Eric Abraham

Jump to navigation Jump to search

(1954-) South African born film and theatre producer and theatre manager, based in Britain.

A member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and the European and Czech Film Academies.


Born Eric Antony Abraham in Wynberg, Cape Town, to a naval commander,

Abrahams studied at the University of Cape Town and became a student activist, and then a journalist and BBC Radio correspondent in South Africa in the 1970s. Placed under house-arrest and banned by the apartheid government in 1976, he was later exiled for 15 years.

Career in film, TV, theatre and publishing

He went to the UK in 1977 and became a producer of BBC TV’s Panorama programme for several years and turned to film and theatre production - going on to found his own independent film, television and theatre production company in 1985, calling it Portobello Pictures.

He produced many acclaimed television dramas and theatre productions in Britain over the years, and in addition, he and his wife, publisher and philanthropist Sigrid Rausing, founded the Portobello Books publishing house in 2005, acquiring the literary journal Granta and Granta Books as well.

For more on his career in Britain , see his website at

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

In October 2006, the company opened an office in Cape Town and set up Isango Portobello production company in collaboration with director Mark Dornford-May to produce theatre and film productions with South African talent for South African and international audiences.

Their first productions together were A Christmas Carol – Ikrismas Kherol and The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo. They both premiered in Cape Town at the Baxter Theatre and at the Young Vic in London to major acclaim, with The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo transferring to the Duke of York’s theatre for a successful West End run and winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, 2008, before touring internationally.

The company also presented an acclaimed revival of their production of The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso in Cape Town in 2009, prior to a West End transfer. Other productions include Aesop’s Fables and The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

In 2010 they opened The Fugard theatre in Cape Town, to serve as their home base. The entreprise was financially backed by Abraham, however this partnership broke down in 2010, and Abraham appointed a new management, led by himself as Founding Producer and Daniel Galloway as General Manager.

For productions by Eric Abraham, also see Fugard Theatre


Go to ESAT Bibliography

Return to

Return to South African Theatre Personalities

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page