Terrence Shank

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Terrence Shank (1941-2014) was an American-born playwright and director.


Born in Ohio, USA. He worked in South Africa from 1985 to 1991 and went back to the USA. In 2006 he returned to South Africa and settled in Knysna, where he ran the Knysna Playhouse until his retirement. Shank died in April 2014 of bone cancer at his home in Knysna.



Founder of The Colony Theater in Los Angeles and longtime artistic director of the IceHouse Theatre (1992-2005) in Mount Dora, Florida. From 1985 to 1991 he was associate director of drama with the National Theatre of South Africa, where he staged 86 professional productions.

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

Terrence directed Edward Albee's The Lady from Dubuque for PACT, then his own adaptation of Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath starring Michael McCabe, Erica Rogers, Sean Taylor and James Borthwick was staged in 1986. He directed Joe Orton’s Loot starring Michael McCabe, James Borthwick, Michael Richard and Aletta Bezuidenhout for PACT in October 1986; Four Play, The Taming of the Shrew, Nude with Stretch Marks, The Survivalist, Social Security, He directed PACT’s production of Mark Rozovsky’s Strider at the Alexander Theatre in 1987; Above the Wind, Looking-Glass, all for PACT.

Other independent productions include his production of Sugar and Spice starring Bess Finney which was the opening production at the Little Theatre, Rosebank in February 1987. He directed Sandra Prinsloo and Sean Taylor in Double Double at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1987. and Berlin to Broadway. For Pieter Toerien he has directed Tribute, The Perfect Party, Corpse! and Last Summer at Bluefish Cove (1988).

He directed Allan Browne’s Beirut for PACT in 1988, Vladimir Gubartev’s Sarcophagus at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1988, a revival of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes in 1989, Sweet Charity which formed part of NAPAC’s The Trilogy in 1989, William Finn’s March of the Falsettos at the Adcock-Ingram in September 1989, Persona at the Windybrow in May 1990, Inherit the Wind (PACT 1990), Moira Blumenthal-PACT production of Ghetto in 1991 and David Mamet’s Oleanna in 1993.

He created a "performance version" of The Martian Chronicles, which he staged for PACT in 1988.

Terrence designed and directed a production of Dinner with Friends at the Knysna Playhouse in 2004.

He presented Marius Weyers in his stage debut in Los Angeles.

He was closely involved with Education Alive, a Black education programme, and The Way to Happiness Campaign, a community organisation within local townships.

Awards, etc

Recipient of over 60 awards for distinguished achievement in American theatre.

Amstel Award for Four Play; Vita 1986/87 award for Excellence in Direction for Looking Glass; Breytenbeach (Dalro) award for Best Direction 1986/97; Star Tonight/AA Vita award winner for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy 1986/87 for Doubles.


Double Double theatre programme

Persona programme at Wits Theatre, 19**.

Tucker, 1997.

Interview with Pat Schwartz published in Weekly Mail, 8-14 September 1989.

Return to

Return to ESAT Personalities S

Return to South African Theatre Personalities

Return to The ESAT Entries

Return to Main Page