Trial by Jury

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Three works called (or containing the title) Trial by Jury have been performed, or offered as performed readings, in the country.

The Trial by Jury by Theodore Hook (1788–1841)[1]

This is a comic piece, in two acts, first performed at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, on 25 May, 1811 and published in London by ** and in New York by The Longworths in the same year.

Apparently a public lecture on the play was delivered by the actor and stage manager C. Bland in the Mechanic's Institute, Cape Town, in August of 1861.


F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p. 102

Angela Esterhammer. 2012. "Theodore Hook" in Burwick and Hoeveler, The Encyclopedia of Romantic Literature John Wiley & Sons[2]

Trial by Jury by Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900)[3] and Arthur Gilbert (1836-1911)[4]

The original text

A comic opera in one act with a libretto by Gilbert, based on an earlier work he had done called Trial by Jury: An Operetta, a single-page parody written for the magazine Fun in 1868. The music for the collaborative piece was supplied by Sullivan. The work was described as "A Novel and Original Dramatic Cantata" in the original promotional material and tells of a "breach of promise of marriage" lawsuit in which the judge and legal system are the objects of lighthearted satire.

The operetta was first performed at the Royalty Theatre, London, on 25 March 1875, to great success.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

By far the best known of the texts with this name, this has been widely performed in the country over the years.

Performances by the various Gilbert and Sullivan societies

(See entries on each society for details):

The Cape Town Gilbert and Sullivan Society: Staged in 1953, 1956, 1966, 1969, 1973, 1984 and 2006.

The Port Elizabeth Gilbert & Sullivan Society: Staged in 1954, 1955, 1971 and 1977.

Productions by other companies over the years

1995: Student production by the University of Witwatersrand in 1995. Directed by Fred Hagemann. A new orchestration - Walter Mony. Production designed by Carel van der Westhuizen. Assisted by Izak Hebler. Lighting design by Gerry Coughlan. With the Wits Symphony Orchestra. Conducted by Walter Mony.


Theatre programme held by NELM: [Collection: FARMER, Anthony]: 2007. 18. 13. 1011. (1995 production).

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Trial by Jury of Dr Abstinence by an anonymous author

A propaganda piece performed by the Total Abstinence Society, Cape Town in 1863.

See Trial by Jury of Dr Abstinence

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