Tot Oefening en Vermaak

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Tot Oefening en Vermaak ("For Practice and Entertainment") was the name of an amateur dramatic society sporadically active in Cape Town, initially apparently in the period 1837-1839, then again between 1848 and 1851.


The phrase first appears in 1837 as the motto of a "nieuw Hollandsche Private Tooneellievende Gezelschap"("new Dutch private amateur company"), of which only one performance is certain (see below). It apparently lasted no longer than the year.

In 1849 the phrase was once more adopted as the motto for the company Hoop en Trouw ("Hope and Loyalty"), which had been founded in Cape Town in 1848 by what appears to have been some former members of Tot Nut en Vermaak en Door Yver Vruchtbaar, and would be continue to be active under the title Tot Oefening en Vermaak between 1849 and 1851. The name change virtually coincided with the birth of yet another company, Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst, which was probably also founded by a dissident faction from within Hoop en Trouw - hence the need for another name.

The company for a while announced itself as Hoop en Trouw, spelende as Tot Oefening en Vermaak (i.e."Hope and Loyalty playing as For Practice and Entertainment") , though later and more sensibly referred to simply as Tot Oefening en Vermaak.

The company mostly performed in the Hope Street Theatre in 1849, though they also used the in the Drury Lane Theatre on at least one occasion, and at least twice the Garrison Theatre in 1851. The company apparently disbanded in 1851.

See also Tot Nut en Vermaak

Productions under the name Hoop en Trouw

Only one production under this name is on record, before the name changed, though there are indications the company had done previous work.

On 24 November 1848 the private Dutch amateur company Hoop en Trouw presented Siegfried van Hohenwart (Westerman) and Sans Quartier, of Het Vergenoegen Overtreft den Rykdom (Anon) in the Hope Street Theatre, Cape Town.

Productions under the name Tot Oefening en Vermaak

In 1837 a company, performing under the motto Tot Oefening en Vermaak in the De Liefhebbery Tooneel ("The amateur theatre") on 12 August, did Roland de Monglave, of De Zegepraal der Onschuld (Tréogate) and Monsieur Tonson (Moncrieffe), with an "Indian dance" and a dance on the slack rope served as interlude.

In the company's new guise, their repertoire often included comic or sentimental songs as "divertissements" between plays , "in the English manner". Among them were even a few written by locals, such as Geene Bandieten (Anon.),

1849: The plays performed in this year include Zoë, of De Zegepraal eener Standvastige Liefde (Lijnslager, based on Mercier); De Hoefsmid (Quétant, translated by J. Menkema Jr.); Claudine (Van der Willigen); De Spraaklooze (Von Kotzebue); Getrouw tot in den Dood (Westerman); De Deserteur (Von Kotzebue); Dirk Meschenschrik (Holberg); Sans Quartier, of Het Vergenoegen Overtreft den Rykdom (Anon.). De Molen by Auerstad (Ernst); De Logen om Best Wil (Garrick); De Negers (Von Kotzebue), Vier Schildwachten op eenen Post (Vogel).

There are no performances on record for 1850, but in 1851 we do have a few charity performances by the company, mainly in support of those who had suffered losses because of the Border war (known as the "Kaffir War" at the time). Plays performed include De Toveres Sidonia (Zschokke), De Kalkoen van Breda (Van Ray) and De Geveinsde Zotheid door Liefde (Regnard).



F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1]: pp. 249-251, 452-456, 480-490, 502

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