Edward Vincent

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Edward Vincent (1862-1932) was an actor, theatrical manager and playwright.


Born Edward Timothy Vincent in Liverpool on 14 December 1862, he left England for Australia at an early age and made his debut at the Melbourne Opera House on Christmas Eve 1885.

In 1891 he appeared in the play Claudian at the Prince’s Theatre in Bristol, in 1895 he toured with Wilson Barrett’s hugely popular The Sign of the Cross and in 1908 he was in London With the Lid Off at the Theatre Royal in Stratford, and he directed Ethel Irving and Frank Cellier in The Ware Case, with Harcourt Collett in a supporting role.

In 1894 he was one of the founders of Cape Town's famous Owl Club and in 1909 he was its President.

He later settled in Bulawayo, where he became the Rhodesian manager of African Consolidated Theatres, and died in Bulawayo on 25 November 1932.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

In between his European and Australian activities he was also active in South Africa, performing on the stage in both Cape Town and Johannesburg as well as directing plays and appearing in a number of films.

His South African stage career

As an actor he performed for the Chambers Theatre Company in The Bells of Haslemere and In the Ranks in Cape Town in the early 1890 and later also working for Leonard Rayne and the Wheeler Theatre Company, performing in such roles as "Pope Pius" in The Eternal City, "Zakkuri" in The Darling of the Gods, the merchant on the jury in Tolstoy’s Resurrection, the father in L'Enfant Prodigue (Carré and Wormser) and "Cyrus Blenkarn" in The Middleman.

He also played a substantial management role, and in this capacity at one stage associated with both Leonard Rayne and the Wheeler Theatre Company. For example he staged J.M. Barrie’s Walker, London for the Wheeler's on the occasion of the opening of the new Port Elizabeth Opera House on 1 December 1892. He apparently also directed the Cape Town production of An Englishman's Home in 1909.

In 1904 a New Zealand newspaper reported that Vincent was “piloting Johnny Sheridan’s Company through South Africa“, during a time when he was also touring the country with a one-man presentation of A Christmas Carol. A performance of this in Grahamstown (held in the Albany Hall in October 1906) was said to have lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes.

In later years he gradually withdrew from the stage, concentrating on management, writing and film acting for a while, though he still gave occasional recitals and was active as a producer in the amateur theatre.

He finally settled in Bulawayo, where he became the Rhodesian manager of African Consolidated Theatres.

His South African film career

All the films in which he featured were shot between 1918 and 1920 while he was with African Film Productions. By that time he was a distinguished-looking, white-haired gentleman and the parts he played corresponded to his age and appearance. The films were: The Voice of the Waters (Joseph Albrecht/1918), The Bridge (Dick Cruikshanks/1918), Fallen Leaves (Dick Cruikshanks/1919), Allan Quatermain (H. Lisle Lucoque/1919), With Edged Tools (Joseph Albrecht/1919), Isban Israel / The Buried City (Joseph Albrecht/1920), Prester John (Dick Cruikshanks/1920) and The Madcap of the Veld (Joseph Albrecht/1919). During this time he worked as a scenario editor for AFP and also wrote the screenplay for Prester John.



D.C. Boonzaier. 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 390, 395

Dictionary of South African Biography

Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm

Ranby, W.E. - The Owl Club


Go to the ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to ESAT Personalities V

Return to South African Theatre Personalities

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page