The Biko Inquest

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The Biko Inquest is a documentary play by Jon Blair and Norman Fenton.

The original text

Based on the South African inquest into the death in prison of the black leader Steve Biko. Originally written for the stage as The Biko Inquest and published by Rex Collings, London, 1978.

First performed at the Theatre Four, Off Broadway, New York in 1978, directed by Blair and Fenton, and starring Fritz Weaver and Philip Bosco.

Produced by Wole Soyinka, who both directed and acted in the play, in Ile-Ife, 1978

First produced in the UK at the Riverside Theatre, London, in 1984, with Albert FinneyAlbert Finney),

The Jon Blair and Norman Fenton text was adapted for television, directed by and starring Albert Finney Albert Finney) and broadcast in 1984/5.

Translations and adaptations

1985: A South African adaptation by Saira Essa and Charles Pillai, called Steve Biko: The Inquest, brought on by a controversy about South African performing rights. Based on the Blair/Fenton text but referring back to the original court transcripts and to amendments she had already made. Published and performed in 1985.

Performance history in South Africa

1985: First produced by the Upstairs Theatre Company, Durban, as Steve Biko: The Inquest, Essa and Pillay's adapted.


Steve Biko: The Inquest programme notes. Albert Finney

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