Woodstock Amateur Operatic Society

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The Woodstock Amateur Operatic Society was a Cape Town based society that specialised in Gilbert and Sullivan productions.

The society and venues

Founded and managed by Amos Bailey had as its base a school in the Cape Town suburb of Woodstock and used local amateurs in the late 19th century and early 20th.

The first three productions were done in a school room with a piano as accompaniment, after which a large hall , equipped with a proper stage, was built next to the school, where they could also make use of an orchestra. They would later also perform in the Cape Town Opera House.


The first production they did was The Pirates of Penzance, produced by Amos Bailey, conducted by C. Cock, with Miss J. Robb at the piano. The cast included Jessie Greenshields ("Mabel"), Frank Robb ("Major-General Stanley"), Amos Bailey ("The Pirate King"), A. Bennett ("Frederic"), and W. Robb ("Sergeant of Police").

Two more productions took place in the small venue (The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore), after which they moved to the newly built hall, where they put on The Yeomen of the Guard and Princess Ida with an orchestra conducted by Frank Robb.


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, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.423-4

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