The Lights o' London

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The Lights o' London is a melodrama by George R. Sims (1847-1922)[1]

Sometimes found as The Lights of London.

The original text

It was first produced in London on 10 September 1881 at the Princess's Theatre by Wilson Barrett and opened in New York at the Union Square Theatre in December 1881.

A printed version of the text was not published at the time, though the play was immensely popular. It was finally published more than a century later, in 1995, by Oxford Paperbacks in the volume The Lights o' London and Other Victorian Plays (edited by Michael R. Booth) in their World's Classics series.

Translations and adaptations

The play was twice made into silent films, one directed by Bert Haldane (1914)[2] the other by Charles Calvert (1923).

Performance history in South Africa

1882: Performed in the Theatre Royal in Burg Street, Cape Town, by Mabel Hayes and her company as part of a season of 16 plays which began in august of the year. (D.C. Boonzaier, cited by Bosman (p.375), wrongly refers to the play as The Lights of London.)

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


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.375, 394-5

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