Hymie Udwin (19*-) was a theatrical impressario. **
An executive at African Consolidated Theatres, who formed his own company, Theatre International. Elaine Perry direct the Broadway comedy Never Too Late at the Civic Theatre for his Theatre International in 1946. It starred American actors Nancy Coleman, Roland Winters, Helen Lewis and James Kirkwood. Theatre International acquired the rights for Stephen Sondheim’s musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, through Allen Whitehead. Udwin employed Mannie Manim as production and company manager, and Aubrey Louw was now general manager for Theatre International. Christopher Hewett directed this play starring Jack Harrold, Joseph Corby, William Le Messena, Fran Stevens and Emory Bass at the Civic Theatre in 1964. He formed a company call Phoenix Interworld in partnership with Yango John in 1967. At this stage Theatre International had gone out of business.
Hymie dedicated the theatre to the staging of farce and renamed it the Academy Theatre of Laughter. In December Hymie, Yango John and Dave Levin imported Colin Welland and Basil Lord to star in One for the Pot by Ray Cooney and Tony Hilton. It was directed by Basil Lord. His Academy obtained the rights to West Side Story and it was staged at the Alexander Theatre in 1970. It starred Michael Harrison, Patricia Arnell, Lynton Burns and Richard Loring, Delia Sainsbury and Keith Galloway. Kip Andrews directed and choreographed while Anthony Farmer did the set design. Paul Jannsen was the stage director, Joy Raphael oversaw public relations and Lorraine Jaffit-Greenberg acted as production secretary. It later moved to the Empire Theatre before leaving for Cape Town. He brought Pesach Burstein and the Yiddish play Megilla to Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. His Academy Theatre Productions, Langford-Inglis, and PACT collaborated to present Max Adrian’s one-man show of readings from George Bernard Shaw at the Alexander Theatre in 1971. Together with Langford-Inglis he revived the The Old Ladies with Margaret Inglis, Zoë Randall and Bess Finney at the Alexander in 1971. At the Brooke Theatre the trio, in collaboration with Brian Brooke, presented John Whiteley and Margaret Inglis in The Au Pair Man that same year.
The musical revue Cole, based on the life of Cole Porter was a co-production between Hymie and Sir Bernard Miles and presented by the Academy at the Brooke Theatre in November 1976 Hymie Udwin was the Executive director of Academy Theatre Productions (with Dave Levine )and founder of the Academy Theatre.
He became Ray Cooney's right hand man (agent?) in England.
Percy Tucker. 1997. Just the Ticket. My 50 Years in Show Business. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press.
Pesach Burstein and Lillian Lux Burstein. 2003. What a Life!: The Autobiography of Pesach'ke Burstein, Yiddish Matinee Idol, Syracuse University Press: p. 298
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