The novel was first published as a 20-episode serial between March 1852 and September 1853, and is considered by amny to be one of Dickens's best novels. It has many characters and several sub-plots, so dramatizations of the book tended to single out plot strands for staging, in some cases choosing a suitable title to indicate the choice.
Dramatizations of the novel
Below we list only such versions as have been performed in South Africa.
Jo by J.P. Burnett
The original text
Written in 1876 by John Pringle Burnett (), the play focussed on the sympathetic key character of "Jo", the young boy who lives on the streets and tries to make a living as a crossing sweeper - probably written as a vehicle for his wife, Jennie Lee, who played "Jo" in the original production, and often afterwards - apparently playing it more than 9000 times on tour throughout the United Kingdom, America, Australia, South Africa and India.
Translations and adaptations
No information has yet been found on a work by this name, but this may have been an alternative title for Burnett's play Jo.
Performance history of the various adaptations in South Africa
1878: Jo (Burnett) performed for the first time in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by Disney Roebuck and his company, opening on 8 April as a benefit for Miss Hilda Temple. Also featured a ballad by Miss Gertrude Wynne and a "new ballet".
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