Special Collections & Archives

 

Charles Dickens Theatre Collection

Oliver Twist

Serialised between February 1837 until April 1939, Oliver Twist was one of the most successful of any Dickens adaptation. Dickens himself considered dramatising the novel early in 1938, but was rebuffed by William Macready, his friend and the manager of Covent Garden at this time, who described the dramatisation of the novel as an 'utterly impossibility'. Instead, the same playwrights who had dramatised Pickwick and Boz's Sketches began their work. The first production of Oliver Twist was performed at St James theatre, London, on 27 March 1838; adaptations swiftly spread across the country.

In November 1838, the first production to incorporate the whole story (following the completion of serialisation in April) was staged at the Royal Surrey Theatre, dramatised by George Almar. Dickens allegedly found the performance so unbearable that he lay down on the floor of his box in the middle of the first scene and remained there for the rest of the performance. This was, however, one of the most successful and popular adaptations of the novel. By January 1839, productions of Oliver Twist had reached America.

By 1850, over 40 productions of Oliver Twist had been performed in various guises. The story was particularly well received in the industrial north of Britain. The content of the dramatisations - derived from the novel - was often an issue for the Examiner of Plays, who proved rather ineffectual at weeding out the unsavoury narrative of juvenile criminality.

Actors such as Mrs. Keely and O. Smith in Britain and Charlotte Cushman in America drew upon the fame of Dickens' work and reflected their own fame back onto the parts they took in Oliver Twist. Well over 100 productions of Oliver Twist had been acted around the world by the year of Dickens' death. The story remains one of the best known Dickens' dramas today, largely due to the continuing success of the dramatic adaptations.

Special Collections Holdings

 

Item type Item information Author Item number
Playscript

Oliver Twist; or, The parish boy's progress... adapted from the novel by Mr Charles Dickens

(T. H. Lacy, 1838)

C. Z. Barnett

0590145

Playscript

Oliver Twist...as performed at the Royal Surrey Theatre

(Chapman and Hall, 1838)

George Almar

0590069
0590070
Playscript

Oliver Twist

(J. Dicks, 1838)

George Almar

0596893
Playbill

Oliver Twist and Popping the Question and A Day Well Spent

(performed at the Royal Surrey Theatre,
11 December 1838)

George Almar

0596394
Playbill

Oliver Twist and William Tell and The Kingdom of Women

(performed at the City of London Theatre,
11 December 1838)

unknown

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

James Sheridan Knowles
(1784-1862)

William Thomas Moncrieff
(1794-1857)

059529
Playbill

Storm Demon and Herne the Hunter and Oliver Twist

(performed at the Royal City of London Theatre, 29-31 May 1843)

T. P. Taylor

William Harrison Ainsworth
(1805-1882)

unknown

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

0595528
Playbill

Oliver Twist and The Flip-Flap Footman and The Sea Wolf

(performed at the City of London Theatre,
28 July 1845)

unknown

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Richard Brinsley Peake
(1792-1847)

Cooper Fox

0595527
Playscript

Oliver Twist; or, The parish boy's progress

(H. Beale, unknown)

Harwood Cooper
(fl. 1800s)

0590822
Playbill

The Lonely Man of the Ocean, The Rival Dukes and Oliver Twist

(performed at the Adelphi Theatre, Edinburgh, 25 August 1849)

Thomas G. Blake
(fl. 1830-1854)

unknown

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

0595631
Playbill

The Man of the World and Oliver Twist

(performed at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh,

17 April 1854)

Charles Macklin
(1697-1797)

unknown

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

0595634
Playbill

School for Diplomacy, The Wedding Day, Oliver Twist

(performed at the Adelphi Theatre, Edinburgh, 28 September 1854)

unknown

unknown

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

0595632
Playbill

Rag-pickers of Paris and the Dressmaker of St. Antoine, Robert Macaire and Oliver Twist

(performed at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, 22 February 18??)

unknown

unknown

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

0595599
Playbill

Oliver Twist, The House-dog and The Old Chateau

(performed at the Theatre Royal, Bristol,
13-14
February 1855)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Thomas Higgie (1808-1893)

Joseph Stirling Coyne
(1803-1868)

0594046
Playbill

Constantia, the Venetian Maid, Oliver Twist and Jack Sheppard

(performed at the Royal Victoria Theatre,
25-30 August 1856)

Frederick Neale

George Almar

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

unknown

0595554
Playbill

The Six Escapes of a Robber and Oliver Twist

(performed at the New City of London Theatre, 20-26 August 1859)

William Travers
(1842-1880)

Colin Henry Hazlewood
(1823-1875)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

0595519
Playbill

An Old Offender, If the Cap Fits, That Blessed Baby and Oliver Twist

(performed at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow, 17 September 1859)

James Robinson Planché
(1796-1880)


Edmund Hodgson Yates
(1831-1894)


J. George Moore

 

Charles Dickens

(1812-1870)

0595601
Playbill

Oliver Twist and Nothing to Nurse and Susan Hopley

(performed at the Queen's Theatre, London, 10-12 December 1859)

Charles Dickens

(1812-1870)

C. M. Walcot

George Dibdin Pitt (1799-1855)

0597359
Playbill

The Carpenter of Rouen, The Miller and his Men, Oliver Twist and Thirty Years of a Gambler's Life

(performed at the Royal Queens Theatre, Manchester, 3-7 June 1867)

Joseph Stevens Jones
(1811-1877)

unknown

Charles Dickens

(1812-1870)

unknown

0595614
Playscript

Oliver Twist: dramatization of the Charles Dickens novel of the same name

(unpublished typescript, c.1870)

Andrew Melville II
(1882-1938)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

0599750
Playbill

A Cure for the Fidgets, Uncle Dick's Darling and Oliver Twist

(performed at the Theatre Royal, Dublin,
3 September 1870
)

Thomas John Williams
(1824-1874)

Henry James Byron
(1835-1884)

Charles Dickens

(1812-1870)

0595629
Playscript

Oliver Twist [a collection of parts]

(unpublished, 18??)

unknown 0598909
Playscript

Oliver Twist: a Sketch in Five Scenes

(unpublished, 18??)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Arthur Williams
(1844-1915)

0598302

0598303

Playbill

East Lynne, My Turn Next, Ici On Parle Français and Oliver Twist.

