Clare Stopford

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Clare Stopford (19**-) Actress and director.

Biography

Youth

Training

Clare studied at the University of Cape Town Drama Department.

Career

Clare began her theatre career at the Space Theatre. Following a move to Johannesburg, she worked for PTP, NAPAC, PACT (since 1985, notably at the Windybrow Theatre), Market Theatre, CAPAB, and SABC.

A restless actress who was never happy waiting for the phone to ring, Clare initiated many projects with colleagues, e.g. with Lynne Maree, Neil McCarthy and Bo Petersen.

Barney Simon convinced Clare to leave acting and become the Resident Director at the Market Theatre for two years (1988-1989).

She became Associate Artistic Director at the Market from 1995-1997.

Towards the late 2000s she had found a niche conceptualising and directing in corporate theatre.

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

Performed in Along Came a Spider (with CAPAB), Death of a Salesman (Rep Season), The Relapse (Rep Season), The Duchess of Malfi (in 1979), The Final Sting of the Dying Wasp (in 1979), Happy Birthday (for Toerien/Firth in 1980), Macbeth (CAPAB 1981).

Space: acting in The Arnold Bliss Show, The Duchess of Malfi, The Final Sting of the Dying Wasp, A Flea in her Ear, Four Twins, Patty Hearst and Rape – A Revue.

She acted in Translations, The Trojan Women, Wild Honey at the Alexander Theatre, Endpapers. She was also cast in a production at the old Rosebank Arena Theatre by Chris Pretorius, entitled Amandla Mr Fassbinder.

Together with Nomhle Nkonyeni, Aletta Bezuidenhout, Nandi Nyembe and Jacqui Singer she workshopped and starred in Ulovane Jive which was the opening production of the Windybrow Theatre circa 1986. She starred in Bobby Heaney’s production of Jean Genet’s The Maids at the Windybrow Theatre in 1987. She starred in Fred Abrahamse’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Market Theatre in 1989.

She directed Walking Wounded, Danny and the Desert Girl, Keep Moving Majack, Lanford Wilson’s Burn This at Upstairs at the Market in 1989, directed Stormriders and conceived and directed The Last Trek.

Other productions include Lillian, A Doll's House (1990), Hanna, Hanna Ek Sê and The Heidi Chronicles. In 1990 Clare directed Other People's Money for Pieter Toerien. The following years saw Clare directing award-winning productions like Scenes from an Execution (1994), Hysteria, Kafka Dances, Skylight, Cuba and his Teddy Bear and The Dead Wait (1997).

Major productions as director are Twelfth Night (Maynardville, 1998), Romeo and Juliet (Maynardville, 2000) .

In 2002 Clare directed a new South African play Chasing Chairs, in 2004 Green Man Flashing, The Breath of Life and in 2006 Black Dog-Inj'emnyama!.

Split Ends with Lynne Maree, National Madness and Scavenger's Dream with Neil McCarthy, Upfront with Lynne Maree and Bo Petersen, Endangered Species, Out of the Blue, and her own play The Patchers.

Clare directed The Breath of Life by David Hare in 2004, Black Dog-Inj'emnyama! in 2015.

She has directed for television, most notably Soul City and the series Zero Tolerance.

Awards, etc

Scenes from an Execution at the Market Theatre in 1994 for which she received the Vita Award as Director of the Year jointly with Marthinus Basson.

Clare has twice won both Regional and National Vita Awards as Best Director.

She has been awarded the Ernest Oppenheimer grant for resident director at the Market Theatre in 1988.

Sources

SACD 1979/80; 1980/81.

National Arts Festival porgramme, 1991. 44.

Tucker, 1997.

Programme of Pieter Toerien's production of The Breath of Life, 2004.

Martin 2008.


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