A theatre programme for the play ‘An Ideal Husband’ performed at the Watermill Theatre between the 19th and 22nd November 2003. This was produced and performed by the Newbury Dramatic Society. ‘An Ideal Husband’ was originally written by Oscar Wilde in 1893. Wilde started writing the play in Goring on Thames, just over the river from Streatley West Berkshire, which one of the characters, Lord Goring, was named after. In April 1895, the first year of the play’s production, Wilde was arrested and jailed for gross indecency” under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, a term meaning “homosexual acts not amounting to buggery” (an offence under a separate statute). In Victorian Britain there was no definition as to what constituted as “gross indecency” but it was widely interpreted as any male homosexual behaviour short of sexual intercourse. Wilde served the later part of the statutory two year sentence at Reading Gaol until he was released in May 1887. When the play was first published in 1899 Wilde was not credited as the author. The play tackles social and political themes including morality, class and sexism in a way thought to have been influenced by Wilde’s experiences of the time.
Period: Early 21st century