Drama and Music section. "New Palace Theatre"

... The Prentice troupe. Harry, Anna, Nela, Bobbie, a quartet of wonderful acrobats presented a performance that proved sensational, novel and laughable. ...

The following information was excerpted from emails with Ron Button, of Cape Town, South Africa.

My story of the Prentice acrobatic family is not all that detailed but I'd like to start at the beginning if I may. My paternal grandmother kept a rooming house in London near a vaudeville theatre and her lodgers were mostly itinerate performers. One group of 3 or 4 called themselves the Prentice Troupe of Comedy Acrobats and they apparently took my father, then a teenager, with them when they left and they eventually toured the States. I have a couple of battered postcards of the troupe and other performers dated 1908 and 09 from San Fransisco; Mt.Clemens Mich. and Fargo N.Dak. taken at various fairs (one caption is Mason City District Fair). My father took the name Prentice in line with the others, all apparently named after the leader who appeared to be bearded and the eldest.

My father was born in 1885 so he would have been 20 to 25 at the time. I remember him telling me of his experiences in the San Fransisco earthquake.

The following is not part of a Prentice story but it will clear up the addresses on the cards. While [my father] was in the States, [his mother] immigrated [to Cape Town] with the family and he joined them here. He married my mother in 1920 and yours truly arrived 9 months later. She died in quite good health aged 96.

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