Denis Rhodes Granger
TO BE EDITED
Denis Rhodes Granger (1911-2001) Bilingual (English and Afrikaans) playwright and amateur director. Born 21st November 1911 in Gwelo, Southern Rhodesia. He studied in Cape Town and did a lot of acting in Capetown as a young man. became articled to a lawyer, eventually gaining his qualifications. He worked for a marine legal firm first, but this played havoc with his health and he was then sent to De Aar by the doctor. With the advent of World War II he joined the SA army, but was seconded to the British army. He became an officer, and because of his legal training and photographic memory was put into Intelligence. After the war he spent some time in the UK, acting in repertory theatre and some films, mostly as an extra. He returned to South Africa by ship and after a while ended ended up in Worcester working for a law firm. In Worcester he became a leading light in the Worcester Dramatic Society, directing many plays, and writing quite a few. The Society entered the annual FATSSA festivals and won several times. I'll need to look through his scrap albums for all the details. He met his wife 'onstage' when she was in a play which he was directing. (There was a big article in one of the Worcester newspapers about their onstage romance.) They lived in Worcester until 1959 when they moved to Rhodesia. Dad went first by train with my brother Tony and the dogs to get settled, and Mom followed by plane with my sister Debbie and me (6 months) when all was ready. They settled in Salisbury, and lived there all their lives. Dad was very involved with the Reps Theatre and did directing in the beginning, although he didn't do much in that line after I got old enough to remember; he was more into newspaper critic, and started up Marlborough Players. He was instrumental in starting Lions Clubs in Rhodesia, and our club, Marlborough, used to do a pantomime every year. The first one they did was Little Red Riding Hood in 1965, when Dad played Grandma and directed it. The club panto was revived by me in 1998 with Robin Hood and His Merry Persons, and Dad played Little Red Riding Hood's Grandma again! Stole the show!
He died in a house fire in Harare, Zimbabwe, 13th April 2001, aged 89. He was also very much involved in theatre in Rhodesia, and later, Zimbabwe. He was the theatre critic for the Sunday Mail and The Citizen newspapers and judge for several years of the National Theatre Organisation High Schools Festival. He started and directed plays for Marlborough Players. He was married to Isabeau Granger (Isabeau Marguerite Luckhoff) and she acted in many of his plays in Worcester and in Rhodesia. They had three children. He worked in rep in England just after the war and had a very small part in the version of Great Expectations film made during or just after the war. His daughter Angela Cozens has carried on with acting and writing plays in England.
Author of the one-act plays The Cottage, A Playmate for our Little Lord, Festival, The Lady Anne gets her Bath (1951/4*), Die Lappieskombers (winner of the Afrikaans section of the 1957 FATSSA one-act playwrighting competition ). Also wrote the full length play Dark Brown (1951) and directed Hjalmar Bergman's one-act play Mr Sleeman is Coming for the Worcester Dramatic Society (1953).
Gosher, 1988, January, 1997;
Personal e-mail correspondence from his daughter, Angela Cozens, 22 September 2012.
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