Michael Williams

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Michael Williams (1962-) is an arts administrator, and the authors of plays, musicals, operas and novels.




Michael started his opera career working as an Assistant Director for New Sadler’s Wells Opera in London, touring productions throughout the UK. He returned to South Africa and worked for Cape Town Opera for the next twenty years as head of Outreach, opera director, General Manager and finally as Managing Director. He moved to Buxton, England in 2018 and, asof 2024, is Chief Executive Officer of the Buxton International Festival.

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

As administrator

He was Managing Director of Cape Town Opera.

As writer

Opera and Musicals

He has written the book and lyrics or libretti for the following musicals and operas:

He has written operas for young people based on African mythology (published by Heinemann Press in the anthology South African Operas for Young People), as well as the libretti for symphonic operas that have premiered around the world.

NorlandOperan in Sweden commissioned and produced two of his operas (Poet and Prophetess) and The Elephant Man (Unander-Scharin).


He began writing radio plays while studying at University of Cape Town. His plays include:

  • Water Carriers (performed in theatres in Indianapolis, Brooklyn and New York)

Other works

Williams had his first novel published when he was twenty-five years old. He is a prize-winning author of thirteen novels, including the highly praised young adult novel Crocodile Burning.



Buxton International Festival Website, https://buxtonfestival.co.uk/about-us/team