The Children's Theatre

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The Children's Theatre was a Johannesburg based company founded in 1943 by Celia Evans and

It was registered as a company in 1945.

[20 members, who meet every 2 mnths to control & direct the policy 7 finances of Chil. Thtre.] They staged James Ambrose Brown’s Ambrose Applejohn’s Adventure at the Wits Great Hall in 1950. Presented Gordon Daviot’s Richard of Bordeaux at the Wits Great Hall in 1951. It was directed by Minna Millsten with sets by her husband Basil Warner starring John Rutherford. Taubie Kushlick directed As You Like It for Children’s Theatre in 1953. It was staged at Rhodes Park and starred Tessa Laubscher as Rosalind opposite John Rudd’s Orlando. It was their busiest and most successful year thus far during which they culminated with Colin Romoff’s production of Treasure Island at the Wits Great Hall, starring Felix Cooper. Children’s Theatre staged Mango Leaf Magic for young audiences as their Festival production at the Library in 1956. They staged an open-air production of The Merchant of Venice at the Zoo Lake in the summer of 1957. Cecil Williams directed this play which starred Rory MacDermot as Shylock and Valerie Philip as Portia. The set was designed by Len Grosset, and Louis Jacobson did costumes. They did another performance of this play at the Donaldson Orlando community Centre for black audiences as their application for black audiences to attend was rejected by the City Council. Children’s Theatre put on J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan at the Reps for their Christmas show of 1957. Anthony Farmer directed the play and also designed the set for this visual treat which starred the boyish Evadne Kohler-Baker in the title role. Children’s Theatre had a very full 1958, which included an evening of readings by actor and academic David Horner. They did The Glass Slipper, in conjunction with the National and the Reps for Christmas 1959. It was a musical version of Cinderella, starring Anne Ziegler, Hilda Kriseman and Olive King. Anthony Farmer did Beauty and the Beast, Children’s Theatre’s only production for 1961. They did James Ambrose Brown’s Amelia’s African Adventure in 1962. They staged an open air production for the 1964 Johannesburg Festival with Robert Langford’s production of Treasure Island at the Zoo Lake. The Everyman Players’ performance of Arthur Fauquez’s adaptation of Reynard the Fox was presented by Taubie Kushlick as a gala to raise funds for Children’s Theatre in 1964. Taubie Kushlick produced The Wizard of Oz for Children’s Theatre, contracting Des Lindberg to write extra music and lyrics, and Dawn Silver for choreography. Keith Blundell was the musical director, Nina Campbell-Quine did décor, while Heather MacDonald Rouse did costumes. It was staged at the University Great Hall in 1965. The enormous financial losses incurred signalled the dissolution of the organisation. In July 1965 they staged James Ambrose-Brown’s The Three Wishes at the Library Theatre which proved to be their last production. They staged Jack and the Beanstalk starring Sue Kelly Christie, Michael Brunner, Drummond Marais and Kevin Feather at the Intimate in July 1984 **** (Tucker, 1997) *Children’s Theatre, Inc, JHB covering the period Oct 1943 – June 1947. ( May 1989 LANTERN verskil: 1944 – 1965.) 64 productions. A couple of early dedicated to the pursuit of children’s Theatre were: Prof. TJ Haarhoff, Prof. T Williams, Philip Birkinshaw, John Duthie, H A Jack & miss Lea Zidel. The Children’s Theatre registered as a company in 1945. Cecilia Evans, a devotee of the active Children’s Theatre in Britain. She started it in 1943 in JHb. 20 members, who meet every 2 mnths to control & direct the policy & finances of Chil. Thtre. First production The Snow Queen, (prod by McLaren)1949 Michael Martin Harvey’s adaption. Among the plays they performed were: Hansie en Grietjie (1st Afr Prod) performed in Rhodes Park, 1953; The three Wishes by James Ambrose Brown, with Stanley Coghan, June Hern. ; Pinocchio, Clifford Williiams (producer) with Jacqueline St. Clere, Robert Wilson & Roger Spence. ; Richard of Bordeaux by Gordon Daviot Minna Millsten (prod). Gordon Daviot is the pseudonym of Josephine Tey, a Scottish Authoress who dedicated this play to John Gielgud. It had a long & successful run in London with John Gielgud & Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies. ; As you like it in Rhodes Park, Kensington first Open Air Theatre prod in collaboration with Parks & Recreation Dept. 1953.Prod by Taubie Kushlick. ; The Tempest (prod) Cecil Williams in 1954, The Taming of the Shrew by Mary Holder, 1955,; The Merchant of Venice, Cecil Williams (prod) 1957. Open Air Theatre.; Dragon’s Daughter by Myrrha Bantock. Peter Pan & The Wizard of Oz 1965 by Taubie Kushlik; Thereafter a season of performances by the John Wright Marionette Company. Finale was a presentation by Anthony Farmer – Peter Pan.; Well-known theatre personalities directed and produced, eg: Bruce Anderson, John Hayter, Anthony Farmer, Hugh Goldie. ; Financial problems led to the demise of the Children’s Theatre. The Children’s Theatre registered as a company in 1945. Cecilia Evans started it in 1943 in JHb. 20 members, who meet every 2 mnths to control & direct the policy 7 finances of Chil. Thtre. First production The Snow Queen. Beauty & the Beast by Nicholas Stuart Gray, with Robert Lang, Maureen Saville, 1953. Hansie en Grietjie (1st Afr Prod) performed in Rhodes Park, 1953. The three Wishes by James Ambrose Brown, with Stanley Coghan, June Hern. Treasure Island, Colin Romoff (prod) with Felix Cooper, Ann Peters, 1953. Pinocchio, Clifford Williiams (producer) o with Jacqueline St. Clere, Robert Wilson & Roger Spence. Richard of Bordeaux by Gordon Daviot Minna Millsten(prod). Gordon Daviot a pseudonem fo a Scottish Authoress who dedicated this play to John Gielgud. It had a long & successful run in London with John Gielgud & Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies. As you like it in Rhodes Park, Kensington first Open Air Theatre prod in collaboration with Parks & Recreation Dept. 1953.Prod by Taubie Kushlick. The Tempest(prod) Cecil Williams in 1954, The Taming of the Shrew by Mary Holder, 1955. The Merchant of Venice, Cecil Williams (prod) 1957. Open Air Theatre. Dragon’s Daughter by Myrrha Bantock. Thereafter a season of performances by the John Wright Marionette Company. Finale was a presentation by Anthony Farmer – Peter Pan.

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