Shuter Bland

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Shuter Bland (fl. 1860s) was a British actor, stage manager and theatre manager.

There seems to a great deal of confusion about Bland's first name, for - besides "Shuter" he is also listed as W. Bland by The Era and Wikipedia, and - for some strange reason - he is listed as C. Bland in the Index to F.C.L. Bosman (1980), though referred to as Mr Bland or Shuter Bland in the text.


Shuter Bland seems to have been a well-known British actor, stage manager and later theatre manager. For example both Mr Bland and Mrs Bland are mentioned in a silk programme from the Theatre, Hereford (held by the Victoria and Albert Museum , London). It is for a production of The Lady of Lyons and The Railway Station! and mentions Bland himself served as an Acting Manager and actor, and his wife as actress.[1]

In Parry's announcement of his new company on its arrival in Cape Town, both Shuter Bland and Mrs Bland are described as being "from the Theatres of Bath, Bristol and Newcastle".

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

According to a letter dated 22 May 1861 (published in the The Era of 30 June, 1861), a "Mr & Mrs W. Bland & Louisa Bland", set sail from Bristol on the barque Chevy Chase, bound for Cape Town, as part of a contingent of performers, arriving on 7 May. However, in the announcement for the opening of the newly renovated Theatre Royal in Cape Town, published in the Cape Argus of 1861, the names are given as Mr Shuter Bland, Mrs Shuter Bland and Miss Louisa Bland.

The Blands were all members of Sefton Parry's first full professional company in 1861-1862, Shuter Bland himself largely in the capacity of the stage manager, a job which he is said to have done most competently, Shuter Bland, a well known British stage manager, was part of the Sefton Parry company from 1861 to 1862 and said to have participated in 50 productions between May and November of 1861 alone. He accompanied them for a three-month tour to Port Elizabeth in 1862 as well, before returning to Cape Town, and thence back to England. (For information on the plays performed, see Sefton Parry)

As an actor he is specifically mentioned as playing "Friday" in the pantomime of Robinson Crusoe, or The King of the Caribbee Islands

In addition to his work for Parry, he also gave lectures for the Mechanic's Institute (among them one on Theodore Hook's play Trial by Jury on 11 May 1861 and another on 1 May 1862 on the "Origin of Lawyers and Courts of Justice").

At the end of the first Parry season, on 14 November 1861, the company did a special benefit performance for him, with performances of The Momentous Question (Fitzball) and Dominique the Deserter, or The Gentleman in Black (Murray), with a dance by Miss Powell and a performance by the band of the Cape Royal Rifles.

Another benefit, this time a farewell one for both Mr and Mrs Bland, was held on 11 April, 1862, with performances of All is not Gold that Glitters (Chettle and Rowley) and The Omnibus, or A Convenient Distance (Anon.)


F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 96, 100, 102, 108-113.

William Groom. 1899-1900. Drama in Cape Town. Cape Illustrated Magazine, 10(4): 478-481, 517-520, 547-552, 580-584, 640-643, 670-672, 706-708.

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