Helen Bourne

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Helen Bourne (19**-). Actress on stage, radio and television.


She was born in Cape Town.


Helen studied at the University of Cape Town and at the Royal Academy of Art in London.


She worked in Britain in the theatre and television, including as a member of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company. She has periodically returned to South Africa at the invitation of various companies. In the 1970s she lived in Cape Town for two-and-a-half-years. Highlights of her London stage career have included being directed by Harold Pinter in Taking Sides and Sir Peter Hall in the Oedipus plays at the National Theatre, and playing Linda Loman in Death of a Salesman..

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

She performed at The Barn in the 1960’s, The Merchant of Venice at Maynardville in 1963 and in PACT’s productions of Much Ado about Nothing in 1971, Donald Howarth’s A Lily in Little India (1973) and Three Months Gone (1973).

For CAPAB she played leading roles in The Importance of Being Earnest, Romeo and Juliet, Biography, See How They Run, The Misanthrope, Private Lives, A Doll's House (1975), Blithe Spirit (1976), Hamlet (1977) and Twelfth Night.

She also played in Pleasure and Repentance (Baxter Theatre), Ring Round the Moon (PACOFS), Saturday Sunday Monday (NAPAC), Betrayal.

Then she left for England to make a career for herself on stage, TV and film. In Paradise is Closing Down (Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1978) Edinburgh Festival and London.

In 1980 she returned briefly to star in Leonard Schach’s production of Betrayal for PACT and again in 1991 in Shadowlands (Market Theatre and the Baxter Theatre).

She created the title role in Donald Howarth’s Yin-Yang Cinders, which she subsequently played off-Broadway.

Played Eleanor Lambert in In the Summer of 1918, Nico Theatre, 1990,

In 1997 she was in Kindertransport at the Baxter Theatre.


She won the Three Leaf Best Actress Award for Nora in Doll's House and again for Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing and Lyuba in Roulette.


In the Summer of 1918 theatre programme notes, 1990.

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