The Collector

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The Collector [1] is a novel by John Fowles [2], as well as the title of a number of dramatizations of the book.

The novel

This was Fowles's debut novel, appearing in 1963.

Translations and adaptations

The Collector has been adapted as a film and three versions have been written for the stage.

The feature film [3] was made by William Wyler in 1965.

The first stage adaptation was by David Parker and Fowles in 1973. Staged with Marianne Faithfull and Simon Williams at St Martin's Theatre in the West End, it received bad reviews.

Another stage version, by Mark Healy, was first performed at the Derby Playhouse in October 1998.

A third adaptation was done by Tim Dalgleish and Caz Tricks for Bare Bones Theatre Company, Wolverton, Milton Keynes, in 1999.

South African versions

David Parker and Fowles's stage adaptation was translated into Afrikaans as Die Vlindervanger ( Lit. "The Butterfly Catcher") by Johann van Heerden, for production by students of the Drama Department, Stellenbosch University in 1986. Directed by Van Heerden.

The novel was also the inspiration for The South African Collector by Dennis Schauffer.

Performance history in South Africa

1973: David Parker’s The Collector presented by CAPAB English Drama in the Hofmeyr Theatre, opening 12 May, directed by Keith Grenville.

circa 1975: Presented by Tekwan, directed and designed by Johannesburg painter and sculptor Michael Costello, starring Reza de Wet (Miranda) and Christopher Consani (Clegg).

1981: The Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival presented David Parker’s The Collector at the Port Elizabeth Opera House from July 2 - 4, 1981. Cast: Bruce Sanderson (Ferdinand Clegg), Amber Cummins (Miranda Grey), and Ian Liston (Bowles).

1982: A Baxter Theatre production of Parker's adaptation was directed by Keith Grenville and designed by Fred Abrahamse, starring Sean Taylor (Clegg), Janet du Plessis (Miranda) and Frank Kendall (Bowles). The play opened in the Baxter Studio on 3 February 1982.

1984: Presented by [[Graham Wright] and The Baxter Company at the Intimate Theatre, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, starring Sean Taylor and Joanna Weinberg. Peter Krummeck directed, decor by Fred Abrahamse

1986: The première production of Die Vlindervanger, Johann van Heerden's Afrikaans translation was staged by the University Theatre of Stellenbosch (UTS) in the H.B. Thom Theatre in March 1986, directed by Van Heerden with Jozua van der Lugt (Clegg), Illse Roos (Miranda) and Jannie Hofmeyr (Bowles). Costumes by Elaine Aucamp, lighting by Emile Aucamp and technical assistance by Roland Visser and Casper de Vries.


Nico Malan Theatre pamphlet, May 1973.

Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival Young 'Uns theatre programme, 1981.

The Collector theatre programme (Baxter Theatre, 1982).

Review by Raeford Daniel, The Rand Daily Mail, 5 June 1984 (Intimate Theatre production).

Barrow, Brian & Williams-Short, Yvonne 1988.

Curriculum Vitae of Johann van Heerden (2011)

Copy of Johann van Heerden's Afrikaans translation found in the Stellenbosch Drama Department archives in 2022.

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