Because of the difficulty in staging an unfinished novel, there have few dramatizations of Edwin Drood. However, two notable trials of John Jasper for the murder of Edwin Drood were performed in 1914. Exhibited here is the Trial of John Jasper . . . for the Murder of Edwin Drood under the auspices of the Dickens Fellowship, London Branch. The “trial” was held on January 7th, 1914 at King’s Hall, Covent Garden. The judge was G. K. Chesterton. Other notables in the cast were the actor Bransby Williams; Arthur Waugh, and J. K. Prothero. George Bernard Shaw was foreman of the jury. Other members of the jury included writers W. W. Jacobs, Hillaire Belloc, Max Pemberton, and Arthur Morrison.
The trial had a farcical conclusion. Jasper was found guilty of manslaughter, and neither the prosecutor nor the judge would accept the verdict. The judge’s final verdict was “My decision is that everybody here, except myself, be committed for Contempt of Court. Off you all go to prison without any trial whatsoever!”