Special Collections & Archives

 

Charles Dickens Theatre Collection

The Cricket on the Hearth

The third of Dickens’ Christmas stories, The Cricket on the Hearth, marked a rise in popularity compared to recent Dickens adaptations. The author once again gave his support to a production at the Lyceum, but pirate versions quickly appeared. Benjamin Webster, something of a prince of the dramatic trade in London during the mid-nineteenth century, put a Dickens adaptation on the stage of the Haymarket Theatre for the first time in January 1846. Edward Stirling, the stalwart Dickens adaptor, followed as swiftly as he could with a version at the Adelphi, but even Stirling found himself swamped by piracies, with at least 30 productions of this seasonal tale in the first year of its life. For once, it was the authorised version at the Lyceum which turned out to be the most popular, with over 60 performances.

The Cricket on the Hearth was produced sporadically through the 1850s, but revived with huge popularity by Dion Boucicault’s Dot. In This version, a ‘fairy episode’ was added, which used many Shakespearean characters and so made a deliberate connection between Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. Actresses were also important in this version, just as the popular practice of women playing suffering children on stage was beginning to wane.

Audience enthusiasm for this tale continued through the 1860s and continued through to the 1920s, even though the popularity of Dickens on stage was then beginning to wane.

Special Collections Holdings


Item type Item information Author Item number
Book

A Christmas Carol in prose ; The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth

Copyright edition

(Bernard Tauchnitz, 1846)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1850)
F126836
Book

The Cricket on the Hearth, a fairy tale of home.

(Bradbury & Evans, 1846)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1850)
0012098
F063663
Playscript

The Cricket on the Hearth : a fairy tale, in three chirps

(first performed at the City of London Theatre, January 7th, 1848)

William Thompson Townsend
(1806-1870)
0596215
Playbill

A Private Inquiry, One Touch of Nature and Dot

(performed at the Theatre Royal New Adelphi, London, 14 April 1862)

Benjamin Webster Jnr.

Dion Boucicault
(1820-1890)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

F190656
Playscript

The Cricket on the Hearth; or, A fairy tale of home

(J. Dicks, 1880)

Albert Smith
(1816-1860)

 

0597109
0595666
Programme

Dot

(performed at the Folly Theatre, London, 28 May 1851)

Dion Boucicault
(1820-1890)
F648136
Programme

Taking it Easy, Dot and Mr Guffin’s Elopement

(performed at Toole’s Theatre, London, 8 January, 1883)

Dion Boucicault
(1820-1890)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

F190657
Programme

A Broken Sixpence, Dot and The Steeplechase ; or, Toole in the Pigskin

(performed at Toole's Theatre, London, 24 December, 1889)

Dion Boucicault
(1820-1890)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

F190658
Playscript

The Cricket on the Hearth

(Naussau Steam Press, unknown date)

Edward Stirling
(1807-1894)

0595772
Playscript

The Cricket on the Hearth: a fairy tale of Rome

(first performed at the Theatre Royal, Adelphi, London, 31 December 1845)

Edward Stirling
(1807-1894)

0595770
0595771
Playscript

The Cricket on the Hearth: a fairy tale of home in three chirps, adapted from Mr. Charles Dickens's popular story

(first performed at the City of London Theatre, January 7th, 1846)

William Thompson Townsend
(1806-1870)
0596710
Programme

The Cricket on the Hearth

(performed at the Garrick Theatre, London, 1 December 1903)

Dion Boucicault
(1820-1890)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

F172538
Review

The Cricket on the Hearth

(performed at the Garrick Theatre, London)

from: Play Pictorial v. 4, no. 20, 1904

Arthur Bourchier
(1863-1927)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

041904
Programme

The Hope of the World and The Cricket on the Hearth

(performed at the Old Vic, London, 22 December 1922)

Father Andrew
(1869-1946)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

F172563

 

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Last Updated: 11/01/2018