Captain Hall's Company

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A name often given to the theatrical endeavours of the 73rd Regiment, stationed in Cape Town, on account of the leading role played in the activities by Captain Hall. Performing under the patronage of the wife of the Governor and with the permission of the Garrison Commandant, it was part of what is generally referred to as the Garrison Players, and active in the period 1850-1855.

For a while (1850-1852) Captain Hall was clearly the leading figure of the Officers of the Garrison, playing an inspirational and managerial role in the company, and specifically the 73rd Regiment's contribution. Hence the company is frequently referred to as Captain Hall's Company in the period 1859-52. After this (1853 to 1855), Hall appears to have largely acted for the Officers of the Garrison - and briefly for the visiting professional G.V. Brooke- on occasion, with the administration passing to other officers; though Bosman[1] still refers to "Captain Hall's Company" as the dominant company of 1854. After 1855 no more is heard of him or the company name.

See also the Garrison Players, the Garrison Theatre and Captain Hall.

The company members

Besides Captain Hall himself among the few names specifically mentioned are Captain Fisher (another leading figure), J.L. Fitzpatrick, Lieutenant Pasley, Mr Pitt, Mr Salter, Corporal Bishop, Mr Kirton, Mr Henslowe, Mr Belleville, **.

The company certainly used local amateurs as well, particularly in the period of the border wars and later - including a number of (often unnamed) ladies. Among the ladies mentioned were Mrs Oswin and Mrs Arlington, while Mr W.G. Groom is mentioned as a technician.

Plays produced by the company

Among the plays done by the company are:

In 1850

24 April: Richelieu, or The Conspiracy (Bulwer-Lytton) and The Original (Morton)

8 May: Richelieu, or The Conspiracy (Bulwer-Lytton) and My New Wife and My Old Umbrella (most likely My Young Wife and My Old Umbrella by Webster)

29 May: The Lancers (Payne), A Lover by Proxy! or My Daughter Sir! (Boucicault and/or Planché) and "a repeat of" My Young Wife and My Old Umbrella (now credited to Webster).

31 July: The Rose of Arragon (Knowles) and The Practical Man (Bernard)

9 August: The Rose of Arragon (Knowles) and Shocking Events (Buckstone).

11 September: A New Way to Pay Old Debts (Massinger) and The Sentinel (Morton)

17 September: A New Way to Pay Old Debts (Massinger) and Box and Cox (Morton)

26 September: Delicate Ground! (Planché), The Sentinel (Morton), A Lover by Proxy (Boucicault), and Box and Cox (Morton).


No performances by a Garrison company are recorded for this year by Bosman[2]], apparently because regiment was tied up with the Border Wars of 1850-1853. However, he suggests that some members may have played for W.F.H. Parker's company in this period.


In this year there is only mention of three benefit performances in aid of "the Widows and Orphans of the unfortunate soldiers who perished in H.M. Steamer Birkenhead", performed in the Garrison Theatre, and featuring Captain Hall as an actor, and Lieutenant Johnson as treasurer. Possibly these were done by Captain Hall's Company, in association with local amateurs. However, the benefit performances apparently made no profit, indeed they only managed to make a loss of £30!

The plays were:

24 March: Othello (Shakespeare) and Charles II (Payne).

13 April: Don Caesar de Bazan, or Love and Honour (wrongly ascribed to Benjamin Webster) and The Thumping Legacy (ascribed to an "M. Moreton", i.e. Morton)

21 April: "[I]n consequence of repeated applications", a second performance of both Don Caesar de Bazan, or Love and Honour (now correctly listed as by Webster and Boucicault) and The Thumping Legacy, is done.


14 September: The Illustrious Stranger (Kenney and Milligan), Bombastes Furioso (Rhodes) and Did You Ever Send Your Wife to Camberwell? (Coyne). A second production planned for 19 October, but the illness of Captain Fisher prevented it.

31 October: Power and Principle (Barnett, a version of Kabale und Liebe by Schiller), Circumstantial Evidence (Carew) and Box and Cox (Morton). Apparently neither Captain Hall nor Captain Fisher was not involved in this particular production - possibly owing to the Border Wars at the time, , and it showed in the production according to a review.

7 November: Repetition of the previous production, by popular demand.


2 May: St Cupid (Jerrold; the original 5 act play shortened to 3 acts by the company, apparently "to bring it within the resources of the establishment"[3]), A Bloomer's Costume (Stirling) and Perfection (Bayley).

5 June: The Rent Day (Jerrold), The Spitalfields Weaver (Bayley) and The Queen's Horse (Honan and Planché).

18 August: The Two Bonnycastles (Morton) and The Honeymoon (Tobin), repeated on 4 September:

18 September: Honesty is the Best Policy (Lemon), The Spitalfields Weaver (Bayley) and Middle Temple (Peake). The performance as a benefit for Mr Kirton.


For much of this year, it appears that the company members, including Capotain Hall himself, helped out with professional productions in Cape Town by visiting companies and performers (e.g. G.V. Brooke and James Lycett). Only late in the year we hear of the 73rd regiment again, but thereafter no more of Captain Hall.

28 September: Grace Huntley, or The Follies of Youth (Holl) ; Comfortable Lodgings, or Paris in 1750 (Peake) and a new "Grand Ballet" - the performances done "for the benefit of the Patriotic Fund" (Bosman, 1928[4]: p. 412)


F.C.L. Bosman, 1928[5]: p.398-413, .

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