The Importance of Being Earnest; 1895
3 0 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 21cm

The Importance of Being Earnest; 1895


© Museum of London

Full image caption

Theatre programme for the first night performance of Oscar Wilde's play 'The Importance of Being Earnest' at St James's Theatre on February 14th 1895.
The programme includes the full cast list and general information about the theatre including the price of tickets. Heading the cast and playing the part of John Worthing is George Alexander, actor-manager of the St James's Theatre who, three years earlier, had persuaded Wilde to write Lady Windermere's Fan.
The Importance of Being Earnest was Oscar Wilde's fourth West End hit in only three years. Valentine's day was deliberately chosen for the opening night and the first night was a glittering occasion with the audience dressed in evening wear. Wilde himself appeared in a coat with a black velvet collar, white gloves and a green scarab ring. The production was a huge success but less than two months later Wilde was arrested on a charge of gross indecency. On 6 April his name was removed from the programme and, just one month later, the play was forced to close as theatre goers, shocked by the scandal, stayed away.




1895 AD - 1895 AD

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