Virginia Jubilee Singers

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Virginia Jubilee Singers was an influential jubilee and minstrelsy group who visited South Africa in the 1890s under leadership of impresario Orpheus McAdoo.

The group was also known or referred to as the Virginia Concert Company, the Virginia Jubilee Concert Company, The Jubilee Singers or McAdoo’s Vaudeville Company.

Their first South African began in Scotland where Orpheus McAdoo met Lady Loch, the wife of the then British Governor of the Cape, who invited them to Cape Town.

They became an unlikely overnight sensation in the Cape and are credited by some with shaping the performance style adopted by Cape Coon Carnival tradition in later years. They also visited Port Elizabeth during their tours, where it is reported that the “clever company of minstrels and variety artistes” from McAdoo’s Vaudeville Company gave a performance at the Port Elizabeth Opera House on January 11, 1898, for example.

In 2014 David Kramer wrote a musical based on this incident called Orpheus in Africa. It was first produced by Eric Abraham and the Fugard Theatre in January 2015. (See Orpheus in Africa for information on the play)


Erlmann, 1991*

The Fugard Theatre Newsletter (, Thursday 9 October 2014.

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