Ella Bankhardt

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Ella Bankhardt (fl. 1880-1890s) was an Australian born dancer and performer.


Born Eleonora Bankhardt, probably in Sydney circa 1870, she was the daughter an offical at the Sydney Technological Museum. She studied dancing with British actor, dancer, singer and choreographer Willy Warde (1857–1943)[1] and went on to become the London Gaiety Theatre’s premiere “danseuse” under the name Ella Bankhardt. However, her career was seemingly cut short When she married a Captain E.A. Maund (1851-1932)[2], the African explorer and Rhodesian pioneer, in 1892, apparently leaving showbusiness when the couple settled in Rhodesia. On their return to London, she became an active member of the suffragette movement.

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

She was a member of The Edgar Perkins Lyric Opera Company, when it first visited Cape Town in January, 1890, to performed various operas and musical pieces in the Exhibition Theatre. Described by D.C. Boonzaier (1923) as "surely the most beautiful dancer that has ever graced the Cape Town stage".


The Bulletin, Vol. 11 No. 588 (23 May 1891), Trove[3]

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, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p. 390

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