Intimate Theatre

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(Often referred to simply as "The Intimate")

There are a few South African theatres with this name.

The Intimate Theatre, Rissik Street, Johannesburg


The ‘Y’ was a purpose-built theatre at the north end of Rissik Street, Johannesburg, built by, and attached to the YMCA in 1955. Later renamed the Intimate Theatre.


Shirley Firth staged the comedy The Little Hut. The hit revue, Let Your Hair Down, was staged at the Intimate Theatre as 1958 drew to its close, and continued in 1959. It starred the creator of the show Adam Leslie, together with Joan Blake, Hilda Kriseman, visiting American Eric Micklewood, and a three-girl chorus. Leonard Schach’s Cockpit Players embarked on a lengthy Johannesburg run of four of their recent Cape Town successes in 1959. The first was Long Day's Journey into Night at the Intimate, starring Leon Gluckman, John McKelvey, Joan Blake and Nigel Hawthorne in 1959. The second was Basil Warner’s Try for White, which opened at the Pretoria Opera House before moving to the Intimate Theatre for the remainder of their highly successful run. It starred Marjorie Gordon, Nigel Hawthorne, Zoe Randall, Michael Turner. Joyce Grant and Fiona Fraser replaced Minna Millsten and Heather Lloyd-Jones respectively, from the Cape Town cast. Taubie Kushlick directed The Marriage-Go-Round which was staged at the Intimate Theatre in September 1959, with Gordon Mulholland, Fiona Fraser and Peggy Moran. The YMCA committee for the Intimate gave Leonard Schach permission to stage Brendan Behan’s play The Hostage at the Intimate Theatre in 1960. Yet they refused permission to stage his Lock Up Your Daughters. Kushlick-Gluckman took on a twelve-month contract with the Intimate in 1960. Kushlick-Gluckman mounted a revival of Clare Boothe’s The Women at the Intimate in 1961. Anthony Farmer designed, and Shirley Firth, Jenny Gratus, Valerie Miller and Diane Wilson were in the lead roles. Leon Gluckman presented Athol Fugard’s The Blood Knot here in 1961. It starred Athol himself and Zakes Mokae. [Hosted the landmark 1963 ??? production of Athol Fugard’s The Blood Knot.] Leon Gluckman staged a revue, Wait a Minim! at the Intimate in 1962 with musicians Andrew and Paul Tracey, Kendrew Lascelles and Jeremy Taylor. Anthony Farmer was the set designer. Taubie Kushlick presented a revival of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, and The Private Ear and The Public Eye, both directed by Peter Shaffer at the Intimate in 1964. PACT staged an Afrikaans translation of The Italian Straw Hat which François Swart directed at the Intimate in 1966. Ricky Arden directed Bartho Smit’s Die Man Met ‘n Lyk om Sy Nek and Frank Wedekind’s The Love Potion for PACT at the Intimate in 1966. Among the local actors kept in steady employment by these PACT productions were Siegfried Mynhardt, John Whiteley, Ronald Wallace, Arthur Hall, Kerry Jordan, Maureen McAllister and Shirley Firth. Shirley Firth and actor-director Angus Neill established The Stage Company and took a two year lease at the Intimate where their first production was a revival of André Roussin’s comedy The Little Hut circa 1966. Adam Leslie presented The Merry Minstrel Show here in September 1966. Angus McNeill and Shirley Firth staged their second production, The Creeper, with Michael McCabe and John Hayter in 1967. The Neill/Firth company staged Caste, starring Angus Neill, Adrian Egan, Elaine Lee and Arthur Hall in 1967. Neill renamed the show True Hearts Are More Than Coronets. Shirley Firth holding lease to the Intimate, Pieter Toerien and Basil Rubin stepped forward as new management in 1969. Their first co-production was The Secretary Bird which was directed by Kerry Jordan and starred Jeremy Hawk, Shelagh Holliday, Ivan Berold and Firth. The new seating capacity of the revamped Intimate was 235. Toerien, Rubin and Firth staged Anthony Shaffer’s thriller Sleuth, starring Ralph Michael and Nicholas Amer, and directed by Warren Jenkins at the Intimate circa 1970. Toerien-Firth presented Wait Until Dark starring Shirley Anne