Helena's Hope, Ltd

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Helena's Hope, Ltd is a 1910 play by Stephen Black (1880-1931) [1].

Also found as Helena's Hope

The original text

A hugely popular farce about the goldfields, which satirizes the individual capitalists, while employing a classical melodramatic plot. Set in 1908-1910, it was first performed in 1910 and was often repeated till the 1930s.

Published in a collection Stephen Black: Three Plays, edited by Stephen Gray (Ad Donker Publishers, 1984).

Adaptations and translations

Performance history in South Africa

1910: First performed by the De Jong-Black Company in the Opera House, Cape Town, on 1 March, 1910, running for 22 nights. Stephen Black made his first appearance as an actor for the company, taking the role of "Jeremiah Luke M'bene" (under the nom de theatre Edward Radlowe) while Constance Young appeared as "Kato van Knapp". The rest of the cast consisted of Herbert Ford, Augustus Wheatman, Maud Townsend, Kate Walbran and Mabel Norton. It thereafter went on a successful national tour, returning to Cape Town for another run in October.

1917: Performed in the Standard Theatre, Johannesburg, in February, (by the Leonard Rayne Company??), featuring Martha van Hulsteyn.

1981: An adaptation by Stephen Gray was staged by the University of the Witwatersrand School of Dramatic Art at Theatre in Focus hosted by the University of Natal in Durban. The production opened on 29 June in the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban, directed by Fred Hagemann (credited as Frederic Hagemann) with a cast of students from the University of the Witwatersrand School of Dramatic Art.


D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.432-434

University of Natal Theatre in Focus programme, 1981

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

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