"Marine theatre]]" ("Marinetoneel" in Afrikaans) is a general term used by F.C.L. Bosman 1980) to refer to various kinds of amateur theatre and other performances specifically undertaken by officers and by sailors (both on board ship and on land), especially in the 19th century.
Examples from South Africa
1608: According to Jill Fletcher (quoting Keeling and Bonner) the first production of a European play in Southern Africa was when (scenes from) Hamlet were when Captain William Keeling had it performed on board his British East India Company's ship the Red Dragon off the coast of Southern Africa in 1608, on his way to the Cape. "I invited Captain Hawkins to a fishe (sic) dinner, and had Hamlet acted abord (sic) me, which I permit to keep my people from idleness and unlawful games, or sleepe (sic). Later, in a calm spell between Sierra Leone and the Cape, the crew acted Richard II, and there was a repeat performance of Hamlet off the east coast of southern Africa." Generally cited as the very first performance of a European play on record was a shipboard performance of Hamlet on the , off the coast**
Other presentations noted include:
1865: Charity performances of The Dream at Sea and Cool as a Cucumber were performed in aid of victims of the great storm of May, by the amateurs of H.M.S. Valorous in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 1 and 2 June - playing to sellout houses.
1869-1872: The amateurs of the H.M.S. Rattlesnake apparently performed a number of times, playing inter alia in the Oddfellows Hall, Cape Town, on 7 October 1869 in aid of the "Sailor's Home" and in the Dockyard Theatre, Simonstown, in July 1872.
See also Garrison Theatre