Norman Coombes

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COOMBES, Norman (1922-2004) Actor, dramatist and director. ****


He was born in Durban and died in Johannesburg in May 2004, aged 82.



He started his professional career in Durban with the Intimate Theatre in 1952. He has worked for PACT. He was seen in a variety of roles in CAPAB productions.

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

The Bed-Sitting Room, (producer & Director), Shadow of Heroes, L'amante Anglaise

He acted in Satin and Tweed in Cape Town.

Acted in Alice's Adventures Underground, Send for Dolly, Cape Charade or Kaatjie Kekkelbek, The Chalk Garden, Equus, The Crucible, Charley's Aunt, In the Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer, The Lady's not for Burning, Shadowlands, We All Fall Down, The Seven Ages, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Cavern, Shakespeare's Macbeth, Yelena, Murder Among Friends, The Unexpected Guest, Savages, Thark, King John, Much Ado about Nothing, Child's Play, The Magnolia Tree, Cause Célèbre, Annie.

Directed Blitzbreeker and the Chicken from Hell (1990), Journey's End (1977), As Long As They’re Happy (1955), Doctor Faustus (1972), Animal Farm, Child's Play, Marching Song, The Nuns, Journey's End. He directed The Nuns, Investigations into the Death of a Greek, Journey's End, for PACT at the Market Theatre in February 1977 starring himself, Dale Cutts, Frantz Dobrowsky, Richard Haines, Michael McCabe, John Rogers. He directed the PACT production of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail starring Neil McCarthy at the Alexander Theatre in February 1984, In This Court, Rapid Eye Movements.

Produced Vincent van Gogh: The Lark and the Crow, 1979.

Wrote Episodes in Light and Dark for which he received the Amstel Playwright of the Year Award in 1993; A Hill Above Camdeboo; A Snake in the Garden (winner of several awards), Ten Unexpected Spiders, Trial of Bessiewallis, The Bicycle Riders.

He appeared in the films Never Say Die and The Mangler and the 1974 Roger Moore film, Gold.

Awards, etc

Winner of the Fleur du Cap Award for Best New Indigenous Script (1988) for A Snake in the Garden. He received the Amstel Playwright of the Year Award in 1993 for Episodes in Light and Dark.


SACD 1973, 1974.

Tucker, 1997. 83, 344, 433.

Star, 17 May 2004.

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