Richard Haines

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Richard Haddon Haines (1948-1990). Actor on stage, film and TV.


He died unexpectedly and tragically in 1990 at a high point in his career.


Haines was born in Empangeni, Zululand on 19 November 1948, educated at Hilton College, where he played the leading role in several school plays. He acquired the rank of second lieutenant during his national service in the Navy, and was presented with the Orator of the Year Award at the Naval Gym in Saldanha Bay.


After leaving the Navy, he enrolled first at Natal University and later at the University of Cape Town to do a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, but soon discovered that thw world of business was not for him. He returned to Natal and studied at the University of Natal’s Department of Drama in Durban, from where he graduated with a BA in 1972. He studied under Professor Elizabeth Sneddon and Joan Little.


Thereafter he joined the PACT Young Company at the Doornfontein Arena. He resigned in 1976 since when he worked extensively in theatre, films and television.

His portrayal of Iago in Othello (Suzman, 1987) gained him an invitation to join the Royal Shakespeare Company in England, where he won critical acclaim for his work, particularly as the King in King Lear (1989). He spent two and a half years in England.

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

Hugely popular and versatile as performer (his performance in the TV series Westgate made him a household name), he was particularly admired for his award winning performances on stage.

Performed with the Natal Theatre Workshop Company in Much Ado about Nothing and Black Comedy.

He starred in Aubrey Berg’s Story Theatre for PACT in 1974, the PACT production of Death of a Salesman, 1975, Falstaff which was staged by PACT at the Alexander Theatre in 1976, in A Flea in her Ear (PACT 1976) and in a revival of Journey's End, (PACT 1977).

He also performed in Charley's Aunt , at the Arena Theatre in Enemy!, in Children of the Wolf, Story Theatre, Twigs, Troilus and Cressida, Elizabeth I and Major Barbara.

He has also appeared in Dear Daddy, (1978), Alan Ayckbourn’s How the Other Half Loves, (1979), Info Scandals (Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1979) and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

He starred in Roy Sargeant’s production of Sheridan’s The School for Scandal (PACT 1980), he gave a memorable portrayal of Antonio Salieri in Amadeus at the Alhambra Theatre in 1981, Quartermaine's Terms in 1982, The Real Thing in 1983, Sweeney Todd in August 1983, Clarence Darrow in January 1984. It returned twice and played at the Grahamstown Festival.

He starred in Robert Kirby’s The Wrong Time of Year, 1984, Benefactors, 1985, Miscarriage of Murder, 1986. In 1986 he also played the role of Serge Pavlovitch Diaghilev in Snake Beneath the Rose directed by Janice Honeyman. He starred in Janet Suzman’s production of Othello at the Market Theatre in September 1987.

'The Merchant of VeniceSandra Duncan, dir. Ken Leach, set design: Penny Simpson; costume design: James Parker, Sand Du Plessis Theatre, Aug. 1985

As director he did Session, which was workshopped by PACT company members for PACT at the Alexander in 1976.

He directed Chekhov in Yalta starring Frantz Dobrowsky, Michael McCabe, James Borthwick and Jacqui Singer in 1986. He also directed Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya starring Frantz Dobrowsky, Michael McCabe, James Borthwick, Jacqui Singer, Shelagh Holliday and Charlotte Butler which ran at the same time in 1986.

He filmed for 7 months on Westgate III for SATV. On this series he worked as writer, director and actor. The first play which he had written for television, Total Strangers (went?) into production in 1985 (?).

Awards, etc

In his first year of professional acting he won The Sammy for Best Actor on the Johannesburg Stage.

Won the Stuart Leith Trophy for Best Actor of the Year for playing "Salieri" in Amadeus.

In 1984 he enjoyed great success with the one-man show Clarence Darrow, for which he received both DALRO's Stuart Leith Trophy (for the third time) and the new AA Mutual Life Vita Award, for the Best Actor of the Year.

Pieter Toerien added a third, hundred-seater, auditorium called the Richard Haines Theatre to the Alhambra in 1991.


Tucker, 1997.

SACD 1973; 1974; 1975/76.

Programme of The Wrong Time of Year by Robert Kirby produced by Pieter Toerien in 1984. First performance was on November 26th, 1984.

Part of a speech delivered by Mannie Manim at Richard’s funeral, published in the National Arts Festival programme, 1991. 55.

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