Drawing Room Theatre

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The Drawing Room Theatre was a venue constructed a large room in the Commercial Exchange building, Cape Town, by Sefton Parry in 1855. Created in a hurry, it had 350 seats and was used for Parry's first presentations in Cape Town, since the Garrison Theatre was deemed unsuitable. F.C.L Bosman (1928) refers to it as the "Die Beurs-Skouburg" (i.e. "Stockmarket=theatre" or "Commercial exchange theatre") in Afrikaans.

Called the Drawing Room Theatre, it was apparently fitted up on the same model as the Reuben’s Room in Windsor Castle. The first official performance was on Wednesday, June 13, 1855 when Boucicault’s comedy Used Up, or The Peer and the Ploughboy (Boucicault) and the farce Family Jars, were performed by Parry and the "Gentlemen Amateurs". The theatre was predominately English and played an important role in English professional theatre in South Africa. [MN]

See also the Commercial Exchange


F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1]: pp. 428, 481-2,

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg.

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

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