Mariken van Nieumeghen

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Mariken van Nieumeghen is the Middle-Dutch title of a Miracle Play[1] from the 16th century, written by an anonymous author.

The original text

The earliest known version, printed in 1515 in Antwerp and was printed by Willem Vorsterman and linguistic evidence suggests it was written by a poet from a Rederijkerskamer (chamber of rhetoric) in Antwerp.

The play tells the tale of a woman who spends seven years with the devil, after which she is miraculously released.

Translations and adaptations

The text has become a classic text for schools and universities and has been translated into modern Dutch and many other languages over the years, and is a popular fable in the middle east.

The story has been adapted for film twice, in 1974 by Jos Stelling[2] and in 2000 by André van Duren (as Mariken)[3].

Translated into Afrikaans and adapted for radio by Alewyn Lee as Marietjie van Nijmegen in 1963 (based on an a Middle-Dutch edition by H. J. J. M. Van der Merwe, published by J.L. van Schaik as Mariken van Nieumeghen (Van stamverwante bodem 15. Pretoria: Van Schaik, 1956).

The play was also translated into Afrikaans by Rob Antonissen as Die ware en wonderbaarlike verhaal van Mariken van Nymegen, first performed in Grahamstown in 1963 and published om 1979 by Tafelberg in a version edited by his daughter Rike Vaughan and provided with a foreword by Edith Raidt.

Performances of Mariken van Nieumeghen in South Africa

1962: Produced for stage in South Africa in English and entitled Mary of Nimmegen, directed by Fred Engelen for the Little Theatre Players in Cape Town in February.

1963: The radio version by Lee was broadcast by the Suid-Afrikaanse Uitsaaikorporasie (SABC) in the Afrikaans series: Meesterdrama on Tuesday 5 March, 1963.

1963: Performed in Afrikaans dring July by students of the Rhodes Drama Department, as part of the University's Arts Week.

1980: Performed in Afrikaans as a stage play by drama students of the Potchefstroom University in June, directed by Elize Scheepers, with Roeloff van den Bergh, Sulette Thompson, Gerrit Schoonhoven, Elize Venter, Karen Meiring in the cast. Decor by Joe Coetzee.


Inskip, 1972. p.147.

Copy of the SABC radio text of Marietjie van Nymegen found in the radio archives of the Stellenbosch Drama Department

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