The Threepenny Opera

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The Threepenny Opera is a political musical by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. An English translation from the original German text (Die Dreigroschenoper)

The translation has also been called The Tupenny-Ha'penny Opera (by the BBC) or even The Ha'penny Opera (see Jody Abrahams for instance).

The German version, done in collaboration with translator Elisabeth Hauptmann and set designer Caspar Neher, was adapted from an 18th-century English ballad opera, John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, and offers a Socialist critique of the capitalist world. It opened on 31 August 1928 at Berlin's Theater am Schiffbauerdamm.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

The musical has often been done in South Africa.

1938: Done in English at the Pioneer Theatre, Johannesburg, directed and designed by Leo Kerz.

1958: Presented by Taubie Kushlick [7.11.1958].

1981: A Troupe Theatre Company production was presented at the Grahamstown Festival in July and at the Market Theatre in August. In the cast were Hilary Jones, Bill Curry, Fiona Ramsay, Fred Abrahamse, Roz Monat, Sean Taylor, Chris Galloway, Neil McCarthy and Penny Lorimer.

1987: An English translation (by Ralph Mannheim and John Willett) was performed in South Africa in September 1987. This was a student production.The director was Malcolm Purkey, designed by Paul Roumanoff and musical direction by Richard and Susan Cock. Lighting by Paul Abrams. Choreography: Esther Nasser. Cast included Kellam Beard, Richard Harrison, Megan Wilson, Daniella Roman, Zane Meas, Sarah Leftwich, Lisa Melman, Natalie Coyle, Gerard Bester, Brigid Schutz, Dominique Pascale, Chantal Nativel, Craig Freimond, Gladwin Marumo, Mandy Crock, Beverley Crook, Mickey Dube, Michelle Baker, Dorothy Brislin, Rosie Fiore, Mich'ele Levin, Heidi Britten, Michelle Kramer, Isabel Smook, Jennifer Yuill, Christine Comino, Lara Foot, Edward Jordan, Janice Kramer, Teresa Lintvelt, Beverley Shor, Kate Alexander, Bronwyn Keene-Young, Victor Maloka, Tale Motsepe and Gert Pretorius. The orchestra included Richard Cock, Susan Cock, Charles Wiffen, Caroline Hobbs, Liza Crouch, Alan Thompson, Gaby Gunders, Dain Peters, Reinet Nortj'e and Robert Evans. Stage director: Siphiwe Khumalo. Stage Manager: Gillian Glauber.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Afrikaans as Drie-Pennie-Opera by Arnold Blumer en Hennie Aucamp.


Wikipedia [1].

Photograph held by NELM (Troupe Theatre Company production): [Collection: MARKET THEATRE]: 2004. 30. 5. 154.

Programme of play done in 1987 at Wits Theatre, The School of Dramatic Art.

Colin Naylor, 1990. Contemporary designers, p. 294.

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