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The Woman in White at the Olympic Theatre.

Scene from The Woman in White at the Olympic Theatre


The Woman in White was first performed as 'A Drama in Three Acts' at the Surrey Theatre (Blackfriars Road, Lambeth) - a short-lived pirated production opening on 3 November 1860 with a revival at the Theatre Royal, Leicester, 26 August 1870.  Collins's own version of the The Woman in White, extensively rewritten from the novel, ran with great success at the Olympic Theatre from 9 October 1871 to 24 February 1872.  The original cast consisted of Wybert Reeve as Walter Hartright, George Vining as Fosco, Ada Dyas as Laura Fairlie and Anne Catherick, and Mrs Viner as Marian  Halcombe.  [ Cast list]

Wybert Reeve.

Edmund Garden.

Wybert Reeve who played Walter Hartright.

Edmund Garden who played Mr Kyrle, the lawyer.

Reeve later played Fosco both at the Olympic and on provincial tour, as well as for a two week run at the Broadway Theatre, New York from 15 December 1873.  Reviews of the London production were published as Specimens of Criticism Extracted from Notices of "The Woman in White" in the Press (16 pp, 1871).  Fred Walker designed the arresting poster for the play which was in turn used by F. W. Waddy to caricature Collins in Once a Week, 24 February 1872.  A German version of the play was a great hit in Berlin during December 1866 and Reeve produced his own adaptation with the Majeroni Company at the Bijou Theatre Melbourne from the 6 to 16 August 1887.


The Woman in White at the Olympic Theatre.

The Woman in White: a Drama in Prologue and Four Acts. (Altered from the novel for performance on the stage.) was 'Published by the author' in 1871 (1 vol, 172 pp, buff paper wrappers).  There have been at least two versions in the twentieth century: by Dan Sutherland at the "Q" Theatre, London, 25 May 1954 (Mystery at Blackwater, French's Acting Edition, no 326, London 1955); and by Melissa Murray, Greenwich Theatre, 1 December 1988.


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