La Casa de Bernarda Alba

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La Casa de Bernarda Alba ("the house of Bernarda Alba") is a Spanish play by Federico García Lorca (1898–1936)[1].

The original text

Lorca described the play in its subtitle as a drama of women in the villages of Spain. The House of Bernarda Alba was Lorca's last play, completed on 19 June 1936, two months before his death during the Spanish Civil War. The play was first performed on 8 March 1945 at the Avenida Theatre in Buenos Aires.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into English as The House of Bernarda Alba by James Graham-Lujan and Richard L. O'Connell. Published by New Directions, 1955.

Translated into Afrikaans as Die Huis van Bernarda Alba by Uys Krige. Published by Tafelberg Uitgewers (1980).

The English and Afrikaans translations were adapted into an Afrikaans play Die Huis van Maria Malan, set in South Africa, by Nico Luwes.

Performance history in South Africa

1951: The English translation staged in June for the University of Cape Town Drama Department in the Little Theatre, directed by Leonard Schach, featuring Edna Jacobson, Lydia Lindeque (as guest artist from the National Theatre), June Range, Irma Kushlick, Dorothy Nettleford, Edna Jacobson, Margaret Baxter, Connie Dix-Hart and Hazel Casson. Decor by Cecil Pym.

1952: The English translation staged in September by the Johannesburg REPS, directed by Leonard Schach, with a cast including Muriel Alexander, Molly Seftel and Mary Mitchell.

1961: The English translation was staged by the University of Natal, Department of Speech and Drama in the Howard College Theatre in September, directed by Pamela Robertson, featuring Gwenllian Edwardes-Evans (Bernarda), Renee Jacobsz (Maria Josefa), Diana Gay (Angustias), Jenifer Walter (Magdalena), Winifred Hagemann (Amelia), Denise Mockler (Martirio), Alexandra Watson (Adela), Colleen Moffett (Poncia), Jane Schoeman (Helena), Petra Backeberg (Prudencia) and Bruce Piper (Beggarman).

1962: The English translation staged by University Theatre Stellenbosch, directed by Jo Gevers who also designed the decor. The cast were Gertie Smith-Visser (Bernarda), Carmen Haddad, Annatjie Vorster, Louise Saayman, Ilse Geyer, Antoinette Terblanche, Leslie Young, Lena Eksteen, Estelle Knobel, Christine Basson and others. Lighting by Emile Aucamp, costumes designed by Marie Pentz.

1968: The English translation stagedresented by the University of Cape Town’s Speech and Drama Department at the Little Theatre in December, directed by Rosalie van der Gucht.

1973: Krige's Afrikaans translation, Die Huis van Bernarda Alba staged by the Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch in the H.B. Thom Theatre 18, 19, 14 and 25 May, directed by Ria Olivier, featuring Antoinette Kellermann as "Bernarda Alba", Esté Heynrych, Elsabe Kok, Jeannine le Roux, Coreen Olivier, Amanda Hubach, Sybil Coetzee, Jeanette du Plessis, Estelle Venter, Kundra Reitz, Tessa Cowan, Lize Treurnicht, Lois Malan, and a large cast of extras. Decor and costumes designed by Neels Hansen, lighting by Emile Aucamp, make-up by Pieter Bredenkamp. Music specially composed for the production by Hubert du Plessis.

1973: Krige's Afrikaans translation, Die Huis van Bernarda Alba was staged by the University of Pretoria Drama Department in September, directed by Fred Steyn, featuring Tersie Pauw (Bernarda), Marianne Bornman (Maria Josefa), Santa Venter (Angustias), Antonia Ockerse (Magdalena), Elize Lizamore (Amelia), Celeste de Wet (Martirio), Hildegard Fobian (Adela), Amanda van Zyl (Poncia), Lettie Fick & Phyllis Dannhauser (Bediende), Hermien du Plessis & Anne-Marie Venter (Prudencia), Liana Bornman (Bedelares) and Leelette Holloway (Dogtertjie).

1978: Presented in English by the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, as their entry to the S.A. University Drama Festival at the Sharp Festival of the Arts, Grahamstown. Directed by Graham Hopkins, starring Penny Morrell, Jane Voss, Liz Nangle, Barbie Schreiner, Jenny Andrew, Bronwyn Hamlyn, Evelyn Davidson, Anne Gilmaster, Jill Chaloner and Di Drust. Music composed by Jeremy Crutchley.

1989: Krige's Afrikaans translation, Die Huis van Bernarda Alba was staged by the University of Pretoria Drama Department in May, directed by Carel Trichardt, featuring Esther Nel (Bernarda), Hanli Buber (Maria Josefa), Riana van Vollenhoven (Angustias), Chantell Stander (Magdalena), Leonora de Souza (Amelia), Sorina Austin (Martirio), Helene Lombard (Adela), Ingrid Linde (Poncia), Anita van Vuuren (Bediende), Melinda Janse van Rensburg (Prudencia), Jean Beinlich (Bedelares) and Petro-Nelise Trichardt (Dogtertjie).

199*: Presented by UCT Drama School, produced and directed by Geoffrey Hyland.

2003: The English translation was staged at the Market Theatre in July, adapted by Rona Munro and directed by Swedish director Maria Weisby, with Lindiwe Ndlovu (Bernarda), Nthabiseng Baloyi (Angustias), Phindile Ntuli (Adela), Nomathamsanga Baleka (a magogo), Takalani Phophi (Martirio), Lerato Maku (Magdalena), Phindile Ntuli and Ntombi Maqalika (Amelia). Set designed by Nadya Cohen, costumes by Margo Fleisch and lighting by Nomvula Molepo.

2005: The Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch staged a production of Die Huis van Bernarda Alba in the H.B. Thom Theatre in August, directed by Suzaan Keyter, with Drama students.

2012: The Luwes adaptation Die Huis van Maria Malan was staged in March in the Wynand Mouton Theatre, Bloemfontein, directed by Nico Luwes with students of the UFS Department of Drama and Theatre Arts.


Helikon, 2(9):10.

University of Natal, Department of Speech and Drama theatre programme, 1961.

Listing of productions in the UTS programme for Arms and the Man, H.B. Thom Theatre, Stellenbosch, 1968 (held in ESAT Archive)

University of Pretoria Drama Department theatre programme, 1973.

HB Thom Theatre programme, Stellenbosch, 1973.

Inskip, 1972. p.154.

Inskip, 1977. p.118.

Sunday Independent, 13 July 2003.

The Star, 15 July 2003.

The Citizen, 15 July 2003.

Ruphin Coudyzer. 2023. Annotated list of his photographs of Market Theatre productions. (Provided by Coudyzer)

UTS theatre pamphlet, 2005.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

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