President Theatre

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Situated on the western side of Church Square, next to the Nederlandsche Bank.

The Alhambra Hall, Pretoria

(1889?-1903) In the late 1880s (?)Reck's Lokal, a the tavern of (Friederick?) Karl Reck’s South African Hotel and Tavern on the western side of Church Square was converted to a theatre with room for an audience of 350 and “well adapted for dramatic entertainment, concerts and balls”. The tavern had been the place where the original Geselliger Verein von Deutschen in Pretoria was founded. This later became the Deutscher Verein. Binge (1969) claims it was initially called The Alhambra Theatre

The President Theatre, Pretoria

Also referred to in Afrikaans as the President Teater.

At some stage Reck renamed the Alhambra the President Theatre and for a while it was the only theatre in the city, and operas and operettas were produced there by the Verdi Opera Company, which ran for packed seasons of six months.

The Dutch amateur group Oefening Baart Kunst ("Practice produces Art") and the Rederykerskamer Onze Taal ("Our language", led by Dirk Balfoort) also used the theatre for their productions, between 1891-1899.

The Empress Theatre, Pretoria

The President Theatre was renamed the Empress Theatre by owner Karl Reck in 1903. **In 1903 part of the hotel made way for the Nederlandsche Bank, while Reck added a skating rink to his entertainment complex and renamed the theatre the Empress Theatre.** On Friederick Reck’s death his son, Marcus Karl Reck took over the management of the hotel and theatre complex.

His Majesty's Theatre, Pretoria

In 1901, on the death of Queen Victoria, the theatre was again renamed, now becoming His Majesty’s Theatre.

The Capitol Theatre, Pretoria

In 1918, on the death of Karl Reck, became the property of African Consolidated Theatres, who converted it into the Capitol Theatre. **** ???


Based in part on reminiscencs of Mrs Iris Reck, daughter-in-law of Karl Reck – 15/4/2001, and documents she sent the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies. Also see Binge (1969)

For more information

See also the Capitol Theatre, Pretoria

Return to

Return to South African Theatre Venues, Companies, Societies, etc

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page