Sutton Vane

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Sutton Vane is the stage name used by two actor/playwrights, father and son. The elder Sutton Vane spent some time in South Africa as an assistant to and biographer of Disney Roebuck.

Sutton Vane Snr

Sutton Vane Snr (active in South Africa 1870s-1880s) was a British actor, playwright, stage and theatre manager, biographer.

Also known by the pseudonym Vane Bennett.


Sutton Vane Sr. wrote a number of plays including The Cotton King and The Span of Life, (some of his plays were filmed in the beginning years of the twentieth century). He apparently also adapted a number of novels, notably three by Wilkie Collins (The Woman in White, The New Magdalen and The Frozen Deep (under the title Adrift).

Brought out to South Africa in 1875 by Disney Roebuck. He seems to have worked for Roebuck in a variety of capacities till the latter's death in 1885. Among his performances were two character sketches, Christopher Colly-wobble and The Old Cane Chair, presented as afterpieces to Trip to the Rhine in the Athenaeum Hall, Cape Town, on 16 August, 1878.

In 1885 he published a biography of Disney Roebuck

He thereafter returned to Britain to continue his career.

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

In 1875 he became stage manager for the revamped Oddfellows Hall, which Roebuck now dubbed the Bijou Theatre, working on some 140 plays there in the first season.

He performed in plays such as Our Carpet Bag and Handy Andy (on 8 Augsut, 1878, with the Colonial Amateur Minstrels,

A number of his adaptations were done by the company in this period, including Adrift and The New Magdalen.

He also became Roebuck's biographer, under the pseudonym Vane Bennett, writing a Biographical and Memorial Sketch of Francis Algernon Disney Roebuck, Late Capt. 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers (1885).


F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 316-384

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg: p.

Go to the ESAT Bibliography

Sutton Vane Jr (1888–1963)

His name also appears as Vane Hunt Sutton-Vane, V.H. Sutton Vane or V.H. Sutton-Vane

Born in England in 1888, apparently the son of an author and playwright Sutton Vane snr, and also became an actor, playwright and producer.

He is perhaps best known for the play Outward Bound (1923).

For the life and work of Sutton Vane Jr, see for example the entry in Wikipedia[1].

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