The spirit of the halls

The story of the Cosmotheca …

Cosmotheka in performance

The Cosmotheca was a music hall in a less-than-salubrious area of Marylebone, London, between 1857 and 1869. As Al and Dave would usually explain at the start of their "act", "It's a funny name, isn't it? Sounds like a Greek fish & chip shop... The Cosmotheca was a music hall. It was a bit dirty, a bit seedy and a bit run-down... and we sing music hall songs, and we're a bit dirty, a bit seedy and a bit run-down." (The curious word "cosmotheka" is apparently Greek for "the world is a stage".)

... and Cosmotheka

From 1972 to 1999, Dave & Al Sealey were Cosmotheka. Performing the songs of the Halls, they were considered by many to be the finest interpreters of the genre, and appeared at venues across the country and around the world. There were numerous radio series and television appearances, and their many fans included Roy Hudd, Bob Monkhouse and Chas & Dave.

Their roots, however, remained firmly in the world of the people's entertainment: the upstairs room at the pub, the folk festival, the village hall.

... among a very small band of peformers who can make us feel the power and perfection of our only true folk music - the Music of the Halls... Roy Hudd

Click here to read the full story of Al & Dave Sealey's career as Cosmotheka.

Since the tragic death of Al in 1999, Dave Sealey has returned to the stage in many collaborations, and particularly a solo career, including one-man-shows of the work of two iconic performers: Stanley Holloway and Max Miller.

In my opinion his portrayal of Max Miller... has taken Dave to new heights... [he] played Max Miller to perfection and brought the true magic of the music halls alive for the audience, who were all in stitches, with Max's good clean fun. Steve Wilson [Miller's family member]

Click here to read more about Dave Sealey's solo career.

Now the next generation is taking part, and Dave's son, Dan Sealey, will this year be joining his father to recreate "a lot of the old songs, with a new twist".

Dan is determined to drag his crusty, ancient, musical relic of a father shouting and bawling into the twenty-first century. So far, he's winning hands down. What on earth would Harry Champion say?

Click here to read more about the work of Dave & Dan, continuing the magical tradition of music hall entertainment at its finest.

Welcome to the magic of Cosmotheka.

this page last updated on December 10, 2017

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