Ten Little Niggers

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Ten Little Niggers is a play based on an eponymous mystery novel by Agatha Christie (1890-1976)[1].

The play was also called Ten Little Indians. Now known as And Then There Were None.

The original novel

The novel was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939 as Ten Little Niggers, after the British blackface song which serves as a major plot point. The title was changed to the last line of the rhyme – And Then There Were None – for the first American edition, which used the original American version of the song. That song title, Ten Little Indians, was used for some editions, until the Christie estate formally approved the US title of the work.

For the United States market, the novel was first serialised in the Saturday Evening Post in seven parts from 20 May (Volume 211, Number 47) to 1 July 1939 (Volume 212, Number 1) with illustrations by Henry Raleigh and then published separately in book form in January 1940. Both publications used the less offensive title And Then There Were None. The 1945 motion picture also used this title.

The original play text

In 1946, the play adapted as a play

Performed as Ten Little Indians on Broadway

The text was published as Ten Little Indians and in 1964 an American paperback edition also used this title.

Translations and adaptations

Adapted as a musical in 1975 as Something's Afoot.

Performance history in South Africa

1969: Performed as Ten Little Niggers by the amateur Libertas Teaterklub at the Libertas Theatre in Stellenbosch in February, directed by Marie van Heerden, with Albert van Tonder (Rogers), Kay Rawbone (Mrs. Rogers), Rocky Gagiano (Narracot), Jean McDonald (Vera), Paul Day (Philip), Peter Viljoen (Anthony), Fred Stephens (William), Pen Gorringe (Mrs. Clarendon), Jane Turner (Emily), Gerhard Roux (Sir Lawrence) and Brenda von Memerty (Dr Armstrong).

Performed as Ten Little Niggers by the Brian Brooke Company, date and venue unknown. (Photocopies of programmes for productions by the Brian Brooke Company held by NELM: [Collection: ASCH, Valda]: 2005. 65. 7. 11.)

1979: Performed as Ten Little Indians in the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, by the Pieter Toerien company, directed by visiting English director Charles Hickman and starring Stuart Brown, Eckard Rabe and Yvonne Banning and others.

1980: Performed as Ten Little Indians by the Pieter Toerien company with the same cast at the André Huguenet Theatre, Johannesburg, and the Alexander Theatre, Johannesburg.



NELM: [Collection: ASCH, Valda]: 2005. 65. 7. 11.)

Barrow, Brian and Williams-Short, Yvonne (eds.). 1988. Theatre Alive! The Baxter Story 1977-1987. Cape Town: The Baxter Theatre

Tucker, Percy 1997. Just the Ticket. My 50 Years in Show Business. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press: p.387.

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