Boscawen Amateurs

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The Boscawen Amateurs was the name given to an amateur theatre company, active in Simons Town 1857-1859.

Made up of officers from H.M.S. Boscawen, stationed in Simonstown, they are first heard of when they presented The Somnabulist (Montcrieff) and Who Speaks First as a benefit evening for the Indian Sufferers Relief Fund in Simonstown on 28 December, 1857.

They next performed Don Caesar de Bazan (with a Mr. Jeffries listed as the Don) and Box and Cox on 29 June, 1858 in Simons Town, this in aid of Free Schools. The production was followed by another on 7 July, now with the same main play, but Grimshaw, Bagshaw and Bradshaw as afterpiece.

In February, 1859, the Boscawen was anchored in Table Bay, Cape town, and the amateurs, performing in the Cape Town Theatre, gave a third performance of Don Caesar de Bazan, now with The Rose of Amiens, or Our Wife (Morton). The company was supported by three ladies (Mrs Delmaine, Miss Delmaine, Annie Rowlands) and a number of other local amateurs, and the males in the cast are given as R. Wells, W.R. Jeffreys, C.B. Sevecke, J.R.F. Fullarton, T.A. de Waal, C.T. Layton, C.R. Smith, W.S. Brown, W.H. Maxwell and J.C. Plow. The performance had been scheduled for 7 February, but due to a nasty Southeaster wind, was postponed to 11 February.

The company was last heard of when they formed part of the farewll balls held in Simonstown and Cape Town in April and May of 1859. After this they disappeared off the stage, it is not clear why, although according to Laidler, they apparently did make a few comebacks from time to time.

Sources

F.C.L. Bosman, 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.53, 76, 163-5, 168, 179

P.W. Laidler. 1926. The Annals of the Cape Stage. Edinburgh: William Bryce: p. 73.

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