The success of DIANA OF DOBSON’S turned an unknown writer by the name of Cicely Hamilton into the toast of the English stage. Hamilton’s clever manipulation of “cup and saucer” conventions of the London stage offered theatergoers a romantic comedy that was at the same time thoroughly illuminating and thought provoking.

Hamilton’s biting comedy turns the Cinderella myth on its head, telling the story of a fiercely intelligent Edwardian shop assistant who briefly escapes a life of drudgery with a small legacy—but who cannot escape the social and economic strictures that oppress her. The play was an unexpected hit of the 1908 London season, yet its miscast New York transfer the same year flopped. It was never seen in Gotham again until the Mint’s sparkling 2001 production.

“Surprisingly fresh entertainment”1 wrote D.J.R. Bruckner in the New York Times. Donald Lyons of theNew York Post called DIANA, “a sprightly, witty, heartbreaking mix of Shaw and social reality….An exciting discovery of the Mint, beautifully acted, and remarkably moving.”2

Cicely Hamilton (1872-1952) wrote several plays tackling social issues.  But it was Diana of Dobson’s that caught London’s eye and heart with it’s light touch and romantic bent in spite of it’s consideration ‘serious issues.’  First performed in London in 1908, the play was “accepted as a true picture of the shop-assistant’s life,” to quote from a 1908 press clipping that, “convinced people that something should be done about it.”

Hamilton was a member of the Women Writers’ Suffrage League, a founding member of the Actress’ Franchise League and, was one of the first members of the Scottish Women’s Hospital Committee.  During World War I she helped to establish an Auxilary Hospital in France where she nursed wounded soldiers.  She later joined the Women’s Auxiliary Corps and was assigned to a postal unit.  Eventually she formed a repertory company that performed plays for Allied soldiers on the Western Front.  After the War, Hamilton worked as a freelance journalist, and was a regular contributor to feminist journal Time and Tide.

Hamilton’s works include two propaganda plays, How the Vote was Won and A Pageant of Great Women, and her influential book Marriage as a Trade.  Her autobiography, published in 1935, is entitled Life Errant.


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  • Miss Smithers Caren Browning
  • Kitty Brant Maitreya Friedman
  • Miss Jay Sara Barnett
  • Diana Massingberd Rachel Sledd
  • Miss Morton Jina Oh
  • Miss Pringle Danielle Delgado
  • Mrs. Cantelupe Mikel Sarah Lambert
  • Waiter David Marantz
  • Mrs. Whyte-Fdoder Glynnis Bell
  • Sir Jabez Grinley John Plumpis
  • Captain Victor Bretherton Karl Kenzler
  • Old Woman Danielle Delgado
  • Constable Fellows David Marantz


  • Set Design Sarah Lambert
  • Lighting Design Jeff Nellis
  • Costume Design Tracy Christensen
  • Sound Design Ray Leslee
  • Hair and Wig Design Robert-Charles Vallance
  • Dialects Amy Stoller
  • Production Stage Manager Joe Gladstone
  • Assistant Stage Manager Teresa Hagar
  • Press Representative David Gersten & Associates


Professor J. Ellen Gainor from Cornell University, speaks about Cicely Hamilton and her place in the history of women in the theater. Ms. Gainor is the author of the award-winning study Shaw’s Daughters: Dramatic and Narrative Constructions of Gender and the forthcoming volume The Plays of Susan Glaspell: A Contextual Study. She holds degrees from Harvard University, Princeton University, and the Yale School of Drama.