Port Elizabeth Opera House - Grand Performances in a Historic Building
The Port Elizabeth Opera House has a unique history. Preceding the railway lines by two years, it is not only the oldest Opera House in the Southern Hemisphere, but the only Victorian Theatre left on the continent.
The Opera House in Port Elizabeth started its humble beginnings by candlelight in 1892 and was only introduced to gas lighting some 16 years later. The building was erected on a gallows site, where public hangings used to take place. And if that was not enough to raise the hair on your neck, two deaths and two murders have taken place, in the Port Elizabeth Opera House. It is safe to say, that no-one locks up alone at night. Sightings of ghosts and other apparitions have been reported.
Once the Opera House in Port Elizabeth was opened, the press named it “The finest theatre in all the World”, and looking at the building today, it is definitely worthy of praise. The Port Elizabeth Opera House is currently owned by CAPAB, and in 1980, the building was declared a national monument. We are very fortunate to still have this historical building in daily use, to not only enjoy the entertainment it provides the city, but for the cultural and architectural history that it has carried throughout the years.
There are two parts to the Port Elizabeth Opera House, the main stage, which was built for productions such as musicals and ballet, and The Barn which is generally used for cabaret acts and smaller productions. The Opera House in Port Elizabeth has also been home to many famous people, such as Athol Fugard, Nomsa Nkonyeni and many others.
Bookings or inquiries for any of the current and upcoming productions can be booked through booking agents or purchased at the Opera House. There is ample parking available for cars and busses, and the Opera House is open for daily visits and groups are accepted. The Port Elizabeth Opera House, due to its history, also accommodates ghost tours, if requested, and if you are brave enough to tour the building by torchlight when the clock strikes twelve!