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Cinderella is an ancient children's story much used for stage and other presentation over the ages.

The original text

Apparently first written up in China, it has become famous across the globe, in a variety of forms, including the fables of Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, numerous stage versions , the films of Walt Disney, and so on.

For more on the various versions, see for example online sources such as "Cinderella" in Wikipedia[1], and the wonderful list of Plays about Cinderella on the website[2].)

A number of versions of Cinderella on Ice have also been done over the years.

International translations and adaptations

A British pantomime version used in South Africa during the 19th century was the 1878 Drury Lane pantomime, written by E.L. Blanchard.

The Glass Slipper by Harry and Eleanor Farjeon is a 1944 British musical adaptation (see The Glass Slipper)

In 1957 Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the musical Cinderella for television, as a vehicle for Julie Andrews. Also known as Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella it was later played on stage, with music by Richard Rodgers and a book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.[3]

Adapted as an operetta by Geoffrey Tansley

Adapted as an opera, La Cenerentola (or La Cenerentola, ossia La bontà in trionfo; "Cinderella, or Goodness Triumphant"), by composer Gioachino Rossini with a libretto by Jacopo Ferretti. First performed in Rome's Teatro Valle on 25 January 1817.

South African translations and adaptations

Often adapted locally as a pantomime version , inter alia by Nicholas Ellenbogen, John Moss, Janice Honeyman, Jerry Nicholls, Rick Everett, Steven Stead, Amanda Bothma.

Translated and adapted into Afrikaans as Aspoestertjie by Tine Balder and Francesca Bantock.

Translated and adapted into Afrikaans as Aspoestertjie, a children’s production by Pieter A. Venter.

Translated and adapted into Afrikaans as a musical for juniors by Fransie Prinsloo and Elmarie Maree.

Performance history in South Africa

1882: A Christmas pantomime version was performed by the Mabel Hayes Company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town. F.C.L. Bosman (1980, p.509) suggests it may have been the 1864 pantomime version by E.L. Blanchard.

1950: African Theatres’ Christmas pantomime, starring British comedian Tommy Trinder[4] was performed at His Majesty's Theatre in December.

1959-60: The Glass Slipper produced jointly by National Theatre Organisation, the Johannesburg Reps and the Children's Theatre. *

1971: The Quibell Brothers presented Jerry Nicholls's production at the Three Arts Theatre in December 1971 starring Joyce Bradley as the Fairy Godmother and Diane Cahil as Cinderella.

1974: John Moss wrote another pantomime version of this story which was presented by NAPAC Drama, choreographed by Joy Shearer from 17 December 1974 at the Alhambra Theatre Durban;

1978: Produced by PACT, starring Tobie Cronjé and Michael McCabe as the Ugly Sisters. Janice Honeyman directed.

1980: Produced by NAPAC from 9 December 1980 at the Alhambra Theatre, Durban

1982: Produced by PACT at the State Theatre in 1982;

1982: Produced in Afrikaans as Aspoestertjie by CAPAB, from 1 July in the Nico Malan Theatre. Directed by Johan Esterhuizen with Marthinus Basson, Neels Coetzee, Terry Greyvenstein, Marié Human, Christo Potgieter, Russel Savadier, David van der Merwe and Lynita Crofford. Decor and costumes by Jenny Gillis, lighting by Malcolm Hurrell.

1988: Produced by NAPAC Drama at The Opera, Natal Playhouse, choreographed by Denise Britz, from 8 December 1988.

1991: Nicholas Ellenbogen wrote and directed another pantomime version of this play for Theatre for Africa at the Wits University Theatre in 1991.

1993: Produced in December by The Story Spinning Theatre in the Baxter Theatre. Adapted and directed by Rick Everett with Chireen Ferreira as Cinderella, Matthew Roberts and David Appleby as The Ugly Sisters, Denver Vraagom as Buttons with Pippa Duffy as The Prince and Elton John Duffy as William, directed by Everett. Original music and lyrics by Pippa Duffy, musical direction by Brian Burke.

1998: Pantomime version, Cinderella - The True Story, presented by the Arts Theatre Club at the Arts Theatre, East London, written and directed by Marjorie Craib, with Natalie Ford, Sheldon Holm, George Mountjoy, Nicola Tennant, Damian Lahoud, Angelique de Chalain, Lauren Lee, Cajun Skinner, Karin Tennant.

2004: Pantomime version presented by the East London Guild Theatre in association with Algoa FM, devised and directed by Amanda Bothma, musical direction by Tilana Fourie, choreography by members of the Guild Theatre Dance Company.

2007: Performed by The Actors Co-Operative, directed by Garth Anderson and Clinton Small, with a cast featuring Mphumeboza Mtombeni, Clinton Small, Kim Sanssoucie, Adam Doré, Raeesa Abdul Karrim and Rory Booth. Also performed in the Durban Botanic Gardens.

2008-9: Produced by KickstArt at the Kwasuka Theatre, directed by Steven Stead, from 3 December 2008 to 2 January 2009.

2015: Produced in August as Aspoestertjie, an Afrikaans children's production, by the Drama Department at the University of Pretoria, directed in the Masker Theatre by Estelle Zeeman

2017-8: The Imperial Ice Stars[5], in association with Pieter Toerien Productions, performed Cinderella on Ice at the Teatro, Montecasino, from 1 December to 7 January.

2020/2021: A production of Janice Honeyman's text was planned by Bernard Jay and the Joburg Theatre in the Mandela Theatre, 28 October 2020 to 20 December, with Desmond Dube and Ben Voss as the "Ugly Stepsisters" and Connie Chiume as the "Fairy Godmother". However, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, this was abandoned and postponed for a year, to 21 November to 24 December 2021.

2022: Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella was produced by Dramabuzz in the Roodepoort Theatre, 22-24 September.

Performance history of Rossini's opera, La Cenerentola, in South Africa

1973: Presented by CAPAB Opera.

1995: Presented by CAPAB Opera (27 January – 5 February)


Cinderella theatre programme, 1971.

Martin 2008. (re PACT 1978 production).

Baxter Theatre pamphlet, December 1993.

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p. 375

Nico Malan Theatre Centre pamphlet

Bob Martin 2008. Highlights & Footlights : A Tribute to South African Stage and Screen, by photographer Bob Martin. Cape Town: Double Storey Books (on 19768 production by PACT)

Percy Tucker. 1997. Just the Ticket. My 50 Years in Show Business. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.

Theatre for Africa. (n.d.) The Complete Works of Nicholas Ellenbogen and Theatre for Africa Claremont, Cape Town.

Alexandra Xenia Sabina Mossolow. 2003. The career of South African soprano Nellie du Toit, born 1929. Unpublished Masters thesis. University of Stellenbosch.

Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

Arts Theatre Club archive held by George Mountjoy.

Theatre programme, 2004

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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