Irene Stephanou

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Irene Stephanou (19*-) is an performer, stand-up comedienne, writer, and teacher.


She has been living with Multiple Scelerosis (MS) since she was 16 years old.

Studied drama at the School of Dramatic Art, University of the Witwatersrand and graduated with a BA (Dramatic Arts) Honours in 1983. She went on to work as an actress, playwright, author, comedienne and teacher.

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

In 1984 she co-wrote and performed in her first one-woman show, Stukkie Jols, with Peni Flascas. This was followed by pieces like Is Every Sperm Sacred?, Meze, Mira and Make-Up'Meze, Mira and Make-Up, Acropolis Cafe.

As an actress she appeared in Via Castiglione, All the Rage, The Last Trek, Wolfboy, The Best Wedding Ever.

All her new work has been staged at the Market Theatre. They include

She developed a course called 'Theatre and Life' under the supervision of Barney Simon, and runs it at the Market Theatre Laboratory. She also organises development workshops in Johannesburg.

Co-edited a book on Barney Simon entitled The World in an Orange: Creating Theatre with Barney Simon with Leila Henriques.

Awards, etc.

Stephanou, Irene for her performance in `Is every sperm sacred' [The Tonight/IGI Life Vita Award for Comedy] (1992).

Irene was nominated for a Vita Award for best actress in Via Castiglione and a DALRO award for the The Caucasian Chalk Circle. In 1992 she won the AA Vita Award for comedy for her one-woman show Is Every Sperm Sacred?. The show was also selected for a reading at The Third International Women's Conference in Australia. The show was performed in Melbourne and was recorded by The Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


Programme notes of Meze, Mira and Make-Up in 1996 at the Market Theatre.

Speak, November 1992, pages 27-8.

Irene Stephanou and Leila Henriques. 2005 The World in an Orange: Creating Theatre with Barney Simon. Johannesburg: Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd

Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

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