‘The Editors are to be congratulated… It would be good if this fine edition were to inspire another modern production’
In 1855 Wilkie Collins presented Charles Dickens with his first original drama – The Lighthouse. Set in the Eddystone Lighthouse in 1748, Collins creates a tense, psychological drama employing elements of crime and the supernatural familiar to readers of Collins’s fiction. Initially staged at Tavistock House, the role of the guilt-ridden old lighthouse keeper, Aaron Gurnock, provided Dickens with a vehicle for his extraordinary acting technique, accompanied by members of his family and friends from his literary and artistic circle.
This is the first printed, English edition of The Lighthouse. The volume transcribes the version licensed for the Olympic Theatre in 1857 which includes the ‘Prologue’ and the ‘Song of the Wreck’ contributed by Dickens. It also contains a Foreword by noted crime writer P. D. James, an introduction providing a detailed account of the play’s history, contemporary reviews and numerous, newly-discovered illustrations.
Andrew Gasson is the author of Wilkie Collins – an Illustrated Guide; and co-author of The Public Face of Wilkie Collins: the Collected Letters and the Collins volume in Lives of Victorian Literary Figures. He is Chairman of the Wilkie Collins Society.
Caroline Radcliffe lectures in the department of Drama and Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham, publishing on popular Victorian theatre and sensation drama. She is also an active performer and has directed Wilkie Collins’s play The Red Vial.