Norman Coates () is a stage, Film and TV Designer.
He studied fine arts at the University of Cape Town.
In the late 1960s he went to London, where he and Antony Osler worked as singers in the pop/folk group Canticle (along with Marloe Scott-Wilson, also known as Mandi Wilson). They then decided to come home, so in the early 1970s they started a theatre company started a small theatre company in the basement of the La Perla restaurant in Rondebosch, Cape Town. This kept going for about 9 months until the fire department closed it down.
Norman then returned to the UK to pursue a career in theatre design, while Suzanne remained in SA, and Tony, after returning to the UK to teach and study, returned to SA to pursue his career as a human rights lawyer, and eventually also a Buddhist teacher. In England he was for 4 years the Resident Designer at the Almost Free Theatre in London and designed +/- 40 new plays by writers such as Edward Bond, Tom Stoppard, Robert Patrick and Heathcote Williams. Received a Young Designers Award from the Arts Council of Great Britain and studied theatre design in Germany. He then joined the British American Repertory Company and designed Stoppard's Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth, Dirty Linen and The Irish Hebrew Lesson by English playwright Wolf Mankowitz (1924-1998).
Going freelance, Norman went on to design for such establishments as the Overground Theatre Club, RADA, Rose Bruford College, the Shaw Theatre, The Criterion and the Churchill. He also continued doing the occasional designs in South Africa.
He designed set and costumes for a London production of A Lesson from Aloes in 2019.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
When Norman and Tony then decided to come home, and in the early 1970’s he, Antony Osler and Suzanne Goldberg (AKA Suzanne Brenner), started a small theatre company in the basement of the La Perla restaurant in Rondebosch. This kept going for about 9 months until the fire department closed them down.
Norman then returned to the UK to pursue a career in theatre design, while Suzanne remained in SA, and Tony, after returning to the UK to teach and study, returned to SA to pursue his career as a human rights lawyer, and eventually also a Buddhist teacher.
Among the many South African productions Norman Coates has been involved with have been:
In 1967 he was the designer for the Wynberg Boys’ High School production of See How They Run.
He was the designer for The Survivors (Downstairs at The Space, 1973), Hardy Folk, Marico Moonshine and Mampoer (1981), 84 Charing Cross Road (Market Theatre 1982), Saturday Night at the Palace (1982-1983, and again on 2004) at the Market Theatre, The Paradise Concerto by Mario Schiess at the Roodepoort Civic Theatre, The Touch of Pink (a TV movie by Geraldine Aron, SABC TV, 1982) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2007).
E-mail Correspondence from Norman Coates, Tuesday 2021/12/14
Saturday Night at the Palace programme notes, 1982.
Sunday Independent, 8 July 2007.
Go to ESAT Bibliography
Return to ESAT Personalities C
Return to South African Theatre Personalities
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page