Frank de Jong

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Frank de Jong (active 1890-1930)[] was a Cape Town based impresario.


The name is sometimes wrongly spelled Frank de Jongh

Biography

Contribution to South African theatre

As manager

He leased the Cape Town Opera House almost continuously from 1896-1937, initially in association with William Haviland, later with Herbert Flemming.

There he housed his Gaiety Companies, consisting of well-known overseas performers and artistes, including Zena Dare, Matheson Lang, Sybil Thorndike, Lewis Casson, Irene Vanbrugh and Kate Vaughan in a variety of plays, operas and ballets between 1896 and 1937.

In 1899 he and Herbert Flemming brought the Arthur Rousbey Opera Company to South Africa to perform a season of operas in Cape Town's Opera House.

De Jong introduced Frederick Mouillot and his company to Cape Town in April, 1902, with a return visit later the year, including a production of The Belle of New York (Morton) and a variety show: The World's Entertainment. Also referred to at times as the Mouillot-De Jong Company, they next started a season of musical comedy and light opera at the Opera House, Cape Town, in December of 1902, running into 1903. The plays they did included Falka, Gentleman Joe, Bluebell in Fairyland, The Belle of New York and La Poupee. The company also presented a few plays featuring Leonard Rayne (In the Ranks, My Sweetheart, The Eternal City, Sherlock Holmes, The Liars and Trilby.

Following on the success of Stephen Black's Love and the Hyphen, he and Black put together the Frank de Jong-Stephen Black Company (also known simply as the De Jong-Black Company), to perform a the Tivoli Theatre, Cape Town in 1910. The company had been newly recruited in England and they opened on 12 January with Smith (Maugham). They then went on a tour of the country, returning in October to open in Cape Town again with Stephen Black's play Helena's Hope, Ltd. (For the full repertoire, see also the entry on De Jong-Black Company)

Sources

D.C. Boonzaier, 1980. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (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: pp. 431, 434,

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