Mr Brougham

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Mr Brougham was a British actor in the 1870s.

Also simply referred to as Brougham in programmes and articles.


There is a great deal of uncertainty about this person. While he is referred to simply as Brougham in F.C.L. Bosman's 1980 study, he is actually listed as "John Brougham" in the Index to the book. This latter reference is dubious however, for though some of Bosman's references are to clearly to an actor in Roebuck's employ, the majority of times the reference to John Brougham is clearly to the prominent 19th century Irish-American playwright of that name (1814-1880)[1], whose plays were often performed in South Africa, but who as far as can be ascertained did not visit the country himself.

Another , more feasible, possibility is that Mr Brougham is the same person as the J.S. Brougham who had been a British soldier and amateur performer for the the North Lincolnshire Regiment of Foot in the early 1860s, when stationed in the Eastern Cape - perhaps having started on a career in theatre after his tour of duty.

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

A person referred to as Brougham visited Cape Town, Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth in 1873-4, as part of Disney Roebuck's first touring company to visit the country. Usually billed simply as Brougham, he started out in small supporting roles, playing figurants[2], and gradually progressed to more substantial roles, e.g. in Caste (Robertson) on 16 and 17 February 1874. He left the company with E.V. Sinclair and Miss Clifford after they had played in King Williamstown. Brougham is not heard of again.


North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, No 10, Christmas Supplement, 1861, page 146.

North Lincoln Sphinx, Vol 1, No 14, Keiskama Hoek, December 10, 1862, pages 261 and 270.

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 306, 315, 318

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