King William's Town Theatre

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The King William's Town Theatre (or Kingwilliamstown Theatre or King Williamstown Theatre in some sources) seems to be the name given to two or more venues in the Eastern Cape Town of King William's Town[].

References a performance space of this name occurs over the years, particularly in the mid 19th century, probably done by members of the garrisons stationed there, local amateurs and touring theatre companies.

Please note there are two other variant spellings for the name of the town, i.e. Kingwilliamstown and King Williamstown found in some sources.

Early history

It seems that the first such venue mentioned (in the late 1850s early 1860s) may have been a small and temporary space, built or fitted up for theatrical performances.

For example F.C.L. Bosman (1980, pp 182 ff.) mentions performances by the King William's Town Dramatic Club in 23 and 24 May, 1861, and by Sefton Parry in 1862, though not providing much detail.

The new structure

In 1896, the same year Mark Twain performed his At Home there (June 1896), a new venue also referred to as King William's Town Theatre was opened in the town. However this may in fact simply be a reference to the Town Hall in King William's Town (King William’s Town Town Hall, built in 1869) or the Victoria Drill Hall (erected 1889).

The King William's Town Theatre was most probably used by the King William’s Town Amateur Musical and Dramatic Society for its productions over the years.

See also the King William’s Town Town Hall and the Victoria Drill Hall.



Ludwig Wilhelm Berthold Binge. 1969. Ontwikkeling van die Afrikaanse toneel (1832-1950). Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "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, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1]: pp.

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

P.J. du Toit, 1988. Amateurtoneel in Suid-Afrika. Pretoria: Academica

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg.

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