(performed at the Old Theatre Royal, Bristol, 18-23 January 1875)

Mrs. Henry Wood
(1814-1887)

Thomas John Williams
(1824-1874)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

0594027
Programme

Diamond Cut Diamond, Nancy Sikes and A Congress at Paris.

(performed at the Royal Olympic Theatre, London, 15 July 1878)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Edward Rose
( 1849-1904)

F174806
Programme

Oliver Twist and The Flowers of the Forest

(performed at the Victoria Pier Pavilion, Folkestone, Kent, 27 May 1889)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

John Baldwin Buckstone
(1802-1879)

0594889
Programme

Oliver Twist

(performed at the New Olympic Theatre, c.1891)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

George Collingham

F174854
Publicity material

Oliver Twist

(by the Charles Dickens Drama Company, c.1900)

  0600297
Postcard

Black and white postcard of Constance Collier as Nancy

c. 1905

  F175797
Postcard

Colour postcard of The Artful Dodger

"Series No. 541 Designed in England printed in Bavaria ART PUBLISHERS TO THEIR MAJESTIES THE KING AND QUEEN."

undated

Joseph Clayton Clark (a.k.a. Kyd)
(1856-1937)

F175824
Postcard

Colour postcard of Bumble

"Series No. 541 Designed in England printed in Bavaria ART PUBLISHERS TO THEIR MAJESTIES THE KING AND QUEEN."

undated

Joseph Clayton Clark (a.k.a. Kyd)
(1856-1937)

F175828
Programme

Oliver Twist

(performed at the Waldorf Theatre, London,
7 October 1905)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
F174855
Programme

Oliver Twist

(performed at the Haymarket Theatre, London, c.1905)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

 

F174857
Portfolio

Oliver Twist

Portfolio advertising a production at Haymarket Theatre, London,1905)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
F174557
Programme

Oliver Twist

(performed at His Majesty's Theatre, London, 9 December 1905)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

J. Commyns Carr
(1849-1916)

F174849
Playscript

Oliver Twist

(unpublished, 19??)

Arthur Williams
(1844-1915)

C. A. Clarke

0598299
Playscript

Oliver Twist

(unpublished, performed at the Grand Theatre, Plymouth in 1906)

Arthur Williams
(1844-1915)
0598300
Programme

Malaga Spain, Oliver Twist, Holding Up Young Husband Station, A Mexican Love Drama, Episode of 1812, Water and Wine, The Piece of Lace and Cri-Cri The Detective.

(films shown at the Picturedome, Cambourne, c.1910)

  F174848
Playscript

Oliver Twist

(performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London, in 1912)

Arthur Williams
(1844-1915)

C. A. Clarke

0598301
Book

Oliver Twist [with] sixteen photographs in character as played at His Majesty's Theatre by Mr. Beerbohm Tree, etc.

(Collins, 1912)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree
(1853-1917)

F165613
Programme

Oliver Twist

(performed at Her Majesty's Theatre, London,
1 May 1915)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

J. Commyns Carr
(1849-1916)

F174845
Playscript

Oliver Twist

(unpublished, 19??)

Andrew Melville
(1882-1938)
0599751
Programme

The Peep Show; including characters form Oliver Twist

(performed at the London Hippodrome, undated)

Lauri Wylie
(fl. 1920)
F174709
Postcard

Colour postcard of an illustration of a scene from Oliver Twist

"CHARACTER SKETCHES FROM CHARLES DICKENS" "Oilette" [Regd.] Postcard 9852. Art publishers to their majesties the King and Queen"

undatedF174845

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
F175846
Programme

Oliver Twist, Pierotte & Pierrette and Cinderella Rehearsal

(performed at the Royal Marine Artillery Theatre, Southsea, c.1910s)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
F174813
Programme

Oliver Twist

(performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London, 1924)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

 

F174853
Playbill

Oliver Twist

(performed at the Theatre Royal, Brighton,
15 November 1926)

Andrew Melville II
(1882-1938)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

0592823
Playbill

Oliver Twist

(performed at the Theatre Royal, Brighton,
18 April 1927)

Andrew Melville II
(1882-1938)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

0592825
Photograph

Black and white publicity photograph of Katharine Carlton as Oliver Twist

(undated)

  F175820
Programme

Oliver Twist

(performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London, c.1930)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
0600529
Playbill

Oliver Twist

(performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London, c.1933)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
0596507
Programme

Oliver Twist

(performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London, c.1933)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
F174851
Programme

Oliver Twist

(performed at Kilburn Empire, Kilburn, London, 24 January 1949)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
F174856
Programme

Oliver!

(performed at the New Theatre, St. Martin's Lane, London, 21 November 1960)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Lionel Bart
(1930-1999)

0600549
Programme

Oliver!

(performed at the New Theatre, St. Martin's Lane, London, 21 November 1960)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Lionel Bart
(1930-1999)

F174441
Programme

Oliver!

(performed at the New Theatre, St. Martin's Lane, London, 7 October 1963)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Lionel Bart
(1930-1999)

F174850
Playbill

Oliver!

(performed at the Piccadilly Theatre, London, c.1968)

Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)

Lionel Bart
(1930-1999)

0597402

 

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Last Updated: 02/06/2016