Der Bürgermeister

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There are two German plays entitled Der Bürgermeister, both of which have been performed in South Africa.

Der Bürgermeister ("The Mayor") by Von Brühl - 1786

The original text

This is a five act play in German written by Aloys Friedrich von Brühl (1739-1793)[1]. Published in 1786 in the Waltherischen Hofbuchhandlung.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Dutch as De Burgemeester by an anonymous author, and published by Pieter Johannes Uylenbroek, 1801.

Performance history in South Africa

1826: Performed in Dutch as De Burgemeester by the Cape Town company Tot Nut en Vermaak, planned for 10 June, but postponed till 15 July, probably because of the increasing anti-theatrical movement in the Cape. It was accompanied by Jocrisse in Eenen Nieuwen Dienst (Dorvigny).

1846: Performed in Dutch as De Burgemeester by the Cape Town company Tot Nut en Vermaak en Door Yver Vruchtbaar on 20 October, with De Bloemenkrans, of De Minnaar in den Boom (Van der Sprong) as afterpiece.


Facsimile of the 1786 German text, Google E-Book[2]

Facsimile of the 1801 Dutch translation, Google E-Book[3]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp. 237, 450-1.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Der Bürgermeister ("The Mayor") by Hofmann - 1963

The original text

The first play written by Gert Hofmann (1931 – 1993)[5]. Originally written in 1962, while Hofmann was teaching German Language and Literature at Bristol University in the UK, it had its first production in January 1963, in an English version entitled The Burgomaster (translated by Donald Watson and performed by the Drama Department of the university), followed by a West End production under the new title Power of Persuasion, directed by Anthony Quayle and John Mills at the Garrick Theatre, London.

It had its first German production as Der Bürgermeister on 30 November 1963 in the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus and as Der Bürgermeister, oder Die Macht der Oberredung in the Altelier Theater am the Naschmarkt in Vienna.

Published in German by S. Fischer Verlag in 1963.

Translations and adaptations

The play was hugely popular, and has been translated into many languages.

Translated into English as The Burgomaster by Donald Watson in 1962, and later renamed Power of Persuasion (1963).

Translated into French as Chez les Molls ou Le Bourgemestre by Laurent Lourson (1963

Translated into Afrikaans under the title Die Burgemeester by Bartho Smit. Published by DALRO (1969) and in Bartho Smit-Vertalings, 4 by HAUM Literary (1984).

Performance history in South Africa

1967: Performed in the Afrikaans translation by Bartho Smit as Die Burgemeester and directed by Fred Engelen for PACT shortly before his death in 1967 in a triple bill with Die Spel van Liefde en Toeval by Pierre Chamblain de Marivaux, and Dodedans by August Strindberg. The cast most probably included the actors in the other two pieces (Louis van Niekerk and Marius Weyers).

1972: Performed by CAPAB in the Afrikaans translation by Bartho Smit (as Die Burgemeester). Directed by Aubrey Berg with Price Coetzee as Nagtegaal, Pieter Geldenhuys as Mol and Aletta Bezuidenhout as Therese.

1973 Performed in the Afrikaans translation by Bartho Smit as Die Burgemeester by PACOFS under the direction of Pieter Fourie, starring Petru Wessels (Theresa), Franz Marx (Mol) and Carel Trichardt (Nagtegaal). Decor by Craig Curtis.


Hans-Georg Schede. Gert Hofmann: Werkmonographie[6]

Tydskrif vir Letterkunde, New Series 6(1), 1968.

PACOFS theatre programme, 1973.

PACOFS Drama 25 Years, 1963-1988.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Correspondence with Price Coetzee, November 2015.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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