Theatre in Paarl

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Some provisional notes

The Paarl Union Debating Society

The Paarl Union Debating Society performed a variety of plays from 1882 onwards.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the "blaasorkes" (brass band) was very popular.

Paarl Music and Drama Association

In 1913 the Paarl Music Association was founded and in 1940 it joined with the Choir Association to form the Paarl Music and Drama Association. They initially apparently performed in the Town Hall, but this was found to be unsuitable, and not really equipped for doing plays. So eventually this aspect of the PMDA association disappeared.

The Paarl Theatre Club

First period: 1954-1961

The Paarl Theatre Club was officially founded in 1951 under the management of Mr De Wet Laubscher (Oom Laubie), Their main goal was to perform and promote acting and plays in Paarl.

Initially they struggled to find a sufficiently well-appointed space to use for theatre, but in 1954 they managed to procure a barn in Pastorielaan, belonging to Mr Podlashuk, to use as their home theatre. They called it the Skuurteater (Afrikaans for "Barn Theatre") - a space they used till 1961.

Numerous plays were performed there in the period, and among the many people involved with the club were Miriam Bloom and Joey de Koker.

Due to a number of circumstances, the club lost the use of the barn in 1961 and as result of this, as well as the withdrawal of a number of influential people, the Skuurteater had to close and interest in the society itself dwindled to such an extent that the club was dissolved and all the equipment owned by the club was placed in the hands of three appointed trustees.

Second period: 1967-200*

In 1969 the club was re-started by a new group, Pearl Retief, Brian Higgo-Holm and Owen Maunder. They now used the National Hall in Fabriek Street, before obtaining the use of the old mill building in Meul Street, which they fitted up and opened as the iconic Ou Meulteater or Old Mill Theatre in 1971.

The new Paarl Theatre Club was responsible for the direct management and marketing of productions offered from 1971 up till 200*, when the theatre became a private enterprise, a rentable performance venue for the use of amateur, professional and semi-professional companies.

The spelling of the theatre's name was also changed to Oumeulteater on their website.


Nic de Jager Dié Paarlse Dogter was geen 'shrinking violet', Die Burger 3 July 2014: p16.

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