The Sport of My Mad Mother

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The Sport of My Mad Mother is a play by Ann Jellicoe [1]] (born 15 July 1927). A play about the rootless youth in the jungle of the modern city, which marked an important step in the movement initiated by Beckett with Waiting for Godot. Set in a cockney neighborhood of London, it combines realism, mysticism, music, dance, and ritual to create a powerful, feminist myth about modern civilization.

The original text

A prize-winner in the 1956 playwright’s competition by The Observer, it was first staged by the Royal Court Theatre in 1958 and directed by George Devine and Jellicoe. Although originally a commercial failure, the play was later performed all over the world in many different languages. Jellicoe revised the original 1958 version in 1962 to create a better play.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1961-1962: Directed by Robert Mohr during the 1961 Student's Art Festival entitled “Imagination ‘61” and was performed in the "temporary room” on the UCT campus, starring Roger Dwyer and John Mitchell. The production was later invited to Loughborough Student’s Winter Festival in England, in 1962.

1972: Performed in South Africa at the Space Theatre in 1972 directed by David Lan, with Jane Auld, Stefan Bubenzer, Sean Baumann, Arthur Day, Michael Hough, Minky Schlesinger and Maralin Vanrenen. Stage Manager Bee Berman.

1989: Directed by Sarah Roberts for the Standard Bank National Arts Festival student drama competition in July 1989.


Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

Inskip 1972. p.97.

Astbury, 1979.

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