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Kiralfy, Imre, 1845 - 1919



  • Existence: 1845 - 27 April 1919


Imre Kiralfy (1845-1919) was a successful theatrical producer born in Budapest, Hungary. Imre was renowned for his spectacular productions, which he managed with his brother Bolossy. Both brothers had a background on music and dance.

Encouraged by their parents, the family started travelling around Europe and America under the name Kiralfy, giving dance performances and were soon joined by six of their seven siblings. In spite of their talent and success as dancers, Imre and Bolossy stopped performing in their twenties to start their own theatrical production company, which they run together for thirteen years.

The brothers produced their first show in 1873, which was a mix of performance and dance in spectacularly elaborate sets involving large casts of performers. After achieving success in Europe, they travelled to America, where they adapted European productions to meet the taste of the American market.

The Kiralfy company dissolved in 1887 and Imre and Bolossy started to produce their own shows separately, with very distinctive characteristics. Bolossy based his shows in fantasy and fable, while Imre focused on the flourishing technological industry of the time and used science and machinery to wow the audience.

Imre returned to Europe in around 1893 to settle in England, where he continued producing extravagant shows. In 1894 he rebuilt Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre in a Mughal Indian style, where the Empire of India Exhibition opened a year later, followed by annual spectacular exhibitions. Imre remained in England for the rest of his life and became a British citizen in 1901. He died on 27 April 1919 aged 74 in Brighton.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Circus Friends Association Collection

Reference code: NFA0122
Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a large library of books and journals, as well as archival material including posters, programmes, photographs, films, handbills, research material, scrapbooks, original artwork and many other items of ephemera relating to British, Irish and European circuses

Dates: 1795 - 2020

Newspaper Cuttings and Scapbooks, 1838 - 2007

Reference code: 178G21
Scope and Contents

A collection of newspaper cuttings on circus, circus proprietors and performers and scrapbooks containing newspaper cuttings, posters, programmes and other items of ephemera, covering mainly British circuses and venues such as Belle Vue and also some international circuses.

Dates: 1838 - 2007

Newspaper Cuttings Related to Circus and Performers, 1838 - 1947

Reference code: 178G21.2
Scope and Contents

Newspaper cuttings relating to circus and performers, including Barnum, The American Circus, The Alhambra Palace, Drury Lane Theatre, Pawnee Bill Wild West, Imre Kiralfy, Cirque Imperial de France, Zazel, The Theatrical Observer, The Graphic, The Illustrated London News and The Performer.

Dates: 1838 - 1947