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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

The Fires of Fate (play 1909)

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The Fires of Fate (Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 3 july 1909, p. 771)

The Fires of Fate (sub-titled: a modern morality play) is a British play in 4 acts written by Arthur Conan Doyle performed at the Lyric Theatre (London, UK) between 15 june and 11 august 1909, starring Lewis Waller as Colonel Cyril Egerton, the play was transfered to the Haymarket Theatre (London, UK) from 12 to 31 august 1909 starring Ben Webster replacing Waller who started a provincial touring from 23 august with a new cast. The play returned back to the Lyric Theatre on 6 september until 9 october 1909.

This is an adaptation of the Arthur Conan Doyle's short story The Tragedy of the Korosko (1897).

In an interview, Conan Doyle described the play:

« Yes, I have called my new play 'a modern morality play' — at least, that is the sub-title, 'The Fires of Fate' is the name. What is the philosophy? Well, it is as old as the hills, and yet needs to be restated and revindicated with every generation. It upholds that optimism which I believe to be the supreme human wisdom, and that faith which will enable a man to be optimistic upon general principles, however much the particular instance may seem to be an exception to his scheme of philosophy. If he works on true to those general principles, he will always find his faith justified in some fashion — often an unexpected one. In this play a man is tempted to take his own life. He does not take it, and the course of events shows how mistaken and foolish, as well as wicked, he would have been had he done so. Again, there is a group of characters who all start with the common weaknesses of our modern civilisation. Each has his spiritual fault. They have led happy and comfortable lives, in which evil habits have developed. They are plunged together into a terrible experience. You see how each takes it, and you see how far those who survive are the better for it, and how in this instance pain and sorrow have shown themselves to be the great chastening and renovating force in life. Dramatic difficulties? Yes, indeed. The greatest is that where you have a play which discusses philosophy and illustrates it in somewhat violent action. You necessarily have it set in two keys. Your more thoughtful scenes may offend those who love action, your active scenes may offend the thoughtful. However, you can only tell by trying. » - Aberdeen Journal (2 june 1909, p. 7)




Colonel Cyril Egerton (Lewis Waller) and Miss Sadie Adams (Evelyn D'Alroy)
The Play Pictorial No. 84 (august 1909)

Lyric Theatre cast (15 june - 11 august 1909)

Haymarket Theatre cast (12-31 august 1909)

Provincial touring cast (23 august - ? 1909)



Review in The Graphic (26 june 1909, p. 868)


  • On saturday 10 july 1909, the Queen and suite visited the Lyric Theatre and witnesses Mr. Lewis Waller's production of "Fires of Fate". [1]


  • 15 june - 11 august 1909 : Lyric Theatre (London, UK)
  • 12-31 august 1909 : Haymarket Theatre (London, UK)
  • Provincial tour
    • 23>28 august 1909 : King's Theatre (Sunderland, UK)
    • 18 september 1909 : Shakespeare Theatre (Liverpool, UK)
    • 20>25? september 1909 : Theatre Royal (Newcastle-on-Tyne, UK)
  • 6 september - 9 october 1909 : Lyric Theatre (London, UK)


  1. Manchester Courier and Lancashire Genral Advertiser (12 july 1909, p. 6)