The Happiest Days of Your Life

Revision as of 14:38, 3 May 2024 by Darryl (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Happiest Days of Your Life is a farce by John Dighton [1] (1909 – 1989).

The original text

The play is set after World War II, and shows what happens when a boys' school receives the news that they are to billet another school which is all female. The character "Miss Muriel Whitchurch" had been written for Margaret Rutherford, who played it in the first production at London's Apollo Theatre in 1948.

Became the basis for the 1950 British comedy film directed by Frank Launder, one of a series of classic British film comedies produced by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat for British Lion Film Corporation. Script co-written by Dighton.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into Afrikaans as Gelukkige Dae by A.J.B. de Klerk. A typewritten copy of this translation (with the alternative title Die Gelukkigste Dae) is available at the Stellenbosch University Library, Manuscripts Section. Reference 31/17/10.

Translated into Afrikaans, entitled Onnies en Ouers, by A.J.B. de Klerk. Published by DALRO, 1971.

Performance history in South Africa

1950: Presented by The Brian Brooke Company at His Majesty's Theatre. This production was also staged at the Hofmeyr Hall in Cape Town, directed by Mary Byron and starring Michael Drinn (who took over the role at short notice), Kathleen Williams, John Roberts, Dianna Beaumont (Diana Beaumont?), Hilda Kriseman and Lawrence Ayris.

1952: Performed in English for the East Rand Theatre Club in 1952, directed by ??**.

1952: Performed in Afrikaans as Die Gelukkigste Dae, directed by Leonie Pienaar for K.A.T. in December 1952, starring Nerina Ferreira, Kestelle Herbert, Herman Steytler, Francois Marais. The play was taken on tour to Durbanville, The Strand, Morreesburg and Bellville.

1953: Performed in Afrikaans for J.A.A.T.S. in 1953 by Aletta Gericke. The cast for the performance in Afrikaans included Gys Steyn, Natie Steyn, Billy Pretorius, Frances Coertze, Willem van Heerden, Jan Esterhuizen and others.

1953: Performed in Afrikaans by the Bloemfonteinse Teatergroep in March 1953 in the Visser Hall, Bloemfontein, directed by Bessie Kotzé. The cast included Margaretha Spies, Schalk Theron, Jan Eksteen, Anna van Biljon, Ulrich Fabian, Lina Waldeck, Pieter van Aswegen, Maria Bosman, Alice Wilmot, Jaco Kruger, Philip de Wet, William Harding and Marietjie Mostert. Decor and costumes by Hennie van Deventer and Dollie Serfontein. Hans Binswanger***???.

1953: In an Intimate Theatre production of The Happiest Days of Your Life in December 1953, Diane Wilson played Barbara Cahoun.

1955: Toured in Afrikaans as Gelukkige Dae by National Theatre Organisation in 1955, playing for 66 performances. Directed by Schalk Theron, with Pieter Geldenhuys, Elsa Fouché, Reenen van Niekerk, Kobus Botha, Louw Botes, Jane Potgieter, Bettie Coetsee, Pieter Wilcocks, Eugene von Bülow and Petro van der Walt.

1973: Presented by the Dramatic Society of East London, directed by Lynette Alexander (14-22 September). With Roger Corfield, Ian Jamie, Bruce Cooper, Colin Healey, Juliet Lazarus, Denise Cranke, Bruce James, Rosanne Horwitz, Mel Dicks, Ken Burgess, Nova Newlyn, Les Ruhrmund, Denise Archer.


Trek, 14(10):44, 1950.

Undated clipping from Die Burger found in a scrapbook prepared by Sophie Snyman, student in Speech and Drama at the University of Stellenbosch, dated 1951.

Helikon, 2(11), 1953.

Helikon, 2(12), 1953.

Lantern, 5(3):283-286. Feb 1956.

Nel, 1972. 102-3.

George Mountjoy programme collection.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to PLAYS I: Original SA plays

Return to PLAYS II: Foreign plays

Return to PLAYS III: Collections

Return to PLAYS IV: Pageants and public performances

Return to South African Festivals and Competitions

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page