Hedda Gabler

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Hedda Gabler [1] is an 1890 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) [2].

The original text

First performed on 31 January 1891 at the Residenztheater in Munich, with Ibsen himself was in attendance, although he remained back-stage. Followed by productions in Berlin and Copenhagen in In February 1891 and the first British performance at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, on 20 April 1891. The first US production opened on 30 March 1898 at the Fifth Avenue Theatre,

Translations and adaptations

Translated into many languages over the decades.

Translated into English by Michael Meyer (1921-2000) [3] in 1962.

Translated into Afrikaans by an unknown author for André Huguenet in the 1930s.

Translated into Afrikaans by Rita Elferink in 1964. A typed text of what is probably her translation held in the Drama Department archives of the Stellenbosch University.

Translated into Afrikaans by André P. Brink. Published by Human & Rousseau (1974).

Translated into Afrikaans by André Stolz in 2006 (100th anniversary of Ibsen's death).

South African adaptations

André P. Brink's Afrikaans translation was adapted and filmed as a TV movie for the SABC by Stephan Bouwer in 1983. Directed by Stephan Bouwer, with Sandra Prinsloo as "Hedda Gabler" and Ernst Eloff as "Jürgen Tesman". The rest of the cast consisted of Patrick Mynhardt, Marcel van Heerden, Marna Gey van Pittius, Wilma Stockenström and Miems de Bruyn. The film edited by Helen Greyvenstein, vision mix by Marita Klopper, Set decoration by Dehlia Rezek and Dave Ruthenberg and costume design by Roux Engelbrecht.

Performance history in South Africa

193*: An Afrikaans version by ** was done by André Huguenet in 193*?

1939: Produced in Afrikaans by Bianca de Jager in Bloemfontein.

1947: Presented in English by the Brian Brooke Company in the Hofmeyr Theatre, produced by British director Mary Byron. The cast included Petrina Fry (Hedda), Joan Ross (Miss Tesman), David Lytton (Lovborg) and Brian Brooke (George).

1964: The Elferink Afrikaans translation opened on 24 January in the Hofmeyr Theatre as CAPAB's first Afrikaans play, directed by Suzanne van Wyk, with Babs Laker (Hedda), Johann Nell (Dr Tesman), Marie Schoeman (Juffrou Juliana Tesman), Magdalena Swanevelder (Mev Elvstad), Louw Verwey (Regter Brack), André Walters (Eilert Lövborg), Bettie Fourie (Berta). Decor and costumes by Bill Smuts and lighting by Emile Aucamp. The production subsequently toured the Western Cape.

1972: Michael Meyer's English translation was used for the CAPAB Drama production directed by Michael Atkinson, opening 26 February. Designed by Aubrey Couling. Marika Mann played Hedda, Bernard Brown (Judge Brack), Kerry Jordan (George Tesman), Joyce Burgh (Juliana Tesman), Lois Butlin (Mrs Elvsted), Mollie Thompson (Bertha), John Whiteley (Eilert Loevborg).

1974: The Brink Afrikaans translation was staged by PACT, directed by Francois Swart, with Sandra Prinsloo (Hedda), Louis van Niekerk (Brack), Don Lamprecht (Jörgen), Wilma Stockenström (Juliane), Annette Engelbrecht (Mev Elvsted), Marius Weyers (Ejlert) and Anna Cloete (Berte). Decor and costumes designed by Chris van den Berg.

1983. The SABC TV version of Brink's translation broadcast, directed by Stephan Bouwer.

1994: Staged in English at the Market Theatre, directed by Barney Simon, with John Kani and Dorothy-Ann Gould, Neil McCarthy, Jamie Bartlett, Brigid Erin Bates, Shelagh Holliday, Leila Henriques, John Kani, Jamie Bartlett in the cast, from 6 October - 19 November.

2006: The Stoltz translation into Afrikaans was directed by André Stoltz at the KKNK.

2013: Staged in English by the Muizenberg Amateur Dramatic Society in the Masque Theatre, directed by Richard Higgs, with Tamara Richards as Hedda.



The South African Theatre, Music and Dance 1(1), 1939.

Trek, 12(1):26, 1948.

CAPAB theatre programme (undated).

PACT theatre programme, 1974.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

Various entries in the NELM catalogue (1994 production).

Cape Times, 20 March 2013.

Brooke 1978. 171.


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