Field at the Intimate in 1972. Toerien/Firth presented the Francis Durbridge thriller Suddenly at Home and Royce Ryton’s Crown Matrimonial at the Intimate in 1973. The latter starred Owen Holder and Peggy Thorpe-Bates. They also brought Libby Morris to star in Just Libby in 1973. Toerien-Firth brought Muriel Pavlow, Robert Flemyng, Robert Beatty and Ron Smerczak to star at the Intimate in Terence Rattigan’s In Praise of Love in 1974. They also got John Fernald to direct Hildegard Neil in a revival of Private Lives, and Heather Lloyd-Jones to star in Jerome Chodorov’s A Community of Two, directed by Chodorov at the Intimate in 1974. A.R. Gurney’s Children with Erica Rogers, Sandra Duncan and Kim Braden was staged here in 1974. Toerien-Firth brought Maxine Audley and Richard Huggett with director Laurier Lister from England for Not Bloody Likely at the Intimate in 1975. They also brought Jeremy Hawk and Elspeth March for The Payoff in 1975. Toerien-Firth staged William Douglas-Home’s The Kingfisher here in 1977. Pieter Toerien staged the American mini-musical Starting Here, Starting Now, directed by John Montgomery and starring Andre Hattingh, Denise Freeman and Richard Loring here in 1978. Toerien-Firth presented Anthony Marriott and John Chapmans’s Shut Your Eyes and Think of England, directed by Roger Redfarn and starring Peter Blythe (later replaced by Simon Merrick). It ran here from 1978 to January 1979. Woody Allen’s Play it Again, Sam was staged here crca 1978. Toerien-Firth staged Royce Ryton’s The Unvarnished Truth with Michael Richard, Anthony Fridjhon, Nicholas Ellenbogen and Lynne White and directed by Joan Kemp-Welch in 1979. Hugh Leonard’s Da, directed by Leonard Schach with Godfrey Quigley and Michael McGovern played here in 1979. Toerien-Firth staged Mark Camelotti’s Happy Birthday starring Clive Scott here in 1980. Toerien-Firth staged Andrew Davies’ Rose starring Sandra Duncan at the Intimate in 1980/1981. Tom Lehrer’s Tomfoolery starring Michael McGovern, Andre Hattingh, Tim Plewman and Jonathan Rands was staged here in 1981. Leslie Darbon’s Murder by Proxy starring James White, Yvonne Banning, Richard Cox and James Borthwick was staged here in 1981. Pieter Toerien presented Noël Coward’s Oh Coward, directed by Freddie Carpenter with Richard Loring, Judy Page and Ronnie Stevens here in 1982. Pieter Toerien and Shirley Firth staged their last joint production here in 1982 namely the Baxter Theatre production of Robert Kirby’s It’s a Boy! starring Dale Cutts, Bo Petersen and James Irwin and directed by Keith Grenville. A group called A Teater with Michal Grobbelaar as its chairman took over the lease of the Intimate in 1983. Their first production was Patrick Mynhardt’s The Boy from Bethulie. Jill Gerard and Joyce Levinsohn’s new Children’s Theatre company staged their Easter holiday production, Tales of Beatrix Potter here in 1983. The Market’s Talley’s Folley was staged here in 1983. Children’s Theatre staged Jack and the Beanstalk starring Sue Kelly Christie, Michael Brunner, Drummond Marais and Kevin Feather here in July 1984. Roger Leclercq presented Jeremy Taylor’s Stuff here in 1984. Joyce Levinsohn and Jill Gerard staged The Wizard of Oz and Aladdin in 1986. Jill Gerard’s People’s Theatre presented Winnie the Pooh and The Wizard of Oz in 1991. ****


Gosher, 1988;

Tucker, 1997;

SACD 1975/76)[JH & SH]

The Intimate Theatre, Cape Town

A performance space on the Hiddingh Campus of the University of Cape Town


Situated behind the Little Theatre on Orange Street, this space was originally built in the 1950's, after the Drama Department's studios had burnt down, and was to be used as a student working space and rehearsal studios.

In 2002 Christopher Weare and Patrick Curtis re-opened the space as a theatre venue, primarily for use by newly established professionals. They called it the Intimate Theatre, and intended it to be used as a venue in which to experiment and produce work without a crippling theatre rental.

Among the groups to use it have been The Mechanicals.



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