This is sometimes written Open Air theatre
- 1 Open-air theatre as concept
- 2 Open-air theatres in South Africa
- 2.1 Happy Valley Open-air Theatre, Humewood, Port Elizabeth.
- 2.2 Amphitheatres
- 2.3 The Happy Valley Amphitheatre, Humewood, Port Elizabeth
- 2.4 King's Beach Amphitheatre - Humewood, Port Elizabeth.
- 2.5 Arenas
- 2.6 Found-space theatre
- 2.7 Stadiums
- 2.8 St George's Park Swimming Pool.
- 2.9 Street theatre
- 2.10 Theatres in the park
- 2.11 Sources
- 2.12 For more information
- 2.13 Return to
Open-air theatre as concept
A modern stadium (plural stadiums or stadia) is a place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event. This may at times be used for festivals, pageants and other large scale theatrical events. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stadium)
Open-air theatres in South Africa
Happy Valley Open-air Theatre, Humewood, Port Elizabeth.
Before the construction of the open-air theatres, bands, such as the band of Prince Alfred's Guard would entertain beach-goers, first loosely seated with spectators sitting around in an informal manner and then with the band seated in an enclosure surrounded by a low fence.
An open-air theatre was later constructed in Happy Valley.
The theatre, built in 1938, was known as Happy Valley Theatre, and consisted of a raised covered stage with chairs arranged on the grass.
On January 6, 1938, Jock Duff and his Vaudevillians started their nightly run at the Happy Valley Theatre. In the event of bad weather, the show was moved to the nearby Humewood Cafe which had a restaurant/theatre inside. The venue was also known as the Dolorico Cafe during the Second World War years. In the 1960s the venue was known as the Palm Grove. The building was demolished after the 1968 flood.
The Happy Valley Amphitheatre, Humewood, Port Elizabeth
In February 1971, the Happy Valley Amphitheatre opened with the newly formed Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival's production of The Merchant of Venice. Produced by and starring Leslie French as Shylock, it was staged to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Republic of South Africa.
Starring: Reg Hicks (The Duke of Venice), Wilhelm van der Nest (The Prince of Morocco), Rocky Mann and Paul Mann (Attendants to the Prince of Morocco), Derek Scarr (Prince of Arragon), Philip Jackson (Antonio), Jeremy Baylis (Bassanio), Philip Godawa (Solanio), Roy Williams (Gratiano), Neil Graer (Salarino), Trevor Hicks (Lorenzo), Leslie French (Shylock), Avery Dorward (Tubal), Bruce Sanderson (Launcelot Gobbo), Alfred Porter (Old Gobbo), Michael Bateson (Leonardo), Ronald Hicks (Balthasar), Dawson Whitehead (Stephano), Helen Mann (Portia), Helen St C Wilkins (Nerissia), Margaret Gillmore (Jessica).
Lords, Ladies, Servants and other Attendants: Michael Bateson, Dawson Whitehead, Lenel van den Berg, Ronald Hicks, Dennis Slattery, Colleen Channon, Maeve o'Regan, Yvonne Howell, Claudine Johnson, Sue Donald and Maureen Huber.
Elaine Bateson (Assistant to Producer), John Shelton (Technical Consultant), Waldie Bartie (Stage Manager), Yvonne Howell (Choreography), Edith Porter (Wardrobe), Evelyn Barnes (Makeup), Billy Fletcher (Lighting), Helen Wilkens (Production Secretary), Leslie French (Costumes and Settings).
The Happy Valley Amphitheatre was only used for one production as it was found the damp sea air and wind made conditions very unpleasant.
In 1972 the Shakespearean Festival was given a new venue in St George's Park which was named Mannville after Bruce and Helen Mann. The first production staged there was A Midsummer Night's Dream produced by Leslie French.
King's Beach Amphitheatre - Humewood, Port Elizabeth.
This entertainment complex was built in the 1960s and consisted of the amphitheatre with a raised stage, kiddies paddling pool, a miniature train, ablution facilities, change rooms and a cafe. The sea air took its toll on the buildings and the complex was eventually demolished in ????.
The stage was used for many free functions, especially during the festive season, and also for the Miss Port Elizabeth competition.
St George's Park Swimming Pool.
In 1938 Taubie Kushlick produced William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream on and around the swimming pool. Oberon and his court made merry with the revels of Puck and the Fairies. The Mechanicals played their music on a raft floating on the water and fears were expressed that it would capsize, but fortunately, this never happened.
Theatres in the park
Mannville Open-air Theatre
Founded in 1971 in St George's Park, Port Elizabeth.
Maynardville Open-air Theatre
Founded in 1950 in Maynardville Park, Wynberg, Cape Town.
The Open Air Theatre, Durban
Open Air Theatre Durban Botanic Gardens Durban, 02 South Africa
Oude Libertas Theatre, Stellenbosch
Pieter Scholtz Open Air Theatre, Durban
For more information
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