The Maid of the Mill

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The Maid of the Mill is a comic opera by Isaac Bickerstaffe (1733-1808)[1]

Also found as The Maide of the Mill

The original text

The comic opera was a musical stage adaptation of Samuel Richardson's novel Pamela (1740) and . This was also a major success, and like its predecessor it went on to be played throughout the English-speaking world for more than a century following its first production."

Written and first performed in London in 1765 (probably as The Maide of the Mill), with music by Samuel Arnold and others, it would go on to play in the Theatres Royal at Drury Lane and Covent Garden, and see numerous performances throughout the English-speaking world for more than a century. The text was first published in 1765 for J. Newbery.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1862: A piece called The Maid of the Mill was performed by Clara Tellett and her company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 2 August, with Love in Humble Life (Scribé/Payne) and A Perfect Cure (Sapte). Though the title seems to suggest that the work performed was Bickerstaffe's comic opera The Maid of the Mill, the description suggests that the text performed is more likely to have been John Faucit Saville's play The Miller's Maid, which Mrs Tellet had actually performed earlier in her season under its correct title and with the same description. (Curiously, F.C.L. Bosman, 1980, p. 131 footnote 459, for some reason refers to Bickerstaffe's work as The Maid and the Mail.)


Facsimile version of J. Bell's 1797 edition of the opera, Google E-book[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.131,

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