Port Elizabeth Boating Company

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Founding and early history

On November 28, 1861, a "theatre" opened in the store of the Port Elizabeth Boating Company in Commerce Street and was used for a presentation by the first professional company to visit Port Elizabeth. The company was that of Sefton Parry and the actors got to work immediately after arriving on the steamer, Sir George Grey. Their season consisted of 12 different performances, one each night. The first show was Henry Thornton Craven’s The Post Boy a two-act act drama which was advertised as “now playing in London”. This was followed by “the celebrated farce” in one-act by Charles Selby, The Bonnie Fish Wife. A family ticket for four people cost £10/10/0. Funds were collected for the New Theatre.

Impact on SA theatre

These productions suddenly created great interest in theatre and the populace recognised the need for a proper theatre.

SEE ALSO: Sefton Parry and Company


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