A.R. Bennett

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A.R. Bennett (fl. 1880s) was a railway worker and amateur singer and performer.


He seems to have been born in Scotland and had settled in Cape Town as an employee at the Railway Work Shops in Salt River. According to D.C. Boonzaier (1923), Bennett "possessed a very powerful and pure tenor voice, but had no histrionic ability whatever" and had a heavy Scots accent to boot.

He died in Cape Town.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

He had his one moment in the theatrical spotlight when he appeared in the first South African production of The Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan), produced by the Wheeler Company. It opened at the Theatre Royal, Burg Street, Cape on 3 July, 1886, a woman, Miss Pell, appeared in the tenor role of "Nanki-Poo". However, after a few nights she was replaced in the tenor role by A.R. Bennett. The production played for four weeks.

Nothing more is heard of Bennett as stage performer after that.


D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p. 382

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