Dorkay House

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Dorkay House was a commercial building in Johannesburg, originally built as factory for "cut-make-and-trim" men’s clothing. Situated on Portion 168 of Farm Turnfontein at 5-7 Eloff Street in 1952, designed by architect Colman Segal (1923-1988) and named after the original owner, Dora Kotzen.

When the clothing business closed down, Father Trevor Huddleston campaigned to have the building used to support local Black musicians, and with funds raised at a farewell concert held in his honour in 1954 at the Bantu Men’s Social Club, Union Artists acquired a lease. The open-floor plan of the building enabled flexible use, so the building was organised to house shops at ground floor level, with a rehearsal stage on the first floor and practice rooms and workshops above. The building became the home of the African Music and Drama Association (AMDA) in 1957 and also housed Union Artists, who fitting up a venue called the Rehearsal Room there (a venue at one time run by Athol Fugard).

Dorkay House undertook the work of promoting black theatrical development, as initiated by Herbert Dhlomo and the Bantu Dramatic Society in the 1930s, and in the 1970s would see performances of The Train (Mofokeng and Mabaso) and John Kani, Athol Fugard and Winston Ntshona’s The Island (circa 1974).


Gosher, 1988

Tucker, 1997)

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