Charles J. Fourie

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Charles J. Fourie (1965- ) [1] is a South African playwright and stage director.


Born in Potchefstroom.


Studied drama at the University of Potchefstroom, graduating in 1987.


He made his professional debut at the Windybrow Theatre in Johannesburg at the age of 19 and went on to receive the Henk Wybenga bursary to complete his drama studies at the University of the Northwest in 1987.

Made his name as playwright with a neo-Absurdist play he wrote for the ATKV Kampustoneel and directed with fellow drama students from the Potchefstroom University for CHE. One of the founders of Skokiaan Theatre Bar in Cape Town (with Deon Goosen) and the ** and *** companies (in Cape Town and London respectively). A notable aspect of his playwriting is his post-modernist use of pastiche, utilizing the styles and works of other writers in genuinely interesting ways. Among his works are Diesel and Dust (and the fear of freefall (Sam Shepard revisited), Die Eend ("The Duck", based on Chekhov's The Seagull), Don Gxubane Onner die Boere (A double reference to Don Juan and Bartho Smit's striking satire Don Juan onder die Boere, Fourie’s play produced 1994 ), **

Since then he has written seminal works for the stage in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. As playwright, director and sometimes producer he has had opportunity to work with some acclaimed actors and directors such as Tobie Cronjé, Linda Marlowe (UK), Megan Wilson, Chris Gxalaba, Ramolao Makhene, Gerrit Schoonhoven, Philip Rham (UK), Gavin van den Berg, Jeremy Bond (UK), Michelle Burgess, Ian Harry (UK), André Roothman, Danny Keogh, Samantha Bond (UK) [2] and Trix Pienaar.

In recent years Charles J. Fourie has ventured beyond South Africa to introduce his work to UK and international audiences. He became a founding member of Stages International with UK director Jeremy Bond, and together they presented staged readings of Fourie’s work in 2000 at the Soho Theatre and The Gate theatre, both in London. During 2001 they hosted ‘A Season in South Africa’ staged readings at the Old Vic under the patronage of Janet Suzman and the South African High Commission, with guest speakers Sir Antony Sher and actor John Kani. The event included Fourie’s own play The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife staged with Samantha Bond. 2002 saw the production of Big Boys at the Warehouse theatre, Croydon and more recently in 2006 Fourie toured the UK with the production of his play The Parrot Woman at the Finborough Theatre in Earl’s Court, and a season at the Burton Taylor Studio in Oxford.

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

PLAYS staged: Big Boys- Market Theatre (Johannesburg), National Theatre of Namibia (Windhoek), Westcoast Ensemble Theatre (Los Angeles), Warehouse Theatre (London). The Parrot Woman- Market Theatre (Johannesburg), Finborough theatre (London), Burton Taylor Studio (Oxford) and various other venues on tour. Diesel and Dust- National Arts Festival (Grahamstown), Little Theatre (Cape Town). Rainbow Electric Roadhouse- National Arts Festival (Grahamstown) Smiling Iona- Rockspider Theatre (Cape Town), Black Sun Theatre (Johannesburg). Cut Ups- Riverside Theatre (Cape Town). Mouthpieces- Longstreet Theatre (Cape Town). Crime Babies- Market Theatre (Johannesburg). Goddess of Song- Artscape Arena Theatre (Cape Town) and various other venues on tour. Stander- Baxter Theatre Studio (Cape Town) and various other venues on tour. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife- Baxter Theatre (Cape Town), staged reading Old Vic Theatre (London). Vrygrond- Market Theatre (Johannesburg) and various other venues on tour. Die Eend- State Theatre (Pretoria). Don Gxubane Onner die Boere- State Theatre (Pretoria). Braaivleis- KKNK Arts festival (Oudtshoorn) and other venues on tour. Skattebol- KKNK Arts festival (Oudtshoorn). Jobias- Artscape Arena Theatre (Cape Town) and other venues on tour. Stywe LyneKKNK Arts festival (Oudtshoorn) and other venues on tour. Demjanjuk- Little Theatre (Cape Town), re-staged KKNK Arts festival (Oudtshoorn). Tussen Hemel en Aarde- Hermanus Civic Theatre (Hermanus) and other venues on tour. VrededorpAardklop Arts festival (Potchefstroom) and other venues on tour. Trourock- KKNK Arts festival (Oudtshoorn) and other venues on tour. Kurtz- Aardklop Arts festival (Potchefstroom) and also Agterplaasin 2011. Lawwe Geluide – Translation Noises Off by Michael Frayn KKNK Arts festival (Oudtshoorn) and other venues on tour. Ella's HorsesAardklop Arts festival and other venues on tour. In 2012 Die soet trane van Petrus Pansegrouw made its debut.

Stywe Lyne vir KKNK. (2003) Grot van die kaalkoppe, Die Papegaaivrou, Big Boys, Stander met Albert Maritz, Baxter Theatre (2003). Don Gxubane Onner die Boere, Vrygrond en Die Eend –since 1994 produced. A Season in South Afica in Old Vic Theatre, London. Vrededorp by Charles Fourie (KKNK, 2005,

RADIODRAMAS broadcast: Praatmaar and Beseringstyd broadcast on SABC Radio Sonder Grense in 2002 and 2004 respectively. Vergifnis 2015.

SCREENPLAYS broadcast: Unicity – Sitcom series broadcast on E-TV. Binnelanders – Drama series broadcast on M-Net. Rubicon – Drama series broadcast on SABC3. A Reel Life - Documentary about actress Jana Cilliers broadcast on SABC3. Stander - Feature film based on the play of the same title, broadcast on M-Net. Eiland - Feature film based on the play The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife, broadcast on M-Net. Vrededorp – Feature film based on play of the same title, broadcast on M-Net. A Report After Apartheid based on Kafka’s ‘Report to an Academy’. The Sandbox based on Edward Albee’s ‘The Sandbox’. Desire – original short film screened at Sithengi Film Festival . OTHER WRITING Charles J. Fourie is also a regular contributor to arts pages for various newspaper publications. These include; Mail & Guardian, Die Burger, Sunday Independent, and Litnet. Various of his short stories in English and Afrikaans have been published in literary magazines and the electronic media.

PUBLICATIONS: Charles edited the UK publication New South African Plays published by Aurora Metro Press in the UK during 2006. The publication is a compilation of the new work by fellow playwrights from South Africa and include work by Mike van Graan, Ashwin Singh, Sibusiso Mamba and Rehane Abrahams. Publications of Fourie’s other work include; Vrygrond & other plays, Tafelberg Publishers 1994. Big Boys, More Market Plays, AD Donker Publishers 1995. Vonkfiksie, Human & Rousseau Publishers 1999. Vrededorp, Genugtig Publishers 2005. Forthcoming publications; RSG Radiodramas, Nassou-Afrika 2008, and The Lighthouse Keeper’s Wife, Maskew Miller Longman 2008.

Awards, etc

Numerous awards for his stage-writing include the AA Life Vita Award for best South African play, Amstel Playwright of the Year in 1990 and 1992, SACPAC best new play award in 1994, Sanlam radio-drama prize in 2000 and 2015 (Vergifnis), and the Nagtegaal literary award in 2004. His play The Lighthouse Keeper's Wife is currently short listed for the 2007 Maskew Miller Longman literary award for best play in English. His work has also received support from various benefactors including; South African Foundation for Creative Arts, National Arts Council of South Africa, Business and Arts South Africa, Lever Brothers, The Atheneum (London), Janet Suzman, and the Western Cape Cultural Commission.


Beeld, 26 September 2011.

Various entries in the NALN and NELM catalogues.

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