Clifford Williams

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Clifford Williams (1926-2005) was a world renowned director and actor.


Born in Birmingham of Welsh descent and educated at Highbury county grammar school. After training as an economist he spent his early years in mining, the army, the theatre and ballet. In 1950 he founded and directed the Mime Theatre Company for three years. After a period in South Africa, he returned to England where he directed productions at Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, before becoming a staff producer at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 1961. Besides his work with the classics, he is remembered for many theatrical firsts, including the premiere of Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth in 1970, as well as Kenneth Tynan's nude review Oh! Calcutta! in London in 1970. He was later made an associate director of the RSC company (1963-91), "the only one who came up through the theatre".

He became an associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and also directed Kenneth Tynan’s revue Oh, Calcutta! in London and Paris.

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

He starred in Terence Rattigan’s The Winslow Boy which the National Theatre took the Johannesburg Reps for to stage this production in 1955. Also starring Brian Proudfoot.

He directed Marching Song in 1955.

He directed and acted for the National Theatre Organisation (NTO) in South Africa (1953-56). Among the plays he directed for National Theatre Organisation, were The Dove Returns (Guy Butler, 1955) and Ugo Betti’s The Queen and the Rebels (1957). Pinocchio 1956.


Tucker, 1997.

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