Lucille Gillwald

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Lucille Gillwald (1934-1991). Bilingual actress and director.


Born 26 May 1934 on the diamond fields in the Northern Cape. She died on 26 August 1991 from cancer. She was a member of the National Council of Women that became the Black Sash. In 1959 she was in a serious car accident and spent a considerable time in hospital. During that time she completed a licentiate in speech and drama. Her husband, Dr Frank Gillwald, passed away shortly before she directed Bruid for SUKOVS. She married Ralph Hodgen



Became a leading force in amateur theatre in Welkom in the Orange Free State in the early 1970s, working with the ***?? Society in the Ernest Oppenheimer Theatre. Turning professional she worked with Barney Simon on the “Winterveld Project”. In 198* she began to work for the Market Theatre where she became instrumental to its workings.

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

She played a small role in Taubie Kushlick and Brian Brooke’s production of Arnold Perl’s play Tevye and His Daughters (1966).

She directed inter alia Poppie (by Elsa Joubert) for the Market Theatre and took it on a successful tour of New York and the USA.

Other shows directed include Nag, Generaal (1988), Curl Up and Dye (1990), Nongogo, Buried Child, Hey Smile Wit' Me, The War at Home, Skirmishes.

Directed actress Elize Cawood in Stephen Gray's Schreiner: A One Woman Play (1983, Grahamstown Festival) and at the Laager in August 1983. She directed The Glass Menagerie starring Shelagh Holliday and Lesley Nott at Upstairs at the Market in 1981.

She directed Reza de Wet’s Diepe Grond starring Dawid Minnaar, Susan Coetzer, Gys de Villiers and Doris Sihula at Upstairs at the Market in 1986.

Her production of Sam Shephard’s True West was staged at the Market Theatre in 1985. Her production of John Patrick Shanley’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea was staged at the Laager in 1986. She directed Sing jy van Bomme in 1988 and Susan Pam’s Curl Up and Dye at the Black Sun in 1989.

Home Free (The Laager, 198-)

She co-wrote and directed U'phu Van der Merwe? in 1987.

Awards, etc

She was awarded the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Award for resident director at the Market Theatre in 1985.

In 1985 she was nominated for the DALRO and AA Life Vita Awards as Best Director for The War at Home.

For Diepe Grond Lucille won the AA Life Vita Award for Best Direction and Best Production of a New South African Play.

For more information

A tribute to Lucille Gillwald written by Annemarie Hendrikz. Copy available at NELM, Location: 927 GIL.


National Arts Festival programme, 1988, p. 42.

Beeld, 28 August 1991.

Tucker, 1997.

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