Laurence Sidney Hall
Laurence Sidney Hall (1930-2015) was a human resources specialist and theatre practitioner.
Also known as Laurie Hall.
Laurence (Laurie) was born in Pretoria on 25 February 1930. After completing his high school education at Pretoria Boys High School in 1945, at the tender age of 15, he attended the University of Pretoria to study architecture, which he completed, and then decided he didn’t want to be an architect, he would rather be in the theatre, initially as dancers, actor, set designer, stage manager and theatre manager in South Africa and then for a number of years (1957-1968) in the then Rhodesia.
While there he got married in 1960 and the couple had two daughters.
He returned to Johannesburg in 1969, where he, having begun building a career in Human Resources, eventually took over the firm of Garry Whyte Associates, retiring at the age of 79.
Hall died in Johannesburg on 3rd September 2015 of lung complications
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
Between 1952 and 1955 he took part in several productions either as walk-on parts or in set designing and Stage Management, the year in which he and Clifford Williams started the Arena Theatre Company in Johannesburg.
In the early years he did the set designs for a number of productions in Pretoria and Johannesburg, including : Production Producer / Company Employed as: Pygmalion ( Eve Shapiro / Pretoria Amateurs Set Designer Importance of being Ernest Eve Shapiro / Pretoria Amateurs Set Designer Dial M for Murder Eve Shapiro Set Designer Dream Girl Joan Brink for Wingate Park Club Set Designer
Season of Ballet Johannesburg Ballet Theatre Guest artist Male Polotzvian Dances under Ame de Nitre lead
Tea & Sympathy Taubie Kushlick Stage Director / One-liner part
Taming of the Shrew Children’s Theatre Grumio
The Rose Without a Thorn Anthony Farmer/Johannesburg Reps 3 character parts
Pinocchio (In the Round) Clifford William/Children’s Theatre Stage Director/ 3 character parts incl. Harlequin
Marching Song Clifford Williams/ Johannesburg Arena Theatre Set Designer/ Assistant Producer / Stage Manager
(The Arena Theatre Company was started jointly at this time by Laurie Hall and Clifford Willams and remainder of the company’s productions were continued under Laurie Hall)
Noah Leon Gluckman Actor
The Lark Will Jamieson/ Johannesburg Arena Theatre Set Designer/ Actor The Promoter
The Lady’s not for Burning Will Jamieson/ Johannesburg Arena Theatre Set Designer / Actor Nicholas
Antigone Will Jamieson/ Johannesburg Arena Theatre Set Designer / Actor The Messenger
(The company was dissolved after this production due to lack of funds)
Season of Ballet Frank Staff / SA Ballet Company Stage Manager
The Merchant of Venice Cecil William / Open Air Theatre Actor: Lancelot Gobbo
(The above were all listed by my father on his “theatrical CV” which was submitted to the Broken Hill Arts Society (Kabwe Zambia) when he applied for the position as Producer at the Venus Theatre).
In 1957 Laurence Hall moved to Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia where he continued as the Producer for the Broken Hill Arts Society (later became Kabwe Arts Society) until 1969. For this society he wrote a play for produced in Kabwe for Behind any Door, the 1962 Northern Rhodesian Theatre Festival and drew up the plans and oversaw the building, refurbishment and conversion of the existing hall to a complete 170 seater theatre.
After his return from Rhodesia, he still took part in a few amateur productions in the next few years, but was by then concentrating on his career so never worked professionally again.
E-mail correspondence from Lesley Gilbert, daughter of L.S. Hall (5 May and 13 May, 2020)
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