Britain's Brave Tars, or All for Saint Paul's

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Britain's Brave Tars, or All for Saint Paul's is a special celebratory piece John O'Keeffe (1747 – 1833)[1], written for the celebration of naval victories.

Also billed simply as Britain's Brave Tars!! or Britain's Brave Tars.

The original text

First performed at the Theatre-Royal, Covent-Garden in 1797, as part of the events celebrating the British naval victories. Apparently only acted twice.

The text was printed by T. Woodfall for T. N. Longman, 1796.

Translations and adaptations

A play billed as The Tars of Old England was apparently performed in Cape Town in 1808, and was possibly a new version of O'Keeffe's celebratory piece. O'Keeffe's work was popular in Cape Town at the time, and Britain was once more at war. However it may also have been an adaptation of Tobias Smollett[2]'s play The Reprisal, or The Tars of Old England, given the title and the description of it as a "delightful comedy".

Performance history in South Africa

1808: The Tars of Old England performed in the African Theatre, Cape Town by the Garrison Players on 16 July, 1808, with The Agreeable Surprise (O'Keeffe).


Holger Hoock: Empires of the Imagination: Politics, War, and the Arts in the British World, 1750-1850 Google eBook: p. 140

F.C.L. Bosman. 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: p. 76

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