Lanarkshire Dramatic Club

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The Lanarkshire Dramatic Club was an amateur company founded by members of the 99th Regiment (Lanarkshire), stationed in Cape Town in the years 1868-1869.

The Company

The company performed in the Garrison Theatre for two seasons in 1868 - March to the end of April and then from the end of May to the end of October.

Members included Sergeant Bean, Sergeant Johnston, Sergeant Maynard, Sergeant Vincent Borcher, Mr Shelton, R. Norcliffe, Mr Evans, C. Hayes, Mr Subbs (Mr Stubbs?), Sergeant Ford, Sergeant Musnand, Sergeant Quill, Mr Holt, Mr Gully and Mr Parkes. On occasion female family members of the soldiers took on female roles, e.g. Miss Porcher (Miss Borcher?), Miss Libby, Miss Hunt and Miss Thompson - though most female roles were played by Sergeant Taylor, Mr Jenkins and Mr Hunt.

The company was later aided by some officers, among whom Lieutenant Tanner, Lieutenant Moir, Captain Burton, Captain Harvey and Captain Ball. Other officers mentioned are Lieutenant Coock, Macklin and Broughton.

For a while in 1868 they had some competition from the regiment's own Lanarkshire Glee Club, which contained some of its own members (e.g. Shelton and Norcliffe), but this was eventually overtaken by the rising interest in Minstrel performances.

In 1869 the company played less, but still had quite a busy season. New members mentioned in this time include J. Hawkins, G. Paris, T. Smith, W. Ladds, J. Anderson, G. Robinson, W. Skutt, W.H. Moore, C. Davis and M. Park.

Plays performed

Among the plays produced in the two years, were:

In 1868:

The Sergeant's Wife (Banim), Fortune's Frolic (Allingham), My Son's a Daughter (Parselle), I've Eaten my Friend (Bridgeman), Betsy Baker (Morton), Bombastes Furioso (Rhodes), The Two Bonnycastles (Morton), Slasher and Crasher (Morton), Mrs Green's Snug Little Business (Cheltnam), A Ticket of Leave (Phillips), A Phenomenon in a Smock-Frock (Brough), An Ugly Customer (Williams), Caught by the Cuff (Hay), The Irish Post (Planché), Ici on Parle Français (Williams), Whitebait at Greenwich (Morton) and A Day after the Fair (Somerset).

In 1869:

The Sergeant's Wife (Banim), A Day after the Fair (Somerset), One Tree Hill (Craven), Jack in the Green (Lemon), The Gipsy Farmer, or Jack and Jack's Brother (Johnstone), A Nice Quiet Day (Hipkins and Murray), To Paris and Back for £5 (Morton) and Villikins and his Dinah (Burnand).

This year they also collaborated with the Amateur Christy's, doing pieces like The Music Lesson and La Africain, or High Tall Yawn Uproar, and the burlesque version of La Somnambula


F.C.L. Bosman, 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.262-5.

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