The Spoiled Child

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The Spoiled Child is a farce in two acts generally ascribed to Isaac Bickerstaffe (1733-1812?)[1] (His name is sometimes wrongly written Bickerstaff). However it is also ascribed variously to Mrs. Jordan and Richard Ford.

The original text

A play by this name was licenced in 1790 and first performed at the Theatre-Royal, Smock-Alley. A copy printed in 1792 "for the bookseller" (no author named). Later included in A Volume of Farces as they are performed at the Theatre Smock Alley, Dublin, listed as "of doubtful authorship". In the 1822 Oxberry's edition of the play the writer of the preface ("P.P.") also claims that the author was unknown.

F.C.L. Bosman (1928: pp. 200-201) cites a play called The Unspoiled Child by the performing company. He assumes this was actually the Bickerstaffe text.

Performance history in South Africa

1818: Performed on 7 February in Cape Town by the English Theatricals company (former Garrison Players) in the African Theatre, with Speed the Plough (Morton).

1824: Performed on 11 September by the English Theatricals company in the African Theatre Cape Town , as afterpiece to Inkle and Yarico (Colman Jr). It was done as a benefit for Mrs Black.

1826: Performed on 29 July by the English Theatricals company in the African Theatre Cape Town , as The Unspoiled Child, with Past 10 o'Clock and a Rainy Night (Dibdin) and Gallant Truths, or Sprigs of No-A-Bility (Anon).


F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [2]: pp. 153, 199, 201.

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