Stage Struck

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According to Allardyce Nicoll (1975), there have been many plays known by the title Stage Struck (also written Stage-Struck), including a number by anonymous authors - e.g. The Stage-Struck Lady (1819),The Stage-Struck Apothecary (1827), Stage-Struck (1837 - by Dimond?), The Stage-Struck Yankee (1845),

Of current relevance here are two plays ascribed to William Dimond - Stage Struck, (Dimond, 1835), and Stage Struck, or The Loves of Augustus Portarlington and Celectina Beverley (Cobb/Dimond, 1853), and one by Simon Gray (Stage Struck, 1979)

Stage Struck by William Dimond (1835)

This is a farce by William Dimond (1781–1837?)[1], first performed English Opera House on 12 November, 1835, featuring Ira Aldridge as "Jeronimo Othello Thespis" - a role clearly written for him. It was later revived at Madame Vestris's Royal Olympic Theatre, then went on tour - now named Theatre Mad, or The African Roscius. The text was never published.

According to Bernth Lindfors (2011: p.199[2]), this should not be confused with the Cobb/Dimond play Stage Struck, or The Loves of Augustus Portarlington and Celectina Beverley, they are two different works.

Stage Struck, or The Loves of Augustus Portarlington and Celectina Beverley (Cobb/Dimond, 1853)

This is farce in one act adapted from Love in the East, or Adventures of Twelve Hours (1788) by James Cobb (1756-1818)[3] The Dimond version was first performed Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1853.

Stage Struck by Simon Gray (1979)

This is a macabre comedy thriller by British playwright Simon Gray [4] (1936-2008). First performed in 1979 at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, starring Alan Bates. Published by Samuel French ISBN: 9780573114144.

Performance history in South Africa

1875: A play called Stage Struck (ascribed to Dimond) was performed by Disney Roebuck and his company in the Bijou Theatre, Cape Town, on 7 May, with Frou-Frou, or Fashion and Folly (Webster). Given the fact that only the second text was published, this is most likely to have been the 1853 one act adaptation of Cobb's play.

1980: Simon Gray's play performed by the Toerien-Firth Company in July, directed by Stephen Hollis (who had directed the West End production in 1979) and starring Michael McGovern and Kenneth Baker.


Allardyce Nicoll. 1975. A History of English Drama 1660-1900: Late 19th Century Drama 1850-1900 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press:p.538[5].

Bernth Lindfors. 2011. Ira Aldridge: The Vagabond Years, 1833-1852 University of Rochester Press:P. 60[6],+James,+1756-1818

Facsimile version of Love in the East, or Adventures of Twelve Hours, Hathi Trust Digital Library[7]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.203-205

Tucker, 1997. 387.

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