Early Theatre Life in Adelaide, South Australia 1836-1856

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Media: BOOK - paperback, 186 pages
Author: I. Sellick
Year: 2022
ISBN: 9780646860541
Other: 2nd ed., b&w & colour photos, indexes
Publisher: Ian Sellick

The author of this book has been able to not only write a concise history of Adelaide’s early theatres but has combined this history with the story of all the vagaries of life endured by the early colonists who had arrived in this somewhat hostile country from the comfort and safety of Mother England. The stories of the establishment of the Theatres and all their characters is interesting enough in itself but being able to interweave it with all the variations of daily life in a new colony makes for a most interesting read.

The History of the Theatres from 1836 till 1856 is full of details on their locations and construction along with a vast amount of information on the careers and movements of the owners and actors including many accounts of some most interesting and unusual incidents that had occurred during their lives.

One of the most unusual stories relates to a group of Serenaders that arrived in Adelaide under the title of Totten's Ethiopian Harmoneums and who after a successful season left aboard a ship bound for Mauritius in 1854 and became involved in a most unusual voyage at the hands of a rather ruthless and mad Sea Captain called Cook and of which one of the Serenaders eventually returned to Adelaide and attempted to underhandedly serenade Emanuel Solomon's daughter Elizabeth to elope with him.

Other stories includes the inebriated country patron that fell asleep during the evening's entertainment and was seen the next morning banging on an upstairs window in a fearful state, the accidental eating of the Wizards performing goose, including many instances of, Jeremy Diddlers (debt bolters), prostitution, robbery, fighting, floods, mud, elephants, dogs and even detained foreign ships.

It includes a name index as well as an incident index, and there a biographies of a number of 'main players' in the theatre scene as well. For the lovers of Colonial history this impressive book is full of interesting and surprising details along with a fresh view of life in the colonies of early Australia and you will find this book a delight to read. 


1. Theatre Royal
2. Royal Victoria Theatre
3. Argyle Rooms/Theatre
4. Queens Theatre
5. New Queens Theatre
6. Royal Victoria Theatre (2)
7. Adelphi and Arabin's Theatres
8. Olympic Theatre
9. Pavillion Theatre
10. Royal Adelaide Theatre
11. Dramatic Hall
12. Port Adelaide Theatre
13. Associated Hotels and Tavern
Selected theatrical biographies

Cost of book: $39.50
Postage: please contact author for postage price
Payment: payment can be made by direct deposit or cheque

For orders or inquiries please send details to:
Ian Sellick
Phone: 0418 891 830

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Early Theatre Life in Adelaide, South Australia 1836-1856

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