East Rand Theatre Club

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Origins and founding

Formed in 1944 as an amalgamation of the Benoni Drama Circle, the Benoni Combined Arts Group and the Boksburg Amateur Players. Run by Issy Goodman, Ethel London and Zelma London, they rehearsed and performed in the Benoni Town Hall. The aim was to present a wide-ranging and imaginative programme of about three plays a year, made up of world class plays as well as work written locally.


Plays by James Ambrose Brown, Percy Baneshik, Louis Ife, Noel Langley, Mary Mitchell and Sidney Gill were produced by the Club. Productions were directed by professionals or semi-professionals, and include individuals utilized include Taubie Kushlick, Leonard Schach, Anthony Farmer, Cecil Williams, Margaret Inglis, Minna Schneier, Leon Gluckman and Leontine Sagan. Among the individuals who started their theatrical careers there are Molly Seftel, Ian Bernhardt and Percy Tucker.

Among the plays they produced were In Theatre Street (1950), Governor of the Black Rock (1953), and The Good Woman of Setzuan (1965). (See: Du Toit 1998; Tucker, 1997) East Rand Theatre Club: Formed in 1944 out of Benoni Drama Circle, Benoni Combined Artists Group and the Boksburg Amateur Players. Run by Issy Goodman and Ethel and Zelma London, all school teachers. Their productions played and rehearsed in the Benoni Town Hall. Love on the Dole was directed by Taubie Kushlick in 1946. It was her first production for the East Rand Theatre Club, and enjoyed an extended run. Later taken to the Library Theatre in Johannesburg The Guinea Pig, directed by Taubie Kushlick was performed in the Benoni Town Hall in May 1948 starring Ethel London. Percy Tucker performed as lighting technician, yet an indiscretion saw him demoted for the run of the production. He was eventually put in charge of the box office. See How They Run by Philip King was an English farce which was staged by the East Rand Theatre Club in 1955. It was directed by Bladon Peake, a British theatre and film director. This play was often revived when the theatre was in trouble.They mounted a production of The Happiest Days of Your Life for the Benoni Publicity Association’s fourth annual arts festival, held in September 1952. Leonard Schach’s directed the satire, Volpone by Ben Jonson for the National Theatre at the Benoni Town Hall in 1952. This hit show starred Siegfried Mynhardt, Pieter Geldenhuys, Gerrit Wessels, Edna Jacobson, Frank Wise and Vivienne Drummond. Leon Gluckman directed James Ambrose Brown’s The Governor at Black Rock for the East Rand Theatre Club in 1953. The assistant stage managers were Percy Tucker and Barney Simon. They celebrated their twenty-first birthday in 1965 with a production of Brecht’s The Good Woman of Setzuan. Leonard Schach directed this production as promised years before to Ethel and Zelma London. Kiss Me, Kate was staged at the Benoni Town Hall in June 1971.

For more information

Source: Percy Tucker, 1997)

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