The Zanettos and the Korosko Bale Sisters

Firstly – my apologies for missing a post last time, hopefully this double dose will make up for it!

The Zanettos, “World-renowned jugglers and equilibrists” are advertised to appear at the Newcastle Empire on the front cover of the Gateshead Guardian of 31 August 1895:

The Zanettos at Newcastle Empire 31 August 1895 - Gateshead Guardian Advert

From Gateshead Central Library

As you can see from their review a week later (published on 7 September 1895) there’s scant information apart from describing their routine as “clever”, and misspelling their name:

The Zanettos at Newcastle Empire 7 Sept 1895 - Gateshead Guardian article

From Gateshead Central Library

However, a bit of Googling has revealed a real treat. is a treasure trove of information about the Bale family who were the core of the Zanettos. The Posters, Press and Programmes page has some great material that fans of this site will enjoy, but for me the best stuff is on – which includes an interview with Edwin Bale published while he was performing in Newcastle.

The interview describes how the performers came to impersonate Japanese jugglers (with some language that’s probably most kindly described as “of its time”) which leads me onto the second half of this weeks double-header. At the Gaiety Theatre of Varieties in Hartlepool, for the week of 11 August 1902 the Sisters Korosko Bale, “Double Japanese Jugglers, Balancers &c” appeared, along with their “splendid performing pigeons”:

Sisters Korosoko Bale Poster

From Tyne & Wear Archives

The name Bale associated with ‘Japanese’ juggling must mean that they’re linked to the Zanettos, but I’ve not been able to confirm the exact nature of the connection. However I did find the abstract for a academic conference presentation that refers to the Zanettos and the Korosko Bale troupe, and has some more pictures of the Zanettos. Scroll right down to the bottom of the page to find a link to the presentation slides.

I hope you enjoy all that linked material as much as I did.

3 Responses to “The Zanettos and the Korosko Bale Sisters”

  1. Terri Allen nee Bale Says:

    I can confirm that the sisters Korosko-Bale were linked to the Zanettos, as they were cousins. They were Susannah & Louisa Bale.
    Their father was Frank Bale, who started off performing with his brothers in the 1860’s and then formed his own group and owned a theatre in Glossop. These were not as Japanese. He had died by 1902. (in 1899).
    Their mother Frances also performed with Frank.
    The interview that you referred to on the Royal Zanetto site was by Edwin Bale not Frank.
    Edwin formed the quasi-Japanese, highly successful and fantastic, Yokohama Troupe, and probably trained the Zanettos.

  2. Terri Allen nee Bale Says:

    P.S. We think Frank was involved with forming the Korosko Bale Troupe – one advert. mentioning them as a trio. The adverts for them started appearing from 1893 through to 1899.

  3. Mike Armstrong Says:

    Thanks very much Terri – that’s great.
    I’ve updated that mistake about Frank/Edwin too.

Leave a Reply