A Word to the Wise

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A Word to the Wise is a 1770 comedy play by the Irish writer Hugh Kelly. It was his second work after the 1767 hit False Delicacy. Kelly was known as a supporter of the government, and an opponent of the radical John Wilkes. During the second performance of the play a riot broke out amongst Wilkes' supporters at the Drury Lane Theatre and the play was subsequently withdrawn. When it was published instead Kelly wrote a long introduction defending himself and complaining about political prejudice.[1] It was the first play performed at The Theatre, Leeds when it was opened on 24 May 1771.[2] It was later staged by the American Company in North America.[3]


  1. ^ Baines, Ferarro & Rogers p.205
  2. ^ Leeds Intelligencer, 30 July 1771: "Leeds July 30"
  3. ^ Shaffer p.96-97


  • Baines, Paul & Ferarro, Julian & Rogers, Pat. The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Eighteenth-Century Writers and Writing, 1660-1789. Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  • Shaffer, Jason. Performing Patriotism: National Identity in the Colonial and Revolutionary American Theater. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007