Jack the Giant Killer

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Jack the Giant Killer is the name of a popular figure from English folklore. Often dramatised and used in pantomime.

Also written Jack the Giant-Killer and the name Jack the Giant Slayer (or Jack the Giant-Slayer) also occurs.

The character and the original tale

Jack the Giant Killer is described as an English fairy tale and legend about a brave young farmer's boy who slays a number of giants during King Arthur's reign and - in some versions - is seen as the successor to Arthur himself. In some versions he is purported to be a cousin of the other "Jack", of the Beanstalk fame.

The story only appeared in print in 1711.

See also "Jack the Giant Killer" in Wikipedia[1]

Dramatized versions of the tale

Jack the Giant Killer, or Harlequin King Arthur and ye Knights of ye Round Table by H.J. Byron

Jack the Giant Killer, or Harlequin King Arthur, and ye Knights of ye Round Table is described as "a burlesque extravaganza, preceding a mirthful, magical, comical, Christmas pantomime" and was written by Henry James Byron (1835-1884)[2].

First performed in the Royal Princess's Theatre, London, on 26 December, 1859.

Published by Thomas Hailes Lacy, 1859 (Vol 43 of Lacy's Acting Edition of Plays).

Performance history of Jack the Giant Killer in South Africa

1862: Performed as a "grand Comic pantomime " called Jack the Giant-Killer, or Harlequin King Arthur and Queen of the Fairy Bees (possibly Byron's version?) by Sefton Parry in Cape Town in the The Cape Town Theatre in Harrington Street. It had 11 performances between 12 and 24 March. For most of the time the accompanying play was To Oblige Benson (Taylor), except on 18 March when the accompanying play was An Alarming Sacrifice (Buckstone). On 22 March a children's matinee was offered and the final performance on 24 March was done as a benefit for R.S. Cooper.


Facsimile version of Lacy's 1859 printed version of Byron's text, Google E-book[3]


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