Puppeteer and leader of a semi-professional English acting-troupe active in the Cape. In 1837 he impressed Cape Town audiences with his huge, life-size Automaton figures. It “worked automatically through wires, ropes, steam” or someone inside the huge puppets. It was the first recorded puppet display in Cape Town. Shows included Polander (5 December 1837), The Enchanted Turk, Children in the Wood and Trip to Brentford. In 1838 the company took their show to Stellenbosch, Worcester, Swellendam, George and Uitenhage, in 1839 they were in Grahamstown. By 1848 Automata was back in Cape Town but their run ended there. In that year Parker leased the Drury Lane Theatre for one season as manager, intending to present the New English Theatrical Company in a season of light dramas and operas. However, they only performed Luke the Labourer in January 1849 before harsh critique by Sam Sly caused the company to close down. In 1850 they performed at the Victoria Theatre (Hope Street Theatre) and the year after they were back at Drury Lane, after which they seemed to disappear from the scene.
See Bosman, 1928; Du Toit, 1988; Fletcher, 1994 [TH, JH]
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