|Named after the late talented actress, director, teacher of speech and drama and founder of the Johannesburg Repertory Players (JRP) Muriel Alexander, The Alexander Theatre first opened its doors in 1951.|
The idea for the Theatre was born in 1929 by the JRP who dreamed of who dreamed of having their own space to unleash and share their creative energies. It took 22 years however before this dream could be realized as R100000.00 (an excessive amount in those days) was required to build the Theatre. These 22 years were spent raising funds through life memberships, donations and bonds and as a result R35, 000.00 was raised through life memberships and donations from the public R20000.00 came from the Johannesburg Municipality; R10, 000.00 from the Department of Education, Arts and Science and the balance came from a bond.
Once it opened, it played host to a myriad of productions and plays ranging from English to Afrikaans classics to moderns from the likes of Tennessee Williams to Arthur Miller. And of course it saw a few familiar faces (Patrick Mynhardt) gracing its stage. In the years following its opening, the Theatre hosted plays, dramas and musicals such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (which was seen for the first time in Johannesburg), West Side Story, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Cry the Beloved Countrythe list goes on and on Unfortunately, the increasing fears about crime and grime saw less and less people commuting to the inner city which greatly affected the attendance of shows.
This proved to be the demise of the Theatre as it became increasingly difficult to operate without a regular strong audience base and as a result had to shut down in 1997 the last stage production was Ipi Ntombi (the story of a mine worker told in song and dance).Thankfully, the area started to change which led to the theatres rebirth.
36 Stiemens Street