The Italian Circus

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The Italian Circus is a name given to a company of performers which appeared in Cape Town in November, 1847, managed by monsieur Dalle Case and Signor Severo. They staged a variety of circus-style programmes, most probably including equestrian gymnastics, which Dalle Case had previously done in London. F.C.L. Bosman (1928: pp. 434-5) mentions a number of "laughing pantomimes" done by The Italian Circus in 1847-8, inlcuding: The Cooper of Venice, or The Interrupted Supper; Harlequin (sic); Barbier de Seville (sic); The Mock Statue, or The Old Man Deceived; and Baking and Roasting without Fire (a "burlesque Pantomime never before acted here").

In February 1848, the partners went their separate ways, each with his own circus.

Dalle Case kept the name the Italian Circus, doing this alongside his other theatrical enterprises, including several pantomimes at the Victoria Theatre and the Garrison Theatre in Cape Town.

In February 1848 the partners parted ways when Dalle Case started a French theatrical company , Dalle Case Company (also referred to as the French Dramatic Artistes) alongside his own circus, while Signor Severo started a rival company, the African Circus.

The theatrical entrerprises of the Dalle Case Company folded later in 1848, when Case apparently left the Cape (and show-business) for adventures in the interior, left show-business for other enterprises for a while. However he and his wife seemingly continued performing in circus presentations, possibly with Noble's Circus, since F.C.L. Bosman (1928, p. 437, f.2) notes a Signora Dalle Case (is this supposed to be signor?), who performed on the borders of the Cape toward the end of 1850 and then appears in Natal in 1852, performing with a number of wild animals, as in traditional South African circusses.


Gillian Arrighi and Victor Emeljanow. 2012. A World of Popular Entertainments: An Edited Volume of Critical Essays. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: pp. 94[1]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [2]: pp. 435-7, 484, 487, 494, 500.

Jill Fletcher, 1994

P.W. Laidler, 1926

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