Title: Buffalo Bill’s "Wild West" in Manchester

Periodical: The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent

Date: December 7, 1887

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BUFFALO BILL’S "WILD WEST" IN MANCHESTER.


Buffalo Bill's "Wild West" company has gone to Manchester, and will open there on the 17th inst. Its locale will be the race course, where it is proposed that they shall remain for no less a period than five months. A huge building is being erected for the entertainment in the yard adjoining the grand stand. This will provide sitting accommodation for 10,000 persons. The building is 600 feet long, some 200 feet wide, and 80 feet in height from the ground to the apex of the roof. To the left on entering the yard is a building which will be known as the Indian village or encampment. This is 200 feet long by 85 feet wide, and is half the height of the principal building. In the village the tents of the Indians will be pitched in the centre, and the tents of the cowboys and other performers will be placed along the sides and at the ends of the building. The camp will, of course, be open to all visitors to the entertainment. The interior will be set off with scenic effects and "properties," so as to give the camp as realistic an appearance as possible. At the far end of the great building a space has been cut off and will be fitted up as a stage. Here a variety of scenes illustrative of a life in the Far West will be enacted. This will be an improvement upon the performance as given in London, where everything took place in the open air, without any change of scenery or "properties." The stage, as it may be called, is some 140ft. in length, and the proscenium is about 100ft. wide, with a height of 50ft. A semi-circular frame is placed at the rear of the stage area, and through this medium, by an ingenious mechanical arrangement, the scenery will be changed as required. At each end of the frame there will be a large cylinder upon which the scenery, which is to be one continuous piece of canvas, will be rolled, and the scenes can thus be easily changed as desired. Mr. Mat Morgan is responsible for the scenery. He has spent many years in America, and is thoroughly acquainted with the scenes he has depicted. In addition to the semi-circular scenes at the back, "set" pieces will be introduced, and also "wings" and properties appropriate to the events represented. The scenery will form a series of tableaux, and tell a connected story. For instance, there will be a representation of a primitive forest in America, with the sun rising at dawn. On the stage there will be elk, buffaloes, and other animals, with Indians out on the hunt. Then follows a representation of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers on Plymouth Rock, the settlement of New England, and the rescue of General Smith by Pocahontas. Another scene represents a prairie fire. This will be one of the most realistic of the series, for in addition to the fire there will be a stampede of Indians, buffaloes, elk, and other animals, just as may sometimes be seen in the wild West. A further scene will illustrate the arrival of pioneers on the prairie land, the camping out as in actual life, and the ploughing and sowing of the land. Next there will be an illustration of an episode in the history of America—the annihilation of General Custer's force by the Indians under Sitting Bull. Amongst Colonel Cody's Indians are fifteen or twenty who actually took part in the battle. The tableaux will conclude with a representation of a mining village. Thus, successful as was Buffalo Bill’s "Wild West" in London, it is anticipated that it will be even more successful in Manchester.