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The Corn Is Green

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Place premiered
The Corn Is Green t0gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcSjieBzTSLneXkFR

Date premiered
September 20, 1938 (1938-09-20)

The living room of a house in Glansarno, a small village in Wales, over the space of three years in the late 19th century

The Corn Is Green (1945), The Corn Is Green (1979)

Night Must Fall, The Trip to Bountiful, A Doll's Life, Oh - Captain!, Accolade

The corn is green preview clip

The Corn Is Green is a 1938 semi-autobiographical play by Welsh dramatist and actor Emlyn Williams. The play premiered in London at the Duchess Theatre in 1938 with Williams portraying Morgan Evans. The original Broadway production starred Ethel Barrymore and premiered at the National Theatre on November 26, 1940, running for 477 performances.


Kate burton in the corn is green at the huntington theatre co


L. C. Moffat is a strong-willed English school teacher working in a poverty-stricken coal mining village in late 19th century Wales. She struggles to win the local Welsh miners over to her English ways, and an illiterate teenager by the name of Morgan Evans eventually graduates with honors.


Born in 1905, Emlyn Williams grew up in the impoverished coal-mining town of Mostyn in Flintshire, Wales, and spoke only Welsh until the age of eight. He was barely literate, and later said he would probably have begun working in the mines at age 12 if he had not caught the attention of a London social worker named Sarah Grace Cooke. She established a school in Mostyn in 1915, and recognized Williams' aptitude for languages. Over the next seven years she worked with him on his English and helped him prepare to be a teacher. She obtained a scholarship for him in Switzerland, to study French, and when he was 17 she helped him win a scholarship at Christ Church, Oxford. During his studies there Williams had a nervous breakdown, but Cooke encouraged him to write as a way to recover. His first play, Full Moon, was produced while he was still at Oxford. His first success, A Murder Has Been Announced, was staged in 1930, followed by the hit thriller, Night Must Fall (1935). The Corn Is Green is considered Williams' most enduring literary credit.

London production

The Corn Is Green premiered September 20, 1938, at the Duchess Theatre in London, following a preview performance at the Manchester Opera House. The play ran 394 performances, closing September 2, 1939.


  • John Glyn-Jones as John Goronwy Jones
  • Christine Silver as Miss Ronberry
  • William John Davies as Idwal Morris
  • Dorothy Langley as Sarah Pugh
  • Albert Biddiscombe as Groom
  • Frederick Lloyd as Squire
  • Betty Jardine as Bessie Watty
  • Kathleen Harrison as Mrs. Watty
  • Sybil Thorndike as Miss Moffat
  • Kenneth Evans as Robbart Robbatch
  • Wynford Morse as Glyn Thomas
  • Jack Glyn as Will Hughes
  • Glan Williams as John Owen
  • Emlyn Williams as Morgan Evans
  • Frank Dunlop as Old Tom
  • Broadway production

    Produced and directed by Herman Shumlin, the Broadway production of The Corn Is Green opened November 26, 1940, at the National Theatre. The setting was designed by Howard Bay; costumes were design by Ernest Schrapps. The production transferred to the Royale Theatre on September 9, 1941, and closed January 17, 1942, after a total of 477 performances.


  • Rhys Williams as John Goronwy Jones
  • Mildred Dunnock Miss Ronberry
  • Charles S. Pursell as Idwal Morris
  • Gwyneth Hughes as Sarah Pugh
  • George Bleasdale as Groom
  • Edmund Breon as Squire
  • Rosalind Ivan as Mrs. Watty
  • Thelma Schnee as Bessie Watty
  • Ethel Barrymore as Miss Moffat
  • Thomas Lyons as Robbart Robbatch
  • Richard Waring as Morgan Evans
  • Kenneth Clarke as Glyn Thomas
  • Merritt O'Duel as John Owen
  • Terence Morgan as Will Hughes
  • Sayre Crawley as Old Tom
  • Boys, girls and parents were played by Julia Knox, Amelia Romano, Betty Conibear, Rosalind Carter, Harda Normann, Joseph McInerney, Marcel Dill, Gwilym Williams and Tommy Dix.

    Barrymore and Waring reprised their roles in a return engagement—again produced and directed by Herman Shumlin—that ran May 3 – June 19, 1943, at the Martin Beck Theatre.


    The New York City Theatre Company presented The Corn Is Green January 11–22, 1950, at New York City Center, in a production starring Eva Le Gallienne and Richard Waring.

    After 21 previews, a Broadway revival directed by Vivian Matalon and produced by Elizabeth Taylor and Zev Bufman opened on August 22, 1983, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Cicely Tyson portrayed Miss Moffat, with Peter Gallagher as Morgan Evans, Marge Redmond as Mrs. Watty, and Mia Dillon as Bessie Watty. The show closed September 18, 1983, after 32 performances.

    In 1985 the play enjoyed a successful revival at the Old Vic Theatre, London, starring Deborah Kerr.

    In 2009, Boston's Huntington Theatre Company presented a revival of The Corn Is Green starring Kate Burton and her son Morgan Ritchie.


    In 1945, a film adaptation was made, with Bette Davis (herself of Welsh descent) as Moffat.

    In the late 1970s, Davis returned to the role in a musical stage adaptation that proved to be a disaster. The setting was changed to the American South, with the young man transformed into an African-American college student (portrayed by Dorian Harewood) ignoring his studies in favor of football. It was Miss Moffat's responsibility to help him raise his grades so he can remain on the team. At this point in her life, Davis was far too old for the role and was unable to carry a tune. When the pre-Broadway run opened in Boston, the show was derided by the critics, and it underwent major changes before moving to Philadelphia. There audiences greeted it with catcalls, and it closed before its opening night, never making it to Broadway.

    A 1979 made-for-television movie, directed by George Cukor and starring Katharine Hepburn, was filmed on location in Wales.


    The Corn Is Green Wikipedia

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