The French Company

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The French Company is generic English name given at times to 19th century amateur or professional theatrical companies performing in French, of which there were a number apparently - often shortlivied amateur groups brought together for specifc events. Among the more stable were Charles Mathurin Villet's bilingual (Dutch/French) company Het Fransche Liefhebbery Geselschap and Charles Etienne Boniface's multilingual company Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense, both active in Cape Town in the early 1800s.

When doing French plays, the company in question was variously (depending on the publication) referred to as Het Fransche Liefhebbery Geselschap in Dutch, Een Fransch Gezelschap van Liefhebbers van het Theater, een Fransch Blyspel Gezelschap etc; and in English as the French-Dutch Amateurs, the French Amateur Company, the French Theatre Company or The French Company. In later Afrikaans publications (e.g. Bosman, Binge, etc) they were sometimes referred to as the Tweetalige Geselskap ("Bilingual Company"), Franse Geselskap ("French Company") or die Franse Amateurs ("French Amateurs").

For all performances in French in the period 1803-9 see: Het Fransche Liefhebbery Geselschap and Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense.

See also French theatre in South Africa

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