The Brothers Onda

‘The Brothers Onda’ was a stage name used by a group of circus and variety acrobats from the 1880s until the 1900s.

The first Brothers Onda were Charles and John active between 1882 and 1886. They described themselves as ‘Great Trapeze Artists’. After the early death of John in 1886, Charles returned with the Brothers Onda in 1890, appearing with his pupils at St Helens’ Town Hall. 

Hugh Rain became a member of the Brothers Onda in the 1890s, leaving behind his job as a tinplate worker in Preston to become Will Onda. He joined forces with another acrobat known as Dick Onda and began touring halls and theatres in Britain and in Europe. Their act involved them performing on the horizontal bar, apparatus which is now more familiar in gymnastics than for entertainment. One of their most popular acts was the nautical comedy On Deck in which Will Onda played a comical naval officer and Dick Onda played a sailor, turned clown. The portrait featured on this page is most likely to be Dick Onda. 

If you have discovered the Brothers Onda once appeared at your local theatre or you are connected to them in any way, I would love to hear from you. Please leave your details and a comment below. Thanks.

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