Roy Sargeant

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Roy Sargeant (1941-2021) Director, filmmaker, academic and teacher.


He passed away in Cape Town on 27 December, 2021.



He has a BA (Hons) from UCT.


After graduating Roy freelanced as a director. In 1963 he joined Rhodes University as a senior lecturer in speech and drama. In 1973 he became the (first ???) professor and head and turned that department into one of the premier schools for training in the country. As head of the department he also played a major role in the establishment of the Grahamstown Festival and served on its planning committee for many years. The Student Drama Festival, the establishment of the Standard Bank Young Artists' Awards and the Winter School were his brain children.

He also did freelance work, i.a. acting in The Mind Mirror for **(1975, also playing at The Space).

Over the years he directed a large number of plays for varous amateur and professional companies, including the various Performing Arts Councils.

He left Rhodes University in 1982 to become the Head of English Drama at the SABC. In 19** he moved to Franschhoek near Cape Town, where he opened a restaurant ("Polfyntjies").

Since 200* he was much involved with script development and enabling new artists in the region by his involvement with the Baxter Theatre as director of the Baxter Theatre’s successful New Writing Programme. A Writer's Last Word, staged at the Baxter Theatre, was its first commission. In 200* moved on to Artscape, where he continued the programme. Also founded his own production company, Roy Sargeant Productions in 19**.

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

Acted in Waiting for Godot (as Pozzo, 1965), The Mind Mirror (The Space, 1975).

He wrote the play Cry, the Beloved Country, adapted from Alan Paton's novel, in 2003. He translated 'n Seder val in Waterkloof, entitled Send for Dolly.

At the age of 25 he directed his first play, Farquhar’s The Beaux Stratagem at the Hofmeyr Theatre Cape Town, starting a love affair with comedy and particularly the comedy of manners which has played an enormous role in his career.

As director did i.a. The Rivals (PACOFS, 1969), The Magistrate starring John Hayter for PACT in 1969, Say Who You Are and Twelfth NIght (1978), Death of a Salesman (CAPAB, 1979), The Relapse (CAPAB, 1979), The School for Scandal (PACT 1980). A Day in the Death of Joe Egg for the Company at the Market Theatre in May 1980, Shrivings with Joe Stewardson and John Hussey for PACT in 1982, Othello (Maynardville 1982), Arcadia (1993), a hugely successful production of Dancing at Lughnasa for the Baxter in March 1998, The Elephant Man, Glass Roots (Baxter Theatre, 2000), The Return (Fatima Dike, 2008), Cry Havoc in 2015.

Since around 2000 he has been writing and directing for television.

Awards, etc

He received the Three Leaf Arts Award for best director for Hadrian VII and Romeo and Juliet. He received the Fleur du Cap for his direction of The Relapse.

Winner of two Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards as Best Director (1978, 2000),

He won the M-Net Vita Best Film award for his production of Athol Fugard's The Road to Mecca.


Burger, 4 January 1978.

Programme notes of The Elephant Man in 1998.

Tucker, 1997.

Numerous entries in the NELM catalogue.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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