Alfred Ray

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Alfred Ray (fl. 1860s) was a British soldier stationed at Cape Town.

Also credited as Der. F. la Yar, an anagram of his name and surname, used as a pseudonym when working in some theatrical contexts.


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

He was a member of the 9th Regiment dramatic society, which performed in Cape Town for two seasons (1866-1867), primarily as a singer of comic songs and puppeteer. For two years (1966-1967) he and Mrs Ray joined forces with R.S. Cooper and Mrs Cooper to form the Ray and Cooper Company. For them his contributions included providing "polygraphic descriptions" for Cooper's two diorama's, The Excursionist and The Cosmorama, in 1867-8, in association with Mrs Cooper.

He also performed for the Le Roy and Duret Company on occasion and at the end of 1866 joined F. Santanna's Grand Olympic Circus (also referred to as Santanna's Circus) to perform as clown.

According to F.C.L. Bosman (1980, p.526), "Der. F. la Yar" was also the author of a piece called The Rightful Heir. The Dead Hand and the Hour of One, though nothing more is known of such a play, though it is most likely to have been a burlesque of Edward Bulwer Lytton's 1868 play, The Rightful Heir. Probably also the creator of the comic act called The Two Clowns for Santanna's Circus.


F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 195, 259-262.

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