W.G. Groom

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W.G. Groom (18**-18**) was an apothecary, theatre lover, amateur actor, director and historian.

Also referred to as William Groom or W. Groom in some sources.


He arrived in Cape Town in 1843, and is listed as a registered apothecary in the Government Gazette of June 1870 (registration: August 1863).

Contribution to South African theatre and performance

He loved theatre and saw many plays, recording his impressions over the years and publishing them, inter alia in the Cape Mercantile Advertiser (circa 1858-9) and more comprehensively the Cape Illustrated Magazine of 1897-1899. These writings are an important resource on 19th century theatre in the Cape.

He found himself drawn into working in the theatre as well, helping out on technical matters for Captain Hall's Company in 1850 (contriving a bomb to go off on stage in play about Frederick the Great), and in 1857 he is mentioned as a member of the Cape Town Dramatic Club and working for Sefton Parry, first helping to build sets, later even performing.


F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1]: pp. 122, 400,

"List of Apothecaries, chemists and druggists in the Cape Colony", Rootsweb[2]

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

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