Bo Petersen

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Bo Petersen (1955-). Versatile actress, singer and dancer. Director.


Born in Queenstown in 1955 and grew up in a mining town in Western Transvaal. She spent a year in California as an A.F.S. exchange student.


Graduated from UCT in 1976.


Was with PACT Playwork. She spent 18 months with CAPAB Drama after which she moved to UCT drama school where she taught drama.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

Performed in Equus (in Afrikaans, at the Market Theatre), Grease (as “Rizzo” for Brickhill/Burke), You Can't Take it With You, Play it again, Sam, Brecht on Brecht and in several productions of Twelfth Night. Starred in Barney Simon’s production of Cincinatti – Scenes from City Life together with Marcel van Heerden, Danny Keogh, Lesley Nott, Barrie Shah, Thoko Ntshinga, Vanessa Cooke, Sam Williams and Robin Smith for The Company at The Market Theatre, Upstairs at the Market, the Baxter Theatre and the Brooke Theatre in 1979. Starred in the Baxter Theatre production of Seer in the Suburbs, the English translation of P.G. du PlessisSiener in die Suburbs together with Trudie Taljaard, Dale Cutts and Marcel van Heerden at the Academy Theatre in 1981. Starred in Pieter Toerien and Shirley Firth’s last joint production namely the Baxter Theatre production of Robert Kirby’s It's a Boy! together with Dale Cutts and James Irwin with direction by Keith Grenville at the Intimate in 1982. She starred in Graham Wright’s Baxter production of Steven Berkoff’s Decadence together with John Maytham (replacing Fiona Ramsay and Henry Goodman who had played the roles in Cape Town) with direction by Ron Smerczak at the Durban Alhambra Theatre and Wits Theatre in 1984. Panorama (Pieter-Dirk Uys, (1988), From My Point of View (1989). Truvy in Steel Magnolias (1990), title role in Medea, 1994.

Quoted from the programme notes of the 1984 run of Decadence: 'Her first production was Equus in Pretoria (where an enthusiastic police contingent chased her backstage and attempted to arrest her under the Immorality Act) but she fortunately managed to escape and perform in many others, namely: Play It Again Sam, Grease, Cincinatti, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Wieretuin, Passion Play, Seer in the Suburbs, Buried Child, It's a Boy! and Up 'n Atom. Bo is still recognised for her TV part in Oh George! but she has also appeared in Miss Candida, Highrise Cowboy and others that she would rather not mention. Bo has appeared in a number of films including Waar en Wolhaarstories, Skollie, and others which she can't mention because she's forgotten the titles. She remains committed however to local fringe theatre and instrumental in the production of the satire, Day in the Life of South Africa (under white supervision), A Fact of Life, Upfront, Going Dark (which she wrote). '

Other productions include Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act, Simple Bloody Simon, The Bergvliet Murder Mystery, Walking Wounded, Taxi Ranks, Elizabeth I, Cream Passions, Kindertransport, Whose Life is it Anyway?, Everything in the Garden, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Rustlers.

She co-directed The Road to Mecca 1989 and directed Woza Albert! 1996, The Bicycle Thief by Jonathan Nkala, 2009.

One of her many TV appearances has been in Death in the Family.

Awards, etc

Nominated for Rosalie van der Gucht Prize for New Directors (2011) for Blackbird. Nominated for Fleur du Cap Best Supporting Actress for Kindertransport, 1994 and Cissie 2008. Nominated for Fleur du Cap Best Actress for Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act, 2011.


Tucker, 1997.

Programme notes of Decadence in 1984.

Medea programme notes, 1994.

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