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Standard Theatre
Johannesburg, Gauteng

John Stanislaus DONALDSON: Architect
John Abraham MOFFAT: Architect

Status:Demolished 1959
Street:Joubert Street


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26°12'15.15" S 28°02'34.30" E Alt: 1762m

Due to a demand for entertainment, Johannesburg's early theatres - the Theatre Royal (1887) and the Globe Theatre - were housed in corrugated iron shacks. It was felt that there was a need for a more permanent theater. The Standard Theatre was commissioned by Emmanuel Mendelssohn (husband of soprano Madame Mendelssohn) and financier Robert Stuart Scott, who were the managers of the Standard Building Company and joint owners of the Standard and Diggers News.

A new gallery was added in 1911 and the theatre was unused during WW1.

JA MOFFAT made alterations to the theatre in 1902, 1904, 1906, 1911 and 1912.

1911 also saw the introduction of films which gradually decreased the demand for operas.

After a fire broke out in 1947 the interior structure became unsafe. There were calls for the building to be declared a national monument but it was considered a fire hazard and it was closed in the same year.

Its proposed demolition led to a public demonstration.

The site is now marked by the Oppenheimer fountain in Ernest Oppenheimer Park.

(Summarised from: Lucia, C. 2009. The World of South African Music: A Reader. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p 127-128.)

Submitted by Paul VAN DER MERWE.

Writings about this entry

Benjamin, Arnold. 1979. Lost Johannesburg. Johannesburg: Macmillan South Africa (Publishers) (Pty) Ltd. pg 1-5 ill
van der Waal, Gerhard-Mark. 1987. From Mining Camp to Metropolis - The buildings of Johannesburg 1886-1940. Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council. pg 55, 79