PREPS

Preps - for the 6 to 12 year olds who want to get their feet wet in Theatre
Held on Saturday Morning from 10:30am



Hosted by Chipo Nzonzo

for more information contact Chipo on
0774 753 007


REPTEENS

Repteens - for the 13 to 19 year young adults.
Spend time with likeminded young adults and enhance (or begin) your stage craft.
Held on Friday Evening from 5:30pm

Hosted by Kyla Render

for more information 
contact Kyla on
0772 311 412


MEMBERSHIP

Do you want to become Member?
Are you interested in Social, Acting & Stage Craft for more information contact the office.





Contact the Office on
04 335850


WARDROBE

REPS has a fantastic wardrobe filled with outfits for many occasions from Costume Parties to Stage productions, there are even Tuxedo's for that formal event.

Monday to Friday
9am to 4pm


Contact via the Office.
 04 335850


REPS THEATRE FACILITY HIRE

Would you like to hire the Theatre for your event?
We have two stages in the venue:
Theatre Upstairs - a 54 seat venue - ideal for screening, training and small plays and development Theatre
Main Stage - 461 seat Accoustic venue - for bigger productions of upto 100 persons on stage.

REHEARSAL SPACE

The George Barnes room - for small groups
Theatre Upstairs - for small groups (provisional that there is no show on stage)
Adriam Stanley room - our main stage sized rehearsal room.
Contact the Office for details.
04 335850


A short history of REPS

  • The Repertory Players have been in existence for over 70 years - proudly flying the theatrical flag. Initially, four people formed a play reading group but in February 1931 performances began at Duthie Hall. Over the next five years, sixteen plays were produced under difficult conditions, with minimal stage facilities, inadequate lighting, uncomfortable seating and no money for improvements!
    In 1936 Reps was given the use of the Prince Edward School Beit Hall. The stage was larger and better equipped and patrons were able to hire cushions at 3d each. During their 11 year occupancy, some 38 plays were presented but in 1947 their tenancy was terminated as the Hall was needed for school purposes.
    Eventually, accommodation was found in the show grounds, in a ramshackle hall built as a cinema for the RAF in the second world war. There was a small stage, two small dressing rooms, a concrete auditorium with no ceiling and two bucket toilets! Volunteer members worked unceasingly painting, cleaning, decorating and laying more than 2000 concrete blocks to provide a raked auditorium. And then carpeting them. The buckets were replaced by chemical closets. The new home was named the Belvedere Theatre. It seated 240 people and opened in September 1947. The little theatre became immensely popular, mainly because of the improved standard of play presentation. During the Society's 12 year occupancy, 74 plays were produced, mainly to packed houses. 
  • Two men had a profound effect on the fortunes of Reps. The one was George Barnes and the other was Adrian Stanley. (Adrian passed away on 10th August 2006 - read an obituary). In 1952, Reps celebrated its 21st birthday - a time of growth and excitement. Plans to build a new theatre were taking shape. Barney came up with the suggestion that a theatre foundation membership scheme be launched. The idea was to ask 500 people to contribute 50 pounds each. By 1957, the bank showed a healthy balance of 25000 pounds. The new Reps Theatre on Sam Nujoma Street extension opened to the public in January 1960 with a gala production of Romanov and Juliet. This included a fanfare of trumpets from the BSAP band, incidental music from a section of the municipal orchestra, corsages for every lady in the audience, a formal opening ceremony by the Governor General of the Federation, Lord Dalhousie, and after the show a champagne party in the foyer for the entire audience - a glittering occasion.

  • Since 1960, Reps has produced over 700 of its own shows, the great majority of them under the directorship of Adrian Stanley. Adrian was appointed as the Society's first paid director and he took up his post in 1964, wasting no time in brining Reps out of the financial doldrums. Records were broken and the future looked optimistic.
    The Repertory Players is a unique amateur society operating with paid staff - a theatre manager, secretary, book-keeper, wardrobe mistress, workshop, security, bar and cleaning staff. But all actors, actresses and technical personnel are unpaid volunteers. During the past year, many valuable members have left for pastures new, but this is not a new situation. Reps will survive though new acting and backstage members would be warmly welcomed to help us through the next 70 years.

    Acknowledgement: Gillian West, Chairman, 2003.


