The Cave Dwellers

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The Cave Dwellers is a comedy in two acts and ten scenes, by William Saroyan (1908–1981) [1].

The original text

The play explores the adventures of some homeless people who are camping out on the stage of an abandoned theatre that is about to be pulled down for a housing project. It opened at the Bijou Theatre 209 W. 45th Street, New York on 21 October, 1957, and was published by Samuel French in 1958.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1959: Presented by National Theatre Organisation's Kamertoneel Bellville, opening 10 August. Directed by Victor Melleney, starring Don Howie (The Duke), Felicity Bosman (The Girl), Eveline Garratt (The Queen), Alec Bell (The King), Icky Kurgan (The Father), Peter Goxall (Gorky), Jill Gould (The Mother), Chris Fourie (The Silent Boy), Victor Melleney (Boss), Ken Law (Jamie). Athol Fugard was the stage manager, decor by Frank Graves and lighting was by Pip Marshall.

1960: Produced by National Theatre Organisation (NTO), on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the University of Natal in Durban. Directed by Victor Melleney, with Alec Bell (The King), Sheelagh Ross (The Queen), Nigel Hawthorne (The Duke), Evelyn Frank (The Girl), Helene de Jong (The Mother), Anthony James (The Father), Brian Proudfoot (Gorky), Michael Coulson (Jamie), Ken Law (The Silent Boy) and Lansbury Botha (Boss). Decor by Frank Graves, costumes by Doreen Graves and production management by Michal Grobbelaar.


NTO theatre programme of The Cave Dwellers, 1960.

Petru & Carel Trichardt theatre programme collection.

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