Basil Warner

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Basil Warner (19*-2004) was a businessman, amateur actor, writer, set designer.


Born Basil John Warner in South Africa.

He worked as an advertising executive in South Africa and married actress and director Minna Millsten in the 1940s. In 1960, Basil and Minna moved to the UK, where he worked for Lever Brothers. Warner died in Welshpool, Wales, in 2004.

His contribution to theatre, film, media, and performance

Well known in theatre, radio and journalistic circles, he was involved in many drama productions as amateur actor and occasional set designer, in Cape Town and Johannesburg and in productions for the SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation).

As a designer, he did the sets of Millsten’s production of Gordon Daviot’s Richard of Bordeaux (Children's Theatre, 1951).

As a writer he produced only two known texts, neither of them published at the time. A one-act play called Divine Sarah and Try for White, a controversial full-length play about love across the colour bar. The latter play was produced in 1959 by Leonard Schach’s Cockpit Players, and became a sensation, touring the country.

Try for White was broadcast in the BBC's Theatre 625 series in 1965.

In 1969 Try for White was used as the basis for the script of Katrina, one of the most controversial and significant political films produced by Emil Noval and Jans Rautenbach.


Tucker, 1997.

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