Athol Fugard people




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People who have worked with Athol Fugard


Zakes Mokae

Zakes Mokae

Zakes Mokae was born in Johannesburg, South Africa 1935. Educated at RADA (actors school) in London.

Athol Fugard and Zakes Mokae

A major Fugard actor working with Fugard in The Serpent Players, he has premiered many of Fugard’s plays including No-Good Friday, Nongogo, Blood Knot, Master Harold and the Boys.  He is a sophisticated support actor in mainstream films. He also often appears in horror films. His best roles in horror films are in Dust Devil, and The Serpent and the Rainbow. His best mainstream acting is in A Dry White Season.

Click here to read more on Zakes Mokae.



John Kani

John Kani

A distinguished South African actor who worked extensively with Fugard during his Statements period. Sizwe Bansi is Dead and The Island are credited to Fugard, Kani and Winston Ntshona. He is a director of Johannesburg's market Theatre.

Kani has appeared in films such as Dry White Season (in which Zakes Mokae also appears), Fugard films such as Marigolds in August and Master Harold... and the Boys and other films such as Lessingīs The Grass is Singing.  When Kani played in Miss Julie by Strindberg he caused almost rioting and a political scandal as he presented on-stage a multi-racial affair. Recently he has been touring the world with Fugard and Ntshona presenting a revival of their Island, and has written and performed his own play Nothing but the Truth.


Winston Ntshona

Winston Ntshona

A distinguished South African actor who like John Kani has worked extensively with Fugard during his Statements period. Sizwe Bansi is Dead and The Island are credited to Fugard, Kani and Winston Ntshona.  Kani has also appeared in films such as Dry White Season (in which Zakes Mokae and John Kani also appear), as well as a few other minor films.  Recently he has been touring the world with Fugard and Kani presenting a revival of their Island.


Barney Simon

Barney Simon

Barney Simon founded The Market Theatre which became a centre for experimentation. The most famous example is probably Island by Fugard, improvised with Kani and Ntshona.  He wrote Cold Stone Jug and co-wrote Woza Albert! A new book, Athol Fugard and Barney Simon : Bare Stage, a Few Props, Great Theatre by Mary Benson, deals with the Benson's friendship with Fugard and Simon. The title is a quote by Fugard on what he needed for a new play. 
He died in 1995. Fugardīs Valley Song is dedicated to him.


Mannie Manim

Mannie Manim

A co-founder of the Market Theatre, Manim is a lighting designer whose Fugard premieres include Playland and Valley Song.  The history site of the Market Theatre says: "the meeting of Barney Simon and Mannie Manim is one of those fortunate happenings that occur more often on stage than off. Their backgrounds could not have been more disparate - Manim the product of a Portuguese/Afrikaans heritage, Simon, his roots torn from the shtetl. As different as were their origins so were their paths towards The Market. 'Mannie', observes Simon, 'came from above ground, I came from way below.'

"Manim says it was at the Brooke Theatre that he saw Athol Fugard’s Good Friday, an event he says, made him see theatre in an all new light and open his mind to the many opportunities that existed." (from News 11/05/201.

Susan Hilferty

Susan Hilferty

Designer of 16 Fugard plays including Valley Song and A Place with the Pigs.  "Susan also designs for films, television and dance and has been the recipient of many awards for her work in theatre including the Michael Merrit Award for Excellence in Design. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and teaches at New York University".   For television she has designed Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors and she also designed the Laurie Anderson film/video Home of the Brave.  The image is from here.


Sheila Fugard

Sheila Fugard

Fugardīs wife. Fugard met Sheila Meiring when she was starting as an actress. She worked with Fugard on his early plays and became a novelist and poet in her own right.  She was born in Birmingham, UK.  Her most famous work is A Revolutionary Woman. Set in 1920s South Africa "We are men made big by these landscapes" a woman is trying to apply her Gandhian philosophy and becomes entangled in a rape case involving a black boy.  Rite of Passage confronts a doctor racked with guilt and a youth traumatised by a tribal circumcision ceremony.  Like some of Atholīs plays, people who need to communicate are trapped by language.  The writing is at times forced "Only children live in the empty spaces of the mind.  Like the hollow skulls of dead seagulls", but generally is gifted.  Athol Fugard acted in the BBC adaptation of her other novel Castaways.

Her books of poetry are Threshold and Mythic Things, at times similar to Norman Macaig:

"Hunting the wild blood of spring
I accidentally
The wildly running hare
And in my stab at distance in flight
I witnessed a death"

(from Hunting, Threshold).

Another poem is Lena

"You walked there
Along brown road that struggles on beyond kopjie and grass
Into the future..."

(photo by Mary Benson from A Revolutionary Woman)


Lisa Fugard

Fugardīs daughter. She has acted in various Fugard plays, such as My Children! My Africa! opposite John Kani and directed by Athol Fugard.  She has also published an acclaimed novel, Skinner's Drift.

Skinners Drift


Ross Davenish

Collaborator on film with Fugard, directing a number of films such as The Guest, Boesman and Lena and Marigolds in August.  When they filmed Boesman and Lena together the shooting was continually observed by the South African police. He talks about the events and the influence of Fugard in "Hollywood Apartheid".

Brian Astbury and Yvonne Bryceland

Yvonne Bryceland

Together with Fugard, husband and wife Brian Astbury and Yvonne Bryceland founded the Space Theatre in Cape Town, where the Statement plays were developed.  Yvonne played Frieda opposite Ben Kingsley in the premiere of Statements after an Arrest under The Immorality Act in 1974.  Her performance in The Road to Mecca won her the 1985 Olivier Award for best actress. She died in 1992. Her films include The Road to Mecca and Boesman and Lena.


Kristina Stanley

Kristina Stanley

American director whose works include the American premiere of Fugardīs Dimetos. Other Fugard stagings are The Island, Statements After An Arrest Under the Immorality Act and The Road to Mecca.


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