Molly Seftel

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Molly Seftel (b. 07/10/1930 - d. 05/01/2020) was an actress.


Molly Seftel was born in Johannesburg to Louis Seftel and his wife, Mary Rafel. At one stage her father and later her mother ran a fresh produce stall at the Indian Fruit Market on the site where, many years later, their daughter would appear on the stage of the Market Theatre. Molly attended the Jeppe High School for Girls. Some of her first stage appearances were for the Dramateers, the East Rand Theatre Club and the University Players. Between 1954 and 1956 she was in England, but after her return she made regular appearances on the Johannesburg stage and elsewhere. A striking-looking woman, her work ranged from the classics to experimental and included many challenging roles. Thus she acted in plays like The Lady’s Not for Burning (Christopher Fry), The House of Bernarda Alba (Federico Garcia Lorca) and Mourning Becomes Electra (Eugene O’Neill), but also in The Maids (Jean Genet), The Shrew (Charles Marowitz) and the world premiere of Athol Fugard’s Hello and Goodbye, opposite Fugard himself.

She was married to Monty Sklaar, who was a pharmacist and later became a city councillor, representing the Langlaagte-Mayfair constituency. In 1975 he became the deputy mayor of Johannesburg and the following year the mayor. By all accounts Molly was an unconventional mayoress, keen to break down existing class and racial barriers. At that stage Monty Sklaar was a member of the United Party, but after he stepped down as mayor, both he and Molly joined the liberal Progressive Party. In 1978 he won the constituency of Highlands North for the Progressive Party. In 1981 he contested the parliamentary seat of Westdene against the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pik Botha, while Molly stood for the provincial council seat. Neither of them won, but Molly kept campaigning for the abolishment of apartheid in the theatre and was an active member of the Black Sash. Her husband died in 1996 and the couple had two daughters. Prof. Harry Seftel, the popular “radio doctor”, is her brother.



1949 – Thérèse (Producer: Sheila Houston for The Playmakers), 1950 – Night (Produced by The Dramateers), 1950 – Power Without Glory (Producer: Taubie Kushlick for East Rand Theatre Club), 1950 – The Wind and the Rain (Producers: Taubie Kushlick and Margery Weston for Medical School Players, University of the Witwatersrand), The Women (Producer: Taubie Kushlick), 1951 – The Lady’s Not for Burning (Margaret Inglis for University Players), 1951 – Bonaventure (Producer: Anna Romain Hoffman for East Rand Theatre Club), 1952 – Samson and Delilah (Reps Theatre), 1952 – The House of Bernarda Alba (Producer: Leonard Schach), The Princess and the Swineherd (Producer: Margaret Inglis for The Children’s Theatre), 1952 – The Barretts of Wimpole Street (Producer: Elizabeth Renfield), 1953 – Governor of the Black Rock (Producer: Leon Gluckman for East Rand Theatre Club), 1953 – Liliom (Producer: Cecil Williams for Regent Players), 1953 – The Anniversary (Producer: Leonard Schach for National Theatre Organisation), 1956 – Mango Leaf Magic (Producer: John McKelvey for The Children’s Theatre), 1957 – The Merchant of Venice (Producer: Cecil Williams for Open Air Theatre), 1959 – Four O’clock Noon (Producer: George Canes for Theatre Guild), 1959 – The Crucible (Producer: Leonard Schach for University Players), 1959 – Under Milk Wood (Producer: Hugh Goldie for Reps Theatre), 1959 – The Lower Depths (Producer: Ricky Arden for Reps Theatre), 1961 – A Macbeth (Producer: Ricky Arden for Regis Players), 1961 – Dark of the Moon (Producer: George Canes for Kadimah Players), 1962 – Little Orphan Nell, 1962 – The Mousetrap (Producer: Simon Swindell at Alexander Theatre), 1963 – Policy for Murder (Producer: John Hayter at Alexander Theatre), 1964 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Producers: Joan Brickhill & Louis Burke at Alexander Theatre), 1964 – The Maids (Producer: Barney Simon for Phoenix Players), 1965 – Hello and Goodbye (Producer: Barney Simon for Phoenix Players), 1966 – Jonah at Nineveh (Producer: Charles Stodel), 1967 – Mourning Becomes Electra (Producer: Walter Czaschke for PACT), 1969 – Hadrian VII (Producer: Robert Mohr for PACT), 1969 – King Lear (Producer: Robert Mohr for PACT), 1972 – The Maids (Produced: Barney Simon), 1975/1976/1980 – The Shrew (Producer: Dawn Lindberg), 1978 – Golda (Producer: Leonard Schach at Alexander Theatre), 1980 - Zeyda, or The Pedlar’s Progress (Producer: Norman Coombes at Market Theatre), 1983 – The Wound (Producer: Cedric Sundström at Wits University Theatre), 1984 – Letters from Uncle Barney (Producer: Norman Coombes at Market Theatre), 1989 – Camelot (Producer: Francois Swart for PACT), 1994 – Take the Floor (Producer: Lara Foot at Market Theatre), 2001 – Her Story (Producer: John Caviggia at Artscape).


1970 – Scotty Smith / Scotty & Co. (Director: Peter Henkel), 1978 – Dr. Marius Hugo (Director: Tim Spring), 1978 – Billy Boy (Director: Tim Spring), 1986 – Hostage (Director: Hanro Möhr), 1998 – Inside Out (Director: Neal Sundström).


1976 – Delusions (TV play) (Director: Gray Hofmeyr), 1978 – Opdrag (TV series) (Director: Bertrand Retief), 1978 – Sebastiaan Senior (TV series – single episode) (Director: Manie van Rensburg), 1978 – Salomé (TV play) (Director: William C. Faure), 1980 – It’s on Broadway (TV show) (Producer: Ken Kirsten), 1980 – Right You Are – If You Think So! (TV 3-part drama) (Director: Ken Leach), 1983 – House of Mankowitz (TV series) (Directors: Hans Kühle & Nikolas Simmonds), 1991 - The Big Time (TV series) (Director: Gray Hofmeyr).


1976 DALRO Award for best actress in English for the role of Kate in The Shrew

Gallery Club Award winner in 1966 for Hello and Goodbye, and in 1976 for The Shrew.


Rand Daily Mail (various issues)

Sunday Times (various issues)

SACD 1973.

Tucker, Percy - Just the ticket!: my 50 years in show business (1997)

Various entries in the NELM catalogue

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