Sweet Lavender

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Sweet Lavender is a play in three acts by Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934)[1].

The original text

First performed on 21 March 1888 at Terry's Theatre in London, running for an incredible 684 performances till 25 January 1890. Revived later the same year, it ran for another 737 performances. It saw productions in numerous countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Russia, South Africa, the United States (opening at the Lyceum Theatre, Broadway, in November 1888) and the West Indies.

The text was published and in the series The Plays of Arthur W. Pinero by Walter H. Baker, Boston, in 1893.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1888: Performed in the Exhibition Theatre, Cape Town, by Hirshfield's Theatre Company as part of a repertoire that included Sweet Lavender (Pinero), The Arabian Nights (Collier-Edwards and Dudley) and In His Power (Quinton). The company included the actors J.A. Rosier, Albert Lucas and Joseph Ashman.

1892: Performed in the Vaudeville Theatre, Cape Town, by the visiting Emilie Bevan Comedy Company as part of a three-and-a-half month season of 20 plays which began on 8 August.

1896: Performed in the Opera House, Cape Town, by the Searelle Comedy Company, with a cast consisting of Herbert Flemming (as "Wedderburn"), Leslie Kenyon (as "Dick Phenyl"), W. Devereaux (as "Clement"), H. Besley (as "Delaney"), Percy Oblein (as "Bream"), F. Weathersby (as "Maw"), G. Mirreelees (as "Bulger"), Ina Goldsmith (as "Mrs Gilfillian"), Lena Benson (as "Minnie"), Eugene Vernie (as "Ruth") and Inez Bensusan (as "Lavender").

1903: Performed during January in the Good Hope Theatre, Cape Town, with the visiting company of comic actor Edward Terry (himself in the role of Dick Phenyl - a role which had originally been written for him by Pinero).


Facsimile version of the 1993 edition by Walter H. Baker, The Internet Archive[2]



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, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.394-5

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