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25 November 1839 Royal Victoria Theatre

25 November 1839    Royal Victoria Theatre

On 25 November 1839 the ‘new’ Royal Victoria Theatre was re-opened. The announcement in the daily papers on 16 November stated:

     Mr Cameron has the honour of announcing to the ladies, gentlemen and public of Adelaide and vicinity that at considerable expense he has fitted up an appropriate theatre in North-terrace, and it is hoped the arrangement will secure he patronage and support which in catering for their amusement it will be his study to merit. The theatre will consist of one tier of private boxes and a commodious pit and will open on Monday evening, November 25 ...

Cameron, a Scotsman, built Adelaide’s first theatre on North Terrace just west of Morphett Street and according to James Hawker it

     Had no claim to beauty. It was constructed of stringybark timber and broad palings, the interstices between each affording the most perfect ventilation ... The seats in the pit were formed of planks nailed on uprights which occasionally collapsed through members of the audience dancing jigs on top of them in the interludes between acts. The ‘dress circle’ had benches for seats, and there was a rail in front to prevent occupants from tumbling into the pit, which was about 5 ft below.

Although the new theatre building was an improvement on the original, the acting, wrote Hawker, ‘was simply awful’.

James Hawker, Early Experiences in South Australia, Original Published 1899, Facsimile edition 1975, pp.16, 54.

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