On the road with The Allisons

James and Lucy Allison had an extensive touring career, both across the UK and internationally.



In the early 1890s the Allisons’ were on contract to the Boston Howard Athenaeum Company touring America in 1891- 1892. The returned back to America in 1893-94 where they performed nightly at theatres across the country. In 1895 they were contracted to perform at Tony Pastor’s New York theatre and toured with Pastor in November 1895.

Hartford Courant. Connecticut. August 16, 1895 (courtesy


1896-1897. During their time in America they were spotted by Harry Rickards, the British comic turned impresario who was building his Tivoli theatre empire in Australia. Rickards contracted them for their first Australian tour in 1896. They toured every major city getting rave reviews for their eccentric dance and comedy routines. Rickards made a name for himself by importing dozens of British “turns” to perform at his Tivoli theatres, the likes of which had never been seen in the southern hemisphere.

The Age (Melbourne) January 29, 1897 (courtesy Trove, National Library Australia)

Rickards was also well known for paying well. At the beginning of 1898 James and Lucy Allison returned to the UK where they were engaged by theatre manager Oswald Stoll, and toured the UK for the summer season. In December 1897 the Era newspaper reported the acts returning to the UK from Rickards ‘Gold Mine’ in Australia. It included Jim and Lucy Allison as returning loaded along with others such as The Selbinis, Jack & Lala.

The Era 4 Dec 1897 (British Newspaper Archive)


In 1900 the Allisons returned to America, this time on contract with the Fulgora’s Stars Vaudeville show.

Dayton Herald Ohio. December 12 1900 (courtesy
The Buffalo Enquirer October 20, 1900 (courtesy

Returning to Australia

In November 1901, Harry Rickards had once again engaged the Allisons to tour Australia. But this time also to New Zealand. They toured both the north and south island between March – June 1902 after their successful run in Sydney.

Auckland Star, Volume XXXIII, Issue 124, 27 May 1902

(c) Christine Beddoe 2023