Miss Berenger

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Miss Berenger (fl 1840s-70s) was an actress

On at least one occasion also referred to as "Miss Berranjé" (by Senator R.W. Murray in his South African Reminiscences, published in Cape Town in 1894).

Not to be confused with Esme Beringer (1875–1972)[1], an English actress who was noted for her fencing skills, nor Mrs. Oscar Beringer (Aimée Daniell Beringer, 1856–1936)[2], the American playwright.


In the 1870s she was a member of Disney Roebuck's theatrical company.

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

She came to South Africa in May, 1874, joining Roebuck's company as a leading actress in Port Elizabeth - apparently as a replacement for the popular Fanny Enson, with whom Roebuck was having difficulties.

From there she went to Cape Town with the company to perform for Roebuck in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town in 1875, building a fine reputation there, being both popularly acclaimed and highly regarded by local critics for her industry, artistry and application. She was especially lauded for her emotional roles, playing many leading female roles, notably so in the company's production of the popular East Lynne (with Roebuck himself as the male lead). Other instances specifically mentioned include the lead in Leah, or The Forsaken (Mosenthal), "Lady Teazle" in The School for Scandal (Sheridan), "Mrs Sternbold" in Still Waters Run Deep (Taylor), the good daughter in Henry Dunbar (Taylor), "Marie de Fontanges" in Plot and Passion (Taylor and Lang) and "Mrs Malaprop" in The Rivals (Sheridan).

She was apparently also adept at dramatic readings, and is mentioned as giving renderings of various poems as interludes between the plays in 1875 season. Among them are Tennyson's poems The May Queen (on 25 June) and The Charge of the Light Brigade (26 June and 14 September).

On 12 August she was given a farewell benefit by the company, consisting of The Palace of Truth (Gilbert) and Nursey Chickweed (Williams). However, she most probably only left on 15 September, and is still mentioned as part of the company on 4 September (doing a reading in a benefit for Sutton Vane) and giving a "farewell address" and another reading of The Charge of the Light Brigade on 14 September - undoubtedly along with her performance in the accompanying play, Plot and Passion.



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 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 205, 317, 320-337, 350

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