Before the Beatles, there were the Pollards....

A remarkable story and Peter Downes and his publishers have done it full justice. New Zealand Listener

Well written, handsomely illustrated, thoroughly documented and careful in the smallest details, a story that should interest even the uninitiated. Opéra Internationale, Paris


[The Pollards'] remarkable journeys and adventures would ... make a wonderful swashbuckling film of the Steven Spielberg variety. Crescendo, New Zealand


An engrossing, delightfully written account of a fascinating aspect of our musical and theatrical history. New Zealand Opera News


Theatre historian Peter Downes ... makes a professional job of unearthing the colourful story of the larger-than-life Pollard family.... It's riveting stuff ... what a trouper. Dominion Post, Wellington

Is extremely fully researched and painstaking ... a fascinating account of an extraordinary and little-known facet of antipodean 19th-20th-century performing arts history. Opera Opera, Sydney

Peter Downes relates the saga of the [Pollard] company's fascinating 30-year history with skill and plenty of interesting details, stories, and accounts of the productions, all of which are supported by the excellent photographs and prints that appear on nearly every page.... By restoring in detail a robust part of our theatrical history, [he] has honoured the memory of a group of Victorian performers who reflected the vitality and resilience of their audiences in the years just before theatrical entertainment ceased to be seen as a social necessity. New Zealand Books


The story is fascinating, both of the development of an opera company and of life in New Zealand and Australia at the turn of the century.... To read The Pollards is to follow the travails of a musical family who set the standards for our theatre today. Wanganui Chronicle


An entertaining and informative book ... about the heyday of travelling shows in the Southern Hemisphere.... [Downes] has done theatrical history a great service in reminding us, in considerable detail, of this enterprising family and their extraordinary contribution to the art of entertainment. Otago Daily Times, Dunedin


This lively account is filled with wonderful photographs and creates a vivid picture of life on the road. New Zealand Book Council Booknotes


The subheading under the title gives a clue as to what or who the Pollards were. Yet this plain little statement doesn't begin to illuminate the fascinating tale within the 224 pages of the book.... The author takes us on a tour with the Pollards, covers their history, successes, failures, births, deaths and marriages all the while chronicling the social milieu of early Australia and New Zealand.... The Pollards could well have been lost for ever: thank goodness Peter Downes went out of his way to find them again. Musical Opinion, London


What are Pollards, you wonder? This book's subtitle gives you the answer: 'A family and its child and adult opera companies in New Zealand and Australia 1880 to 1910'.... Peter Downes has written an engrossing account of the Pollards' activities and their adventures on tour. Opera, London


It is an enthralling read and gives a colourful and detailed picture of life as the nineteenth century turned into the twentieth and how show business was run in those times, all those miles away. Musical Stages, London