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The Semi-Circle

   English Language Theatre in Basel since 1975
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1987, 1988 and 1991 - "A Respectable Funeral" by Jimmie Chinn

"A Respectable Funeral" by Jimmie Chinn

This play that has it's very own history in the Semi-Circle.

Director         Muriel Taylor

Joyce             Doreen Richter, later Joan Kuster

Greta             Joy Scherer

Evadne           Diana Zuger

Charlie           Graham Simons


  • REKIZET Church Hall, Ettingen, for the British Circle (January 1987)
  • Muriel and Bryan Taylor’s living-room (3 times), for invited guests
  • Barfüsserclub, a social evening (1988)
  • Langen Erle (open air), for Basel English-Speaking Club’s 25th anniversary celebrations (1988)
  • Geneva, Alhambra Theatre, for the Third Festival of English-Speaking Theatre (September 1991)


Evadne, Joyce and Greta, three middle-aged sisters, are gathered at the house of their deceased mother, following the funeral. Surprisingly, Charlie, their brother, who had looked after their mother after she was widowed, has failed to turn up. As the sisters talk and gossip, it becomes apparent that their late mother was no saint, being neither a faithful wife nor a loving parent. All the women have plans for the money that they will inherit when their mother's house will be sold; but then suddenly, Charlie arrives - with a request that will put pay to all their dreams......

The Story behind

A Respectable Funeral by Jimmie Chinn was first performed by the group in January 1987. 

It was directed by Muriel Taylor, a founder member of the Semi-Circle. Rehearsals for A Respectable Funeral took place at Muriel and Bryan’s flat, the venue was the Rekizet (Church Hall) in Ettingen and the invited audience were members of the British Circle. The cast members were Doreen Richter, Joy Scherer, Graham Simons and Diana Zuger. The stage was small, the set was simple but suitably furnished, mainly with items loaned by Muriel, to create the required cluttered living-room effect.

The play was well received and a further performance was held, this time in Muriel and Bryan’s living-room which, with ingenuity, they temporarily converted into a small, cosy theatre with space for some 20 spectators.  It was a successful venture and in response to popular demand two more performances were held there, again for invited audiences. 

On a later occasion the cast were invited to perform the play at a Barfüsserclub social evening, and at Lange Erlen Park as part of the Basel English-Speaking Club’s anniversary celebrations.  On both occasions they had to make do with a very basic set and at Lange Erlen, in the open air and amid a variety of background noises, voice projection proved a challenge.

The play was then resurrected in September 1991 when it was chosen as the Semi-Circle’s entry at the 3rd Festival of English-Speaking Theatre in Switzerland, held that year in Geneva.  So it was time to brush up on the lines once more.  For that performance Joan Kuster took over the role of Joyce, previously played by Doreen Richter who sadly passed away earlier in the year. The cast were delighted to be able to perform the play on a “real” stage at last, and received kind words from the adjudicator.


© The Semi-Circle Basel 

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