The Heiress

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The Heiress is a play by Ruth Goetz (1912-2001)[1] and Augustus Goetz (1897-1957)[2].

The original text

Based on the novel Washington Square by Henry James (1843-1916). First produced on Broadway on September 29th 1947, starring Wendy Hiller and Basil Rathbone. It ran for over 400 performances.

Translations and adaptations

Adapted as a Hollywood film in 1949 by William Wyler and starred Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift and Ralph Richardson.

Translated into Afrikaans as Die Erfgename by an unnamed author circa 1967. (Not to be confused with two Afrikaans films: Die Erfgenaam ("The heir"), a 1971 Afrikaans film by Koos Roets[3]) or Erfgenaam ("heir") a 2008 film by Johan Nysschen.)

Performance history in South Africa

1949: First produced in South Africa in 1949 by Brian Brooke, directed by Leonard Schach with Petrina Fry in the lead. Played at the Hofmeyr Theatre Cape Town and His Majesty’s Theatre in Johannesburg. A production for African Consolidated Theatres. Decor Frank Graves, cotumes by Doreen Graves. In the cast were Noelle Ahrenson, Lawrence Ayris, Jane Fenn, Petrina Fry, Hilda Kriseman, Michael Marais, Eve van der Byl.

1967: Staged in Afrikaans as Die Erfgename by Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch on 15, 16, 22 and 23 September in the H.B. Thom Theatre, directed by Marc Leemans, starring Carina Fick ("The parlour maid"), Ben Dehaeck ("Dr Sloper"), Marie van Heerden ("Lavinia"), Bie Engelen ("Catherine"), Madeleine Heyns ("Elizabeth"), Bettina Camerer ("Marion"), Crismont Greeff ("Arthur"), Mees Xteen ("Morris") and Gretchen Holzapfel ("Mev. Montgomery"). Decór by Francis Purnelle, lighting by Pieter de Swardt, costumes by Yen Pernath and backstage management by Emile Aucamp.

1974: Produced by Dorothy Sutherland for the opening of the Cate Theatre on the Summerstrand campus of the College for Advanced Technical Education. The cast consisted of Joan Sneesby ("Maria, the parlour maid"), Bud Baylis ("Dr Austin Sloper"), Helen Wilkins ("Mrs Lavinia Penniman"), Helen Mann ("Catherine Sloper"), Zil Dace ("Mrs Elizabet Almond"), Lyn Simpson ("Marian Almond"), Bruce Sanderson ("Arthur Townsend"), Neil Graer ("Morris Townsend") and Yvonne Bind ("Mrs Montgomery"). Members of the Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival assisted with various other aspects of the production. September 11 - 14.

1979: In 1979 Estelle Knott-Craig directed a Fish Hoek Dramatic Society Production in The Studio, Baxter Theatre, starring Isobel Barry, Douglas Anderson and others.

1983: Presented by NAPAC in Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Balgowan, Dundee, Ladysmith, Kokstad, Uvongo, 2-28 May.


Brian Barrow and Yvonne Williams-Short (eds.). 1988. Theatre Alive! The Baxter Story 1977-1987. Cape Town: The Baxter Theatre.

Brian Brooke 1978. My Own Personal Star: An Autobiography. Johannesburg: The Limelight Press. p.185.

Donald Inskip 1977. Stage by Stage: The Leonard Schach Story. Cape Town: Howard Timmins. pp 29, 120.

NAPAC Report, 1983/84.

Percy Tucker. 1997. Just the Ticket. My 50 Years in Show Business. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press: p.46.

UTS theatre programme

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