Adrian Stanley

Adrian Stanley

He presided over four decades of change in the theatre in Africa

In the late 1950s, Adrian Stanley, who has died of a heart attack aged 83, was freelancing in the theatre, and finding the provincial "re-producing" of West End plays unsatisfying. Then, out of the blue, he was asked to produce a series of plays for amateur societies in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). He spent six months on the Copperbelt, before being invited to Cape Town University to produce Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood.  While pondering his next move, Stanley was contacted by Professor Norman Mackenzie of the Southern Rhodesia Dramatics Society, who wanted him to adjudicate at the society's 1959 drama festival. Stanley had admired tree-lined Salisbury (now Harare), capital of Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), when he passed through on his way from the Copperbelt, and accepted the invitation.

After the festival he produced Tennessee Williams's The Rose Tattoo for the Umtali Players, which starred Ruth Dawson, the mother of the Daily Telegraph's Zimbabwe correspondent, until she was hounded out of the role by irate Catholics. "What on earth are you doing here?" Dawson asked Stanley. "I should ask the same of you," he retorted.

It was the 1960 production of Under Milk Wood for the Repertory Players (Reps) company of Salisbury that determined the rest of his life. "How," asked one critic, "can Mr Stanley, or anyone else for that matter, hope to transform the script into anything resembling theatre?" But together with Tom Maybank, then considered the most original artist in Salisbury, they achieved "a canvas which conveyed Llareggub compellingly and indisputably as three-dimensional, as a place which was either hot or cold, which sometimes smelt when the wind was blowing in from the sea and which was vibrant with the lives and lovings of its inhabitants." Critics praised the acting, and the professional polish Stanley applied made him - with minor interruptions - the company's director/producer for the next 40 years.

That year had also seen Reps vote 82-6 in favour of all races joining its society and victory in the "battle of the toilets", where the municipal public work committee had attempted to enforce segregation. The opinion of Advocate Macaulay QC demolished the committee's arguments and was said to read like an extract from Gilbert and Sullivan. "One illegal use by a member of the wrong race," wrote Macaulay, would thus render [the toilet] incapable in law of being used by any race at all, thus removing it altogether from the awkward problem of human relations." The council backed down. Black people hardly queued up to attend Reps productions and the problem quietly went away.

Stanley was a consummate theatre man, quick-witted, with a sharp tongue, and what he brought to more than two generations of largely white audiences was popularist, Anglophile culture. He presided from a period of massive box office success in the colonial era, to one where traditional western theatre and musicals struggle to find relevance.

His most successful period was in the 1960s and 70s, when he secured the first rights outside Britain and the US to Godspell, and to Jesus Christ Superstar, which premiered to Christian pickets - and extra attention for the multiracial cast from certain quarters of the settler populace. Reps was never in the vein of South African protest theatre and a 1970s opera in Shona flopped.

A grocer's son, born in Birkenhead, Stanley developed his taste for dramatics at Rock Ferry high school, where his first break was playing in John Drinkwater's Abraham Lincoln. Accepted by the London School of Dramatic Art, he spent nine months in residence, before call-up in 1943. Asthma saw him discharged in 1944. It was to be the only year he played the West End, as a reporter in The Rest is Silence at the Prince of Wales. After stints in repertory in Watford and Falmouth, he tried his hand again at the big time in the early 1950s, before retreating to Henley-on-Thames, where he ran the Old Regency Theatre. From 1953 to 1957 he freelanced, until the call to Africa came.

The post-independence period presented more challenges as many white people emigrated. The Reps youth wing, Repteens, worked with a good deal of black talent, but there was little follow-through after high school. Abandoned playhouses stretching the continent owe less to the advent of film and video than an inability to provide something more relevant and less alien for the majority to embrace. Still, with white support guaranteed, Stanley kept going with his formula to a greying demographic.

He died in the 75th year of the establishment of Reps and while directing The Music Man. His memorial service, held at Reps, mixed eulogies and songs, including I'll Be Seeing You by his one-time muse, Alvin Collinson, who became an accomplished cabaret performer in South Africa. It was "just short of a full-length play," said one attendee.

ยท Adrian Stanley, producer and director, born September 2 1922; died August 10 2006

JONATHAN WATERS
(Obituaries - The Gardian - Thursday November 9 2006)

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