Harry Burton

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There are two personalities involved in South African theatre and performance by this name.

Harry Burton (Snr, fl. mid 19th century)

Also found as H. Burton, he was a court usher at the Supreme Court and an enthusiastic local amateur or semi-professional performer in Cape Town.

He was the father of the musical director and conductor Harry Burton (fl 1900).

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

Harry Burton senior was actgive as actor and musician for much of his adult life. For example he appears as a member of the private (i.e. non regimental) concert company known as Amateur Coloured Troupe in the Minstrelsy[1] style popularized by the Christy Minstrels, active in Cape Town between 1869 and 1871. According to Boonzaier (1832) he apparently also performed for Disney Roebuck and other companies over the years, though usually normally only in "the humblest roles". His only noteworthy role was apparently that of "Cripps" in The Silver King at the Theatre Royal in Burg Street.

Harry Burton (Jr, fl 1900)

The son of the actor Harry Burton, he was born and began his career as a musical director and conductor in Cape Town, before moving on to England, where he established himself, working for companies such as the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, with which he visited South Africa again in 1903, responsible for the musical direction of the company's seasons while on tour in the country.

Sources

D.C. Boonzaier, 1932. "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. 279, 410-411

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