First Theatrical Performance

Program printed on stone-coloured silk by Charles Macfaull at the Perth Gazette office for a performance of Love a la militaire. This is the earliest known theatrical performance produced in Western Australia, performed on Tuesday 9 July 1839.

Image: WA's first theatre performance - 'Love A La Militaire', 1839

The play, a 'petite comedy', with a selected cast, a specially erected stage and several painted scenery screens to suit the two acts, was most favourably received by the crowded audience. Music, songs and a prologue were performed in the course of the evening.

Admittance was by ticket only and the performance was enthusiastically received by the audience which included an Aboriginal servant who was permitted to attend.

According to The Perth Gazette newspaper report "The strongest outward semblance of the effect the scene had upon him [the Aboriginal servant] was exhibited at the closure of the piece, when the curtain was drawn up, and all the corps came forward to sing the national anthem : God save the Queen. The audience rose, the band struck up, and the anthem was sung in full chorus; this poor fellow was seen to wipe the tears from his eyes."

The children were also delighted as the report went on to say, "The extravagant delight and astonishment of the youngsters and young misses, who had never before seen a play - there were many present under 12 or 14 years of age - was beyond all bounds, and was both amusing and gratifying to those who take a pleasure in receiving enjoyment from the gay artless sportiveness of the youthful mind."

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