Mr Holt

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The name Holt or Mr Holt appears in three guises in the 19th century, two of them known as Frank Holt.

Singer and performer Mr Holt

A soldier and singer simply listed as Mr Holt is mentioned in connection with the Lanarkshire Dramatic Club (1868 and 1869) by F.C.L. Bosman (1980:p.263). He was most probably the same person as the bandleader Frank Holt, mentioned below.

Band leader Frank Holt (or Mr Holt, 18**-1888)


He was the leader of the Music Corps of the garrison in Cape Town, and also had his own orchestra referred to as Holt's Brass Band (or Holt's Band), a popular orchestra in Cape Town in the period. A relatively well-known composer as well, his locally written works including the Constitution Polka (for the introduction of responsible colonial government for the Cape in 1854) and the Darling Scottische (1858, in honour of Governor Darling).

He died in Cape Town in September, 1888.

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

He was frequently involved in Cape Town entertainments, for example participating as band-leader in the productions put on by Sefton Parry, including the gala opening of the Harrington Street Theatre on 14 September, 1857.

Performer and teacher Frank Holt (or Mr Holt, 18**-1920s)

He seems to have arrived in South Africa in 1897, as a prominent member of the first D'Oyly Carte Company to visit the country, as well as the second (in 1902-3). When the latter company returned to the UK he remained behind to pursue a career as teacher of singing and elocution in Cape Town.

According to D.C. Boonzaier (1923), he was still active in the city the 1920s.


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, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.56-7, 405,

William Groom. 1899-1900. Drama in Cape Town. Cape Illustrated Magazine, 10(4): 478-481, 517-520, 547-552, 580-584, 640-643, 670-672, 706-708.

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