Juvenile Fancy Fair and Grand Fête

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Juvenile Fancy Fair and Grand Fête was the name given to two charity events organized by the Cape Town Institute and Club in the Cape Gardens in 1869.

The event

The first took place on 25 February 1869 and was held in support of the victims of the great fires in Uitenhage and Knysna.

The programme consisted of four hour long plays put on by what was billed as the "Royal Adelphi Theatre", featuring inter alia Mr Brazier, Mr Webster, Mr Paul and colleagues. Among the works presented were a musical melodrama called The Old Sapper, or The Ghost of the Powder Magazine, Ballet Pantomimes by a Corps du Ballet, dancing, singing and acting by "the world-renowned" Y.M.I. Christy's and a performance by the Ethiopian Serenaders. There were also a number of sporting events.

A second such Juvenile Fancy Fair and Grand Fête was organized by the Cape Town Institute and Club on 30 November, 1869, again with various theatrical and Christy companies appearing. The Miranda-Harper Opera Company and there were "velocipede races" held in the afternoon.

Such fêtes were apparently popular at the time, for example Mr Tilley of the Round House Hotel annually organized a "Fancy Fair and Fête on New Year's day (at least in 1868, where an unnamed company of Amateur Christy's and similarly unnamed "Dutch Theatrical Company" appeared.


F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 273-4

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