Dawn Lindberg (1945-2020) was a singer, actress, director and theatre entrepreneur.
Born Dawn Silver in Durban on 19 April 1945, educated at Parktown Girls High and was an AFS Scholar in Detroit, USA (1963-4), then obtained a BA (Fine Arts) University of the Witwatersrand; Diploma Etching (Urbino, Italy), Stage Design (Salzburg).
She met and married Des Lindberg, and they started out in the 1960s as a singing duo called Des and Dawn, specializing in folk music. From there they moved on to cabaret, TV shows and, despite an ongoing musical career as singers, theatre production with their company Folk on Trek Productions. In the 1970s they put in a very competitive tender for the theatre that was to be built in the old Newtown produce market, but lost to Mannie Manim and Barney Simon, who went on to found the Market Theatre.
Besides her own work as producer (she directed and designed most of the corporate and stage productions for CAT Productions), she also held many management positions in the industry at various times, including being secretary and treasurer of the Theatre Managements of South Africa (TMSA) and convenor/Executive Director of the Naledi Awards.
Besides her theatre work, she was at one time President of Soroptimists International (the Highveld branch), produced the Double Gold: "Fat Off" fitness tape, co-authored: How Did I Begin? (a book on the facts of life for kids) and delivered motivational talks on topics such as Every Night is an Opening Night and Unfreeze Your Speaking Assets.
Dawn liked Theatre, Art movies, elephants, cats, sushi and chardonnay. The couple were also well known for the marvelous musical soirees regularly held at their Houghton home in Johannesburg.
The couple had two sons, Joshua and Adam.
Dawn died of a COVID-19 related illness on Monday 7 December 2020 .
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
Produced and directed Godspell, Pippin, The Shrew, The Black Mikado, Gloo Joo, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Lennon.
She had the lead role in I'm Getting my Act Together and Taking it on the Road.
She was contracted in 1965 by Taubie Kushlick, the producer, to do choreography for The Wizard of Oz, her Children's Theatre production, while Des Lindberg was to write extra music and lyrics. Keith Blundell was the musical director, Nina Campbell-Quine did décor, while Heather MacDonald-Rouse did costumes. It was staged at the Wits Great Hall in 1965. Together with Des they travelled for three years with their show Folk on Trek from 1965. The Lindbergs joined Robert Kirby in his show 8 Birds at the Labia Theatre in 1970. They helped convert the Carlton Cinema in Von Weilligh Street into a small theatre which opened with Birds of a Feather. They staged Godspell, directed by Dawn at the Maseru Holiday Inn in Lesotho from 30 September 1973 to 17 February 1974. On 30 September 1974 they returned from tour to stage a run at the Lake Theatre in Parkview. She directed Charles Marowitz’s The Shrew with Don McCorkindale and Molly Seftel at the Chelsea Theatre in 1975. Des and Dawn Lindberg staged Pippin with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and direction, choreography and design by Des starring Hal Watters, Sammy Brown, Jo-Ann Pezzarro, Bess Finney, Taliep Petersen, Sophia Foster, Robin Dolton and Andre Hattingh here in 1975.
The Lindbergs opened their production of the musical The Black Mikado at the Diepkloof Hall in Soweto on 13 May 1976. It went on to play in Coronationville and at the Loreto Convent in Pretoria, Pietersburg, Pietermaritzburg and Durban’s Lyric Theatre before opening at the Brooke Theatre on 29 July. They formed a club called the South African Living Theatre (SALT) to get around the governments opposition to their multi-racial company. They also revived Godspell circa 1976. Together with Des she staged Jeremy Taylor’s Back in Town, and The Importance of Being Irish, directed by Nicholas Amer with Thom Delaney at the Arena in 1979. Back in Town went on to play at the Alhambra Theatre. Together with Des she staged The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas starring Victor Melleney, Judy Page and Annabel Linder under direction by Dawn at His Majesty's Theatre in 1979. Des and Dawn produced I'm Getting my Act Together and Taking it on the Road directed by Malcolm Purkey and starring Bruce Millar and Dawn at the Arena Bistro Theatre in 1980. Des and Dawn presented Lennon with Dawn directing this tribute starring Bruce Millar, Gay Lambert, Colin Shapiro and Colin Shamley at the Arena Bistro in 1981. The Lindbergs directed a guitar festival called Guitars from Africa at the Civic Theatre in 1981. Together with Des she again directed Godspell starring Sam Marais at the Civic Theatre for PACT in May 1986 (1985?). She directed the PACT production of Every Good Boy Deserves Favour which was a collaboration of Tom Stoppard’s text Every Good Boy and André Previn’s music starring Danny Keogh, Michael McCabe, Michael Richard and Lynne White in 1986. It won the Vita Award for best production. The Lindberg’s presented When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout, directed by Dawn at the Adcock-Ingram Auditorium in July 1987. Together with PACT the Lindberg’s staged King Afrika at the Standard Bank Arena in 1988. In conjunction with the Civic the Lindbergs produced a revival of Godspell in 1994. They also performed Sex, Tango and Everything Else in the State Theatre Arena in 2001 (Written by Dawn Lindberg, Choreography by Adéle Blank and Musical Direction by Dave Polecutt).
She was presented with the Women: The Real Architects of Society Awards (WRASA) Drama Excellence Award to acknowledge and honour her 51 years in theatre and show business in 2017.
SACD 1973; 1974; 1975/76; 1977/78; 1979/80; 1981/82.
Pretoria News, 11 April 2001.
ESAT Bibliography Tra-Tz|Tucker]], 1997.
Various entries in the NELM catalogue.
Schwartz, 1988, De Beer, 1995, Joyce, 1999.
Return to ESAT Personalities L
Return to South African Theatre Personalities
Return to Main Page