The Woman in White

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The Woman in White can refer to the famous novel by Wilkie Collins (1824-1889)[1] and to a number of dramatized versions of the novel.

The Novel

The Woman in White is a highly regarded novel by Wilkie Collins ()[], written in 1859 and is viewed as one of the the first mystery novels and so called "sensation novels". First published in serial form in 1859–60, in both Charles Dickens' magazine All the Year Round (UK) and Harper's Weekly (USA). It was published in book form in 1860.


Stage adaptations

The novel has been adapted in many ways over the years, including theatrical versions under various other titles. Among those titled The Woman in White have been a "Surrey Theatre stage sensation melodrama"( 1860) and a "stage melodrama" by Wilkie Collins(1871),

Among the later versions have been versions by Tim Kelly (1974, a melodrama called Egad, the Woman in White), Andrew Lloyd Webber (stage musical, 2004) and Constance Cox (play, 2008).

The Woman in White by Sutton Vane Sr (1860s)

The original text

Translations and adaptations

The White Queen by Boulding/Palgrave(?) (1890s)

Not to be confused with Philippa Gregory's novel or the BBC series based on it.

The original text

An historical play set in the time of Louis XII, The White Queen is a dramatization of Wilkie Collins's mystery novel The Woman in White (), and was specifically written for the actress Lillian Beddard, said by her to be by "Palgrave of London" (other sources have is a play, with J.W. Boulding as the author).

The play was most successfully produced in London by Bedard, who later took it on her many international tours as part of her repertoire.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history of the various stage versions in South Africa

1867: The Woman in White performed (possibly in the Sutton Vane version) on 21 and 24 October in the Theatre Royal, Harrington Street, Cape Town, by the Le Roy and Duret Company, with a "Grand Pas Seul" by Miss Clara and A Model Husband (Wooler).

1867: Performed by the Le Roy and Duret Company in the Theatre Royal, Harrington Street, Cape Town, on 4 November, with The Loan of a Lover (Planché) and the "Grand Scarf", a dance by Miss Clara.

1888-9 The White Queen performed by Lillian Beddard and her company in South Africa, inter alia at the Theatre Royal, Johannesburg, with Beddard as "Lady Mary".


Laurence Wright. "Shakespeare in South Africa: The Nineteenth Century". Internet Shakespeare Editions[online]. University of Victoria, Accessed 16 July 2020[2]

"A Grass Widow Now, Lillian Beddard Will Face the Footlights and Her Diamonds Alone", in The San Francisco Call, Monday, March 30, 1896[3]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 388-9

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