Good Hope Theatre
The Good Hope Theatre is one of a number of names used for three related theatrical venues in the Good Hope Gardens, Cape Town in the late 19th and early 20th century. The history and relationship is not always clear from the sources
Also known as the Exhibition Theatre on occasion
The Goede Hoop Lodge
Also known as the Goede Hoop Masonic Lodge
Built in 1800 and utilized as a popular venue for concerts. Musical concerts were held at the Good Hope Lodge Gardens on Friday evenings during the summer.
Later in the 19th century it played an important part in theatrical activities, when the Exhibition Hall evolved from the Lodge and the Lodge built its own Exhibition Hall and Theatre towards end of 19th century.
The Good Hope Exhibition Hall and Theatre
The Exhibition Hall, Cape Town
Huge barn-like structure made from wood and corrugated iron, constructed in 1875 in the Good Hope Lodge Gardens. Also referred to as the Good Hope Exhibition Hall and Theatre Most performances were Italian operas performed by Signor Carli’s Opera Company, of which Carli was the impressario. Burnt down totally in 1892.
The Exhibition Theatre or Good Hope Theatre, Cape Town(1875-1892)
The full name was apparently the Good Hope Exhibition Hall and Theatre. Situated in the Good Hope Gardens, it evolved from the Exhibition Hall, and was at times used as a venue for opera and musical presentations and seems to have been referred to variously as the Good Hope Exhibition Hall and Theatre, the Good Hope Theatre, the Good Hope Hall or Goede Hoop Saal. Like the hall the theatre burnt down totally in 1892.
The Good Hope Theatre 1897-1910
Though also referred to as The Good Hope Hall or Goede Hoop Saal, it does not appear to be the same building, but is possibly a new (or adapted?) structure custom built in the late 1800s and used to a great extent by the Wheeler Company where it experienced great successes with its musical comedies. One of earliest performances was Charley’s Aunt (Thomas) by the Hawtrey Comedy Company under Wheeler Company management.
Though the theatre had lost its flair by 1906 and seems to have closed as a professional venue by the end of that year, it appears to have continued as an occasional amateur venue. For example by Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst did a production of Het Geheim there in 1910.
Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg: p. 117
P.W. Laidler. 1926. The Annals of the Cape Stage. Edinburgh: William Bryce: p. 89
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