The New Clown

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The New Clown is a play in three acts by H.M. Paull (Harry Major Paull, 1854-1934)[1].

The original text

A play about Lord Cyril Garston, who thinks he has killed a man and becomes a clown in a touring circus.

Previewed at the Grand Theatre, Margate on 3 February 1902, before opening at Terry's Theatre, London, on 8 February, in 1902, with James Welch as "Lord Cyril Garston". It transferred to The Comedy Theatre, London, on 22 March. The text was published in the same year.

After a tour of the colonies by the James Welch Company in 1903, the play was once more done at Terry's Theatre, London, from 31 March-28 April 1904. The play and the role of "Lord Cyril Garston" would become a staple part of Welch's repertoire.

It opened on Broadway at the Garrick Theatre in 25 August, with an American cast, and played into September.

Translations and adaptations

The play was filmed in 1916 by Fred Paul, James Welch once more in the role of "Lord Cyril Garston".

In 1925 the play was adapted as a musical piece called Boodle, with a book by Sydney Blow and Douglas Hoare, and was first performed at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Birmingham on 26 December, 1924, before moving to the Empire Theatre, London to open on 10 March, 1925.

Performance history in South Africa

1903: Forming part of the repertoire of the James Welch Company on their tour of South Africa under the management of Sass and Nelson, The New Clown was done as their debut performance in South Africa by James Welch and his company in the Opera House, Cape Town, on 4 January. The rest of their repertoire included The Man in the Street (Parker), Cousin Kate (Howard) and My Arful Valet (Mortimer).

1904: The James Welch Company returned to the Opera House, Cape Town at the beginning of the year for another short season with the four plays.


J.P. Wearing. 2013. The London Stage 1900-1909: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel, Scarecrow Press: pp. 90, 286[2]

J.P. Wearing. 2014. The London Stage 1920-1929: A Calendar of Productions, Performers, and Personnel, Rowman & Littlefield: p.350 [3]

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.412, 417

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