The Inchcape Bell, or The Dumb Sailor Boy

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The Inchcape Bell, or The Dumb Sailor Boy is a nautical melodrama in 4 acts by Edward Fitzball (1792–1873)[1].

(Some alternative titles found include The Inchcape Bell, or The Dumb Sailor Boy of the Rocks and The Inch Cape Bell, or The Dumb Boy of the Rocks, or simply The Inchcape Bell.)

The original text

Possibly inspired by Robert Southey’s poem The Inchcape Bell (1802) and largely founded on the legend of the Inch Cape Rock in Scotland. The play was performed in London on 26 May 1828 at the Surrey Theatre.

South African productions

1833: Performed as The Inch Cape Bell, or The Dumb Boy of the Rocks in Cape Town in the African Theatre by All the World's a Stage on 3 August, with a play announced as The Two Gregorys, or Where Does the Money Come From? (Dibdin) and a vaudeville act on the "slack rope" by Monsieur Dupree.

1865: Performed as The Inchcape Bell in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, by the 1st Battlion of the 11th Regiment on 17 July, with The Thumping Legacy (Morton) and a comic song and a "Highland fling". The evening in aid of the "Table Bay Relief Fund", a popular object of the "charity through art" movement in the city at the time.


Frederick Burwick. 2015. British Drama of the Industrial Revolution. Cambridge University Press: p. 224[2]

Larry Stephen Clifton. 1993. The Terrible Fitzball: The Melodramatist of the Macabre. Popular Press[3]

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [4]: pp. 226-7

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