Wash Norton

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Wash Norton (fl 1860s) was an American singer, dancer and actor.

Also known as Mr Norton

Biography

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

A member of the "original" Christy Minstrels that visited South Africa in 1862. He was apparently an accomplished actor and one of two members who performed in blackface, "delineating a nigger characters" or performing in Ethiopian skits. He is also credited as the co-creator (with Joe Brown) of the Ethiopian skit Nervous Cures.

He also seems to have been a leading member of the troupe when they visited South Africa in 1862 and would later have his own troupe, known as (Wash) Norton's Christy Minstrels in 1865, as well as joining forces with Carl Steele to perform with their professional troupe known as Steele and Norton's Christy's Minstrels (or Steele & Norton's Christy's), active in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth in the years 1868-1869.

The original company's successful appearances, and the subsequent spin-offs, had a huge impact on popular entertainment in Cape Town and the country during the 19th century.

Sources

Sydney Morning Herald, 5 May, 1863[1]

The Australian Circus History Society Website[2]

W.J. Mahar. 1999. Behind the Burnt Cork Mask: Early Blackface Minstrelsy and Antebellum American Popular Culture. Volume 442 of Music in American life. University of Illinois Press, 1999

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 139-140, 250, 257, 291, 299. .

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