The Lyceum

Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Lyceum, was a theatre venue in Port Elizabeth for 6 years (1853-8).

Also referred to by some as the Lyceum Theatre and, seemingly even as the Lycean Theatre.

Not to be confused with the famous Lyceum Theatre in London, which had quite an influence in South Africa in the 19th century through visiting performers attached to that venue.

The name

There is some confusion about the name, for Jill Fletcher (citing J. Redgrave, 1947) has the name of the venue as The Lyceum. F.C.L. Bosman (1928. p.509) however quotes from an article in the Cape Monitor of 24 September, 1856, which refers to the theatre as the "Lycean Theatre".

The history

The venue was a wood and iron store in Staines Street which had been converted into a theatre in Port Elizabeth by the Port Elizabeth Dramatic Society. It opened on 10 September 1853 with She Stoops to Conquer and Did You Ever Send Your Wife to Camberwell?, and apparently served its purpose for a few years. The building was fitted out with the rudiments of a theatre. The company later changed its name to the Amateur Company. Scenes from Shakespeare and popular classics, including a few locally written works, were staged.

It was sold in 1858.

See also the Port Elizabeth Dramatic Society.


F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1]: pp. 421, 508-9

"Port Elizabeth Theatre", in the Cape Monitor, 10 September, 1853, 8 August, 1855 and 24 September 1856.

P.J. du Toit. 1988. Amateurtoneel in Suid-Afrika. Pretoria: Academica

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg: pp79-80, 85.

P.W. Laidler. 1926. The Annals of the Cape Stage. Edinburgh: William Bryce: p.

J.J. Redgrave. 1947. Port Elizabeth in Bygone Days. Wynberg: Rustica Press.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

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

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page