Olga Racster

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Olga Racster (??*‑ 1955) Novelist, playwright, arts historian and journalist specializing in literary and musical criticism. Full names Olga Elizabeth. Copyright to books held in the name of Olga Elizabeth de Wagstaffe. Also known as the Baroness de Wagstaffe and used the pseudonym of Treble Violl as journalist.


Born in Russia to a father who had an estate on the Volga during the days of the Romanoff autocracy. She studied the violin in Brussels and Paris, toured America and England, and then turned to journalism in London, specializing in music criticism. Came to South Africa from London in 1910 for her health, and became the dramatic and music critic for The Cape Times under the nom de plume Treble Violl. Later moved to Johannesburg to review films for The Rand Daily Mail.

Besides having been a contributor to Grove’s Dictionary of Music, her historical and biographical work includes Sylphide: The Story of a Great Ballerina (1947), a study entitled Dr James Barry: Her Secret Story (1932), Curtain Up! The Story of Cape Theatre] (Cape Town: Juta and Company, 1951) and the article on the Performing Arts in South Africa in the Department of Information’s South African Yearbook [**?].(Swan Press, 19**-19**).

As the Baroness de Wagstaffe she was one of the London Directors of the Mah Jongg society. She and Jessica Grove also helped restore the grave of Dr James Barry in Kensall Green, London.

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

She wrote Curtain Up! The Story of Cape Theatre (Cape Town: Juta and Company, 1951).

Besides two novels (The Phases of Felicity, 1916, with Jessica Grove; and The Heavenly Maid, 1928), her creative work includes two one-act plays written in collaboration with Jessica Grove (War, published by the Cape Times Limited in 1914, and From German West, 1916). She also wrote two other plays - a biographical play called Dr James Barry and a cockney comedy entitled Poor 'em, both of which were produced abroad.


Gosher, 1988.

Lewis Sowden, 1964.

Merrington, 2009


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