In the middle of the 20th century the China Variety Theatre was one of the hottest places to perform at in Europe.
China was inaugurated as a movie theatre in October 1928 with the silent movie “Anna Karenina” with Greta Garbo and in a few years’ time there were also various stage shows and odd variety shows. In 1937 a regular variety show was started during the summer months, i.e. May – September each year and the format was a two hour show with some 10-15 fast-moving specialty acts, a chorus line of beautiful Swedish girls  with two showings per evening. China became a natural leg in the European variety circuit: Palladium in London; Lido in Paris; Hansa Teater in Hamburg and numerous international stars visited Stockholm for their one month’s engagements. Here are some of the performers:

Cortini, Cardini, El Fahali Gali Gali, Howard de Courcy, Borra, Frakson, Richiardi Jr, Channing Pollock, Mr Electric, Kalanag, Tonny van Dommelen, Fred Kaps, Kodell

Christer Nilsson wrote an article about the China Variety in his book ”“Trollare och andra underhållare” (Magicians and other entertainers) published in 1990. Now, together with Jan BA Janson, the article is translated to english so now the world can read about the history of one of Europe’s most famous performance theaters in the 20th century.
Read the article here!

John Houdi is a Swedish professional magician and comedian working mostly in Sweden and Scandinavia where he is reporting from. You can find him at