John Bull, or an Englishman's Fireside

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John Bull, or an Englishman's Fireside is a comedy in five acts by George Colman the Younger (1762 – 1836)[1].

Also referred to by some sources as John Bull or The Englishman's Fireside, or more often simply as John Bull.

(See Wikipedia entry on John Bull[2] for more information on the character.)

The original text

First written in 1802, first performed on 5 March 1803 at the Theatre Royal Covent Garden and published in 1805 in London by Longman, Hurst, Rees, It was Colman's most successful play.

Production history in South Africa

1812: Performed in South Africa by the Garrison Players in the African Theatre in Cape Town, on Saturday, 18 January, with The Review, or The Wags of Windsor (Colman, Jr).

1815: Performed simply as John Bull by the Garrison Players, under the directorship of Mr Cuerton, in the African Theatre in Cape Town, on 7 April, followed by a "Harlequin Pantomime" (possibly by Mr Cuerton, cited in Dutch (by Bosman, 1928: p 146), as Oud tot Jong Gemaald, of De Krommesprongen van Harlequin).

1815: Presented in Cape Town, South Africa (apparently as John Bull or The Englishman's Fireside), under the patronage of the Governor by the Garrison Players in the African Theatre on 18 August, as a charity performance, intended to raise patriotism among the colonists during the Napoleonic war. As an afterpiece they performed The Anatomist (Ravenscroft).

1818: Performed in the African Theatre, Cape Town by the Gentlemen Amateurs, in association with Mr Cooke and his company of performers from the Theatre Royal, Liverpool, on Saturday, 28th March 1818, with Bombastes Furioso as afterpiece.

1822: Performed by Amateurs in the African Theatre on Wednesday 14th and Friday 16th August, "to crouded (sic) and well-satisfied Audiences," by the Garrison Players, along with High Life Below Stairs (Townley), as a charity performance for shipwreced sailors. An original Prologue was written and performed by Captain Straton of the Madras Cavalry, who also played "Roscius", and an Epilogue was sung by Dr M'Donnell, Assistant Surgeon, 55th Regiment, in the role of "Dennis Brulgruddery". (Extracts from the texts are contained in Bosman, 1928: pp.180-182.)

1824: Performed the African Theatre on 24 July by the Garrison Players, along with Two Strings to your Bow (Goldoni/Jephson).


Original advert in The Cape Town Gazette and African Advertiser, Saturday, September 7, 1822.

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: pp. 142-3, 146-7, 179-185,

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