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Published June 26, 2022 Updated June 26, 2022

My Fair Lady

Theatre programme in the form of a pack of cards. East Germany, c.1967.

Germany Music Theatre 1967
Design from wrapper

When Lerner & Loewe’s musical “My Fair Lady” was presented at the Städtische Theater, Karl-Marx-Stadt, members of the audience were given a pack of cards in a brown envelope in lieu of a theatre programme - an eco-friendly gesture well ahead of its time! The author (Shaw), composers and principal players are depicted on the court cards by way of simple black or red drawings. Other members of the cast and crew are listed on the pip cards. The extra cards carry all the other information (in German) one would expect to find in a theatre programme (synopsis, biographies, list of scenes, etc.). Indices K, D, B, A. The quality of the card is poor and the cutting very uneven. See the wrapper

Theatre programme in the form of a pack of cards. East Germany, c.1967 Theatre programme in the form of a pack of cards. East Germany, c.1967 Theatre programme in the form of a pack of cards. East Germany, c.1967

Above: a theatre programme in the form of a pack of cards. East Germany, c.1967. 32 cards + 18 extra cards in brown envelope resembling a paper bag. Size: 60 x 90 mm. Maker unknown.

Note: it's not clear to me whether this pack was given out only at the première or at every performance. That is partly why I cautiously put a date of "c.1967" in case it was actually 1968. My pack seems to have two cards marked "10. LEKTION:" and none marked "2. LEKTION:" which suggests to me that these sets may have been cut and collated by hand, with the inevitable mistake from time to time.

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By Roddy Somerville

Member since May 31, 2022

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Roddy started collecting stamps on his 8th birthday. In 1977 he joined the newly formed playing-card department at Stanley Gibbons in London before setting up his own business in Edinburgh four years later. His collecting interests include playing cards, postcards, stamps (especially playing cards on stamps) and sugar wrappers. He is a Past President of the Scottish Philatelic Society, a former Chairman of the IPCS, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards and Curator of the WCMPC’s collection of playing cards. He lives near Toulouse in France.


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