- 25/ 8/ 2009 <--Prev : Next-->
A VERY SPECIAL BOOK !
On a visit to Knysna last week, I came across a copy of Alan Hardy's book "A History of Theatre, Ballet and Orchestra in Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe 1890 -1980"
It was a gift to his ex Zimbabwean friend Eric Fryett.
What a joy it was to read, with a foreword by none other than Mr. Theatre Geoffrey Atkins himself.
Strangely enough the very first theatrical performance in Rhodesia was presented in 1869 by Thomas Baines - the amazing artist who depicted so beautifully some of the very first paintings of the Victoria Falls.
A Mr. Susman brought the first piano into the country in 1892 and the following year The Salisbury Musical and Dramatic Society was formed. Alan Hardy's book encapsulates a magnificent ninety years of drama, music and dance and even lists the first theatrical performances many of which were undertaken at the Empire Theatre in Bulawayo and the Market Hall in Salisbury.
There are many delightful photographs of old places and old performers, some of whom were household names to all of us Oldies!!
Names came flooding back to me as I read on - Mary Morgan Davies, Allan Brittain, Bob Nixon, Marion Port. Some of these fine entertainers have since died but many still live on, and some even still in Zimbabwe!
I saw Pat Schmullian at the airport the other day; she was an amazingly talented actress and was as bright and as sprightly as ever ! There are excellent photographs of Frank Allanthwaite, Barbara Sher, Sonia Hattin, Terry Buchan, John Bardo and Norman Mactaggert and on the dancing side Alan has included some great pics of Val Lonstein and his own wife Judy hardy.
Stuart Goakes and Brian Meikle are there too as well as Barbara Illingworth and Tony Bulling, Maureen Dyer, Peter Corbishly,
There is also a complete list of productions of the Bulawayo Theatre Club dating back to 1937 including "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" which was produced by my very own dad - Reginald Hardy!
This excellent little book features the names of many of the talented players and producers with names like Joan and John Hopcroft, Diana Isaacs, Peter Lewis, Ray Knibbs, and Andy Turnbull.
Of course I have left out loads of important names of exceptionally talented people and for this I apologise. Of course I have totally omitted the Salisbury Repertory Players, the Courtald Theatre and the Gatooma and Gwelo Theatres, the Fort Victoria Theatre and the ZICSO Theatre but I am open to invitations to do an article about those amazing people and places too if required!!
As for Ballet and The Philharmonic Orchestras? Well that's for another day.....
Thank you for this extraordinary book Alan Hardy now in Australia with his exquisite wife and ballerina - Judy Hardy.