Gestern und Heute

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Gestern und Heute (lit "Yesterday and today") is a stage play by Christa Winsloe (1888-1944) [1].

Best known today as the source of the iconic German film Mädchen in Uniform ("Girls in uniform") [2] (1931).

The original text

Based on her own experiences as a young girl, and recorded in her novel Das Mädchen Manuela ("The Child Manuela", 1933), Winsloe wrote Gestern und Heute (lit "Yesterday and today"). The play was first produced in Leipzig as Ritter Nérestan ("Knight Nérestan") in 1930, and in Berlin as Krankheit der Liebe (lit. "Sickness of Love") in 1930/1(?), directed by Leontine Sagan.

The text published in Marton-Verlag (Manuskriptdrucke, 154), as "Gestern und Heute (Ritter Nérestan) Schauspiel in 3 Akten und 12 Bildern" in Budapest (by G. Marton) and in Berlin, (by G. Marton), in 1930.

Translations and adaptations

Filmed in 1931 as Mädchen in Uniform, directed by Leontine Sagan to a script by Winsloe, with Carl Froelich (1875-1953)[3] as advisor and "senior artistic director". The film went on to become a lesbian classic and with English sub-titles, can be viewed by clicking on this link:

It was translated into English by Barbara Burnham and performed as Children in Uniform for English audiences, opening at the Duchess Theatre in London in 1932, again directed by Leontine Sagan, and with Cathleen Nesbitt and Jessica Tandy in the cast.

Performed as Girls in Uniform at the Booth Theatre, New York, opening on 30 December, 1932.

In 1934 Winsloe published a novel based on the play and film, which she called Das Mädchen Manuela.

In 1958 the play was once more filmed in German as Mädchen in Uniform, directed by Géza von Radványi, with Lilli Palmer Romy Schneider.

Performance history in South Africa

1933: Leontine Sagan toured South Africa with the English version of the play (Children in Uniform) for three months on contract with African Consolidated Theatres, with herself in the role of Elisabeth von Bernburg and English actress Aileen Marsden as Manuela.


Kruger, Loren (ed.) 1996. Lights and Shadows: The Autobiography of Leontine Sagan.

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