Cape curtains : a study of selected Cape Town theatres, 1843-1916

Neethling, Miemie (2002)

Thesis (MDram)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aims to reconstruct the history of the Capetonian theatrical venue of the second half of the 19th century. It explores the many different venues used for theatrical activities. Venues discussed include amateur theatres such as the Hope Street Theatre, Roeland Street Theatre, Haupt's Theatre and the Drury Lane Theatre. Due to the extensive research already done on the African Theatre on Riebeeck Square and the Garrison Theatre they are only briefly mentioned as part of the background to the social dynamics of Victorian Cape Town. Quite often venues such as banqueting halls, drawing-rooms and wine stores doubled as theatrical venues. Halls discussed include the Oddfellows Hall, the Mutual Hall and the Drill Hall. Although the main objective of the study was the theatrical venue, it is impossible not to mention the different drama companies that occupied these venues. Therefore, the activities of the drama companies were also discussed to a certain extent, because of the strong interrelationship between company and theatre house. These include, among others, the companies of Sefton Parry and Disney Roebuck. For the purpose of this study the theatrical venue has been defined as an indoors space, which is divided into two clearly demarcated areas, namely the stage and the auditorium. Because of this definition the early African theatrical activities are not included in this study and it deals rather with the Western theatre tradition, namely that of the early Dutch and English artists. The study deals primarily with the dominant English theatre post-1850 and the shift from amateur to professional theatricals. Professional theatres include the Theatre Royals of Harrington Street and Burg Street, the Exhibition Theatre and the Good Hope Theatre. At the end of the thesis parallels are drawn between the 19th and 20th century theatre houses such as the Opera House and the Tivoli Theatre. Another issue addressed by the study is the quest for a permanent theatrical venue or building in the early Cape theatre tradition.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die studie poog om die geskiedenis van die Kaapse teaters te herstruktureer. Dit ondersoek die verskillende plekke en geboue wat vir teater aktiwiteite gebruik is gedurende die tweede helfte van die 19de eeu. Amateur teaters wat bespreek word is onder andere, die Hoopstraat Teater, die Roelandstraat Teater, Haupt se Teater en die Drury Lane Teater. Die Afrika Teater op Riebeeck Plein en die Garnisoen Teater vorm nie deel van hierdie studie nie, aangesien daar alreeds heelwat oor hierdie twee teaters geskryf is. Daar word slegs kortliks in die Inleiding na hulle verwys in die agtergrond tot Kaapstad gedurende die Victoriaanse tydperk. Dramas is nie net in formele teaters aangebied nie, maar ook in verskeie informele plekke soos banketsale en dies meer. Sale wat gebruik is vir sulke doeleindes was onder meer die Oddfellows Saal en die Mutual Saal. Alhoewel die hoof oogmerk van die studie die vermaaklikheidsplek (theatrical venue) is, sou dit onvoldoende wees om nie die verskillende drama geselskappe te noem wat in hierdie plekke opgetree het nie. Daarom is die aktiwiteite van die geselskappe ook bespreek na gelang van hul betrokkenheid by spesifieke teaters, onder andere die van Sefton Parry, James Lycett en Disney Roebuck. Die vermaaklikheidsplek word vir die doeleindes van hierdie studie gedefinieer as 'n binnehuise spasie wat verdeel word in twee duidelik afgebakende areas, naamlik die speelarea en die ouditorium. Die definisie hou egter sekere beperkinge in: Dit sluit die vroee inheemse Afrika teater aktiwiteite uit. Gevolglik word die vroee Westerse teater tradisie van die Hollanders en die Engelse bespreek. Die studie fokus hoofsaaklik op die meer dominante Engelse teater gedurende die tweede helfte van die 19de eeu, en die oorskakeling van amateur na professionele drama. Professionele teaters wat bespreek word is die Theatre Royals (Harrington Straat en Burg Straat), die Exhibition Teater en die Goeie Hoop Teater. Aan die einde van die tesis word daar 'n vergelyking getref tussen die 19de en 20ste eeuse teaters, soos byvoorbeeld die Operahuis (1893) en die Tivoli Teater (1903). Nog 'n aspek wat aangespreek word is die soeke na 'n permanente teatergebou binne die vroee Kaapse teater tradisie.

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