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, including The Lyceum, but was temporarily dissolved in 1858.

Fletcher then adds (pp.93-4) that some members of what she refers to as a re-constituted Dramatic Club reappeared in 1862. It is uncertain whether this is a reference to the defunct Port Elizabeth Dramatic Society or another society. According to her some members joined forces in 1862 and raised enough money to build an 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 also known as the Theatre Royal or The Barn, Barn Theatre or The Old Barn), and in fact constructed by the Port Elizabeth Dramatic Company, not a "Dramatic Club".

However, on September 23, 1867, there is once more a reference to a Dramatic Club, one which had apparently become very active at this time, that 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 said to have been done "at considerable expense in dresses and general mounting".


Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg: pp. 79-81; 93-4.

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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