The Waterman, or The First of August

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The Waterman, or The First of August is a ballad opera, in two acts by Charles Dibdin (1745-1814)[1].

The original text

First performed at the Theatre-Royal, Haymarket. Published in London by London by T. Becket, 1774.

Translations and adaptations

Adapted as a one-act opera, simply named The Waterman, edited and arranged by William Young ()[] and Florian Pascal ()[].

Performance history in South Africa

1812: Performed in the African Theatre, Cape Town on 7 September by the Garrison Players, with The Poor Gentleman (Colman Jr).

1862: Performed as by Sefton Parry and his company in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, on 4 April, with The Honeymoon (Tobin). The evening a benefit for James Leffler. Bosman (1980: footnote on p. 112) wonders whether this may not have been the shorter version by Young and Pascal.

1868: Performed by the Le Roy and Duret company in the Commercial Exchange, Cape Town, on 3 Fabruary, with The Loan of a Lover (Planché) and songs by D'Arcy Read and Mr Toogood. The evening a benefit for Elsie Sidney and D'Arcy Read.

1870: Performed by the Young Men's Institute and Club Dramatic Company, Cape Town, on 2 September with The Scholar (Buckstone), as a benefit evening for Miss De Courtney.


"The waterman: or, the first of August: a ballad opera, in two acts. As it is performed at the Theatre-Royal, Hay-Market", Great Writers Inspire[2].

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: pp. 143, 173-4

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