Jill Girard

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Jill Girard (19*-) is an actress, director and company manager. (Her names have on occasion been wrongly spelled, appearing as "Gill" and as "Gerard". Percy Tucker (1997) gives "Gerard" as an alternative spelling.)


As a child, she studied with Rita Maas, and started her professional career as a child actor in a production of Daddy Long Legs with Diane Todd and Bob Courtney. She completed her degree in Drama at ** and then went to Drama School in London.

In England she performed in several plays including the British premieres of plays by Thornton Wilder and Tenessee Williams, and appeared at the annual Shaw Festival at Ayot St. Lawrence, and the Kensington Arts Festival.

Her contribution to South African theatre, film, media and performance

As actress

On her return to Cape Town, she worked as an actress at the Space Theatre, Nico Malan Theatre for CAPAB. In this time she met Henry Goodman, who introduced her to children's theatre.

As director

She has directed for both television and theatre, but has always preferred live theatre. Productions include Absolutely Fabulously Broadway, My Way and Voila Moulin Rouge

Her work in children's theatre

Initally working with Joyce Levinsohn, under the name of the Children's Theatre, she did Pinocchio in 1979, The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen at the Sandown Hall in 1980, an Easter holiday production, Tales of Beatrix Potter at the Intimate Theatre in 1983, The Wizard of Oz and Aladdin at the Intimate Theatre in 1986 and an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories in the old elephant house at the Johannesburg Zoo in the same year.

After the demise of the Children's Theatre Organization, she went on to form Peoples Theatre, a company initially based at the Intimate Theatre. They presented Winnie the Pooh and The Wizard of Oz in 1991, Peter Pan in 1992 and with the backing of Nedbank and Penguin Publishers, she took a tour of Peter Rabbit and Other Tales to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban in 1993. Cinderella, The Magic of Walt Disney, Gingerbread Man, Babe .

With Keith Smith as partner, the company later made the Joburg Theatre Complex (formerly the Johannesburg Civic Theatre) its home, where it would do 8 productions a year.



Tucker, 1997.

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