The 1914 world war left the Ballet Russes in dire financial straits (nothing new!) . They flitted between Europe and America trying to earn a decent living. Stranded and penniless in neutral Spain in 1918, Sir Oswald Stoll, who owned the London Coliseum (then a music hall) offered Diaghilev a season of variety.
Diaghilev had misgivings, but was forced to accept.
It was, however, a shrewd move. The Ballet Russes’ performances in England, which included the great dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky, were received with enthusiasm and warmth by audiences everywhere.