Dramatic Club

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The Dramatic Club, Grahamstown

Amateur dramatic society founded in 1864. (See Du Toit, 1988) [JH]

The Dramatic Club, King William’s Town

Founded in 1862, performed at the Prince Alfred Theatre. They resented the rival military performers (Garrison Players), accusing them of “puffing” (and being called “muffs” in retaliation). (Fletcher, 1994) [TH]

The Dramatic Club, Port Elizabeth

According to Jill Fletcher (1994, pp.79-81) a Port Elizabeth Dramatic Society was formed in the early 1840s, most probably performing in various found venues. They apparently then fitted up a wood and iron store and called it The Lyceum. This opened on 10 September 1853 with amateur productions of She Stoops to Conquer (Goldsmith) and Did You Ever Send Your Wife to Camberwell? (Coyne), and would host a production of Henry IV in October of the same year, the cast including a certain Mr Pearson.

The Lyceum was sold in 1858 and the Port Elizabeth Dramatic Society temporarily dissolved.

Fletcher then adds (pp.93-4) that some members of a re-constituted Dramatic Club joined forces in 1862 and raised enough money to build its own new theatre in White’s Road, one Fletcher now refers to as the White's Road Theatre. However according to Margaret Harradine (1994) this is actually a reference to a venue called the New Theatre, situated in Whites Road, and apparently constructed by the Port Elizabeth Dramatic Company, not the Dramatic Club.

The theatre was initially leased to Sefton Parry for a period of three months and opened with a performance of Grist to the Mill (Planche) on 2 June 1862.

On September 23, 1867, the Dramatic Club, which was very active at this time, performed a play called The Treasure at the Woody Cape, or The Days of Ryk van Tulbach, written by the local postmaster and playwright Alexander Wilmot. This was done "at considerable expense in dresses and general mounting".


Margaret Harradine. 1994. Port Elizabeth: A Social Chronicle to the End of 1945. Port Elizabeth: E.H. Walton Packaging (Pty) Ltd.

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