Bruce Anderson

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bruce Anderson (1905-****). Actor, baritone, director and producer for opera, theatre and radio.


Born in Southport, England and was educated in St Paul's School in London.



He studied singing on a scholarship of the Royal Academy of Music under Thomas Meux (1924-27), then further studies in Milan where he made his operatic debut at the Teatro Duse in Madama Butterfly.


Back in England, he sang for various opera companies and in broadcasts, as well as in Noël Coward's Bitter Sweet (New York).

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

His connection with South Africa started in 1936, when he was a member of the company that toured this country with White Horse Inn, an operetta or musical comedy by Ralph Benatzky and Robert Stolz. He returned in 1937 to join the SABC, establishing a reputation as a producer of radio opera productions and as a solo and operatic singer. After 1938 he collaborated with John Connell in his Music Fortnights, participating mainly on the operatic side.

At the outbreak of war, he joined the First South African Brigade and was transferred to the Mobile Recording Unit, becoming the first South African to be awarded the OBE in recognition of his work as a war correspondent. After the war he was on the staff of the South African Embassy in Rome (1945-47), where he resumed his singing career.

In 1947 her returned to South Africa to take over the teaching practice of Margaret Roux, and to participate in Connell's opera seasons as a singer and producer. Until 1950 he was active as a teacher of singing, and as singer-producer in a variety of works, including Die Fledermaus, Tannhäuser and Aida (1949), and Faust and Pagliacci (1950).

He exerted himself for the creation of a National Opera Company and was one of the members of the committee of the National Opera Association formed by Alessandro Rota in 1955. In June 1958 he produced Gianni Schicchi, one of the four operas staged at the Reps Theatre by the federated National Opera Association of South Africa and Die Operavereniging van Suid-Afrika (OPSA). After the creation of the Performing Arts Councils in 1963, he would also do operatic work forPACT and otther organizations.

Alongside his operatic work and his radio work, Anderson also became well known as an actor and producer in a variety of theatre productions. For example he worked with the Alexander Theatre and in 1955 went into partnership with actors Marjorie Gordon and Stuart Brown to form The Company of Three. Their first production was Third Person and was staged at the Johannesburg REPS. He starred in Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend which was staged at the Brooke Theatre in May 1957. He also featured in the film Cry the Beloved Country (based on the novel of Alan Paton).

Awards, etc


SACD 1973; Limelight 1975/76.

Tucker, 1997.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to ESAT Personalities A

Return to South African Theatre Personalities

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page