Durban Jewish Club

Jump to: navigation, search


Old Fort Road, Durban. Built 1931, to include 2 auditoriums with variable staging (Main Hall, capacity of about 450; Minor Hall, about 300). Until the late 1970s plays were presented under the auspices of the Durban Jewish Club. Notable directors include Malcolm Woolfson, Harold Freed, Anne Freed, Philip Meskin, and plays they produced included **, **, **. Also, right into the 1990s, they presented concerts and recitals by local and visiting companies. (McM)

This attractive old red tiled club was opened in 1913 ‘to provide for the Jews of Durban a centre of assembly for the propagation and development of Jewish thought, Ideals and culture, and for social intercourse.' The club was placed at the disposal of His majesty's and allied forces as a canteen in 1940-45, and during this period over two million members of the services made use of the premises Cnr Old Fort Road and Playfair Road.

The historic Durban Jewish Club celebrates its re-entry to the theatre scene with the return of Friends of Music recitals.

With five venues, an in-house bar and kitchen, air-conditioning, safe parking and centrally situated just outside the heart of the city, the Durban Jewish Club is poised to make a strong return to Durban’s theatre scene.

This initiative will be marked by the Friends of Music’s next concert on July 31 at 19h45 featuring international violinist Julian Herman. The recital was previously advertised as taking place at the SABC.

At one time, the historic Durban Jewish Club hosted a strong theatre group which offered productions ranging from musical reviews to top quality dramas.

These were presented in the main hall which has a fair-sized stage with a slightly sunken orchestra “pit” just large enough for a combo such as violin, cello and bass. It also has a sprung wooden dance floor and charming art deco lights. It can seat 500 or 300 buffet-style for a dinner/dance and costs approximately R4,000 per weekend night and around R1,800 for a week night.

For a smaller production or a supper theatre show, there’s the Minor Hall which has an adequate stage and seats 300 (100 dinner format). The price ranges from R1,200 to R1,500 per night. This venue has its own entrance, making the function independent of the rest of the Club.

A perfect venue for recitals or poetry readings is the gracious, elegant carpeted lounge with its original oil paintings, seating 200 (100 dinner format) at a cost of R1,100 per night. The conference room can seat 80 (35 dinner format) and costs around R700. There is also the Josh Goldberg Library which can accommodate 20 people and could host a small book or craft launch, an awards presentation or a press function.

An open-air courtyard walled on three sides provides a good venue for children’s productions or a mini craft market.

All costs are variable in terms of clients’ requirements and the day of the week required. There is a wheelchair ramp and vehicles may drive right up to the door to drop off disabled persons. The Main Hall, the Minor Hall and the Conference Room are all suitable for art or craft exhibitions.

First built in 1931, the Durban Jewish Club is open to the general public and currently hosts a wide range of events from study centres, workshops, conferences and seminars to weddings of all denominations.

Friends of Music have decided to move their recital programme back to the Durban Jewish Club which was their original home. Bookiing is at Computicket. (The one exception is the Lara Jones concert on August 28 which will still be held at the SABC).

For more information

More details from Patsy Short at the Durban Jewish Club on (031) 337-2581 or fax (031) 337-9600.

Return to

Return to South African Theatre Venues, Companies, Societies, etc

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page