Ian Bernhardt

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(19**-) Businessman, actor, producer and activist – a towering figure in the development of Black theatre. Started his theatrical career as an amateur working for the East Rand Theatre Club. Later became interested in the development of Black theatre and in the early 1950s he formed an all-black drama group, called The Bareti Players, whose first production in circe 1953/1955(?*) was of A Comedy of Errors. * Became a founder member and chairman of the Union of Southern African Artists, later abandoning his position in the commercial world to run Union Artists. He was also the founder of the Phoenix Players with Barney Simon in 196* and in 1965 presented Athol Fugard and Molly Seftel in Fugard’s Hello and Goodbye at the Library in 1965. He brought Athol Fugard, John Kani and Winston Ntshona’s workshopped play, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, starring John Kani and Winston Ntshona to Johannesburg for the Phoenix Players in November 1972. It was directed by Barney Simon and staged at the Men’s Common Room at Wits University.


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