The Gipsy Revellers

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The Gipsy Revellers (or The Gypsy Revellers) was a late 19th century concert group that, dressed in 18th century "Neapolitan gypsy" costumes and would perform "Gypsy" music and dances, accompanied by a violin, cello, mandolin and guitar.

A performance troupe founded by the husband and wife team of Liebe Baylis and Newton Baylis in 1889, the company enjoyed some fashionable success in London for a while. The core members of the company, which ranged from six to twenty at various times, came from the Baylis family.

In 1891, the Baylis family emigrated to South Africa when "The Gipsy Revellers" were offered a long-term contract to tour and perform there. They appeared in various venues, including the Vaudeville Theatre, Cape Town, under the auspices of the Wheeler Theatre Company. The latter production is remembered by the Cape Town critic D.C. Boonzaier as "gigantic failure" (cited in Bosman, 1980: p.391). While Lillian returned to England (to become a well-known theatrical producer and manager, inter alia managing the Old Vic and Sadler's Wells theatres in London), the rest of the family remained in South Africa.


George Rowell. 1993. The Old Vic Theatre: A History. Cambridge University Press: pp.79 ff.

Elizabeth Schafer. 2006. Lilian Baylis: A Biography. University of Hertfordshire Press: pp. 21ff.

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.391

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