J.P. Burnett

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J.P. Burnett (ca.1846-1917)[] was a British actor and playwright.


Born John Pringle Burnett in Midlothian, Scotland around 1846. In their productions of Jo, Burnett was usually seen in the role of Inspector Bucket. The couple had a daughter and son born in London in 1878 and 1880

He was married to the singer, actress and dancer Jenny Lee, with whom he had a daughter and son born in London in 1878 and 1880 respectively. They performed together in numerous productions and he wrote the melodrama Jo, based on Bleak House, as a vehicle for her. It opened on at the Globe Theatre in Newcastle Street, on 22 February 1876, with Lee as "Jo" and Burnett in the role of "Inspector Bucket", and would become a great success for the couple.

Lee and Burnett would perform in Britain for many years and undertake at least four tours of the colonies as well, including a visit to South Africa in 1894.

Burnett died in 1917.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

According to Boonzaier (1923), Jennie Lee and J.P. Burnett visited South Africa 1894, appearing in the Opera House, Cape Town, under the auspices of Arturo Bonamici in a season that included Jo (with her husband probably in the role of "Inspector Bucket"), as well as in Caste ( Robertson) and Run Wild ()[]. .




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, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.

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