Craig Curtis

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Craig Curtis (1949-) is an architect, actor, director and set designer.


The son of actor and theatre manager Peter Curtis and designer Jennifer Craig, he was born in London in 1949 and the family moved to South Africa in 1951. As the son of theatrical parents, he appeared in a number of productions as a child actor.

He went to the University of Cape Town from 1967 to 1975, to study architecture and urban design. While there he also became very active in Cape Town theatre, inter alia becoming a member and sometime Chair of the UCT Dramatic Society, and acting, directing and designing stage sets on an amateur and professional basis for a large number of productions. His architectural training provided him with technical expertise for large set construction.

In 1970, Curtis toured Europe studying different forms of theatre design in preparation for his architectural thesis, which was completed in 1972. He won the Helen Gardiner Travel Prize for architecture and contribution to campus activities.

In 1980 he moved to Alberta, Canada, where he acted in The Taming of the Shrew (Centre Stage, 1983), The Hollow Crown (Centre Stage, 1984) and The Crucible (as "Reverend Hale", Centre Stage (1984).

Since then, he has had an active career in architecture, planning and municipal administration, winning a number of awards for conservation and environmental planning.

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

A strong opponent of apartheid during the cultural struggle period, he nevertheless did not support the international cultural boycott by playwrights and theatre makers. However, university theatre productions were not subject to the boycott at the time, and as a member and one-time Chair of the UCT Dramatic Society, he was able to secure the rights and present four South African premieres of current plays. These were John Thomas by Charles Wood, Funeral Games by Joe Orton, Not I by Samuel Beckett and Butley by Simon Gray. Butley received outstanding reviews and secured a Three Leaf Awards nomination for actor Colin Duell in the title role. The piece became the most popular plays to be produced at the Little Theatre for many years.

As an actor

Craig's performances as actor in Cape Town included roles in Macbeth (Maynardville,1967), The Master of Two Servants, Richard II (Maynardville, 1968), Hippolytus (UCT, 1968), The Proposal (UCT,, 1968), Henry IV, Part I (Little Theatre, 1968), Brigadoon (Carousel Productions, 1968), Sleeping Beauty: A Panto (Carousel Productions, 1968), The Merry Wives of Windsor (as "Simple", Maynardville, 1969), Medea (as "Jason", UCT, 1969), Funeral Games (as "Pringle", UCT,, 1971), Lock up your Daughters (as "Sotmore", Carousel Productions, 1972) Julius Caesar (as "Cassius", UCT, 1972), Macbeth (as "Young Siward", CAPAB, 1972), Funeral Games (as "Pringle", The Space, 1972), White Horse Inn (CAPAB, 1972), A Midsummer Night's Dream (as "Bottom", UCT, 1973), Bitter Sweet (as "Vincent", Carousel Productions, 1973), Fings Ain't What They Used T'be (as "Horace Seaton", Carousel Productions, 1974).

As a director

His directing credits include Funeral Games by Joe Orton, Butley by Simon Gray, and three plays by Samuel Beckett: Endgame, Not I and Krapp’s Last Tape (with Peter Curtis as "Krapp", UCT, 1974).

As a designer

In 1968, while an architectural student at UCT and active in student drama, he designed the sets for Henry IV at the Little Theatre in Cape Town. He went on to design décor for numerous amateur and professional plays, including those for The Gondoliers (Cape Town Gilbert and Sullivan Society, 1969), Rose-Marie (Carousel Productions, 1969), Antony and Cleopatra (Maynardville, 1970), Macbeth (Assistant designer, CAPAB, 1972), Lock Up Your Daughters (with Nic Goodwin, Carousel Productions, 1972), The Threepenny Opera (Little Theatre, 1973). Die Burgemeester, (PACOFS, 1973), Bitter Sweet (with Nic Goodwin, Carousel Productions, 1974), A Collier’s Friday Night (with Penny Simpson, CAPAB, 1974), A Doll’s House (CAPAB, 1975).


E-mail correspondence with Craig Curtis, September 2023.

The Merry Wives of Windsor programme notes, 1969.

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