Estelle Kohler

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Estelle Kohler (1940-) Actress.


Estelle was born in Cape Town and grew up in the Transvaal.



She studied under Robert Mohr at the University of Cape Town and at RADA.


After graduating she joined the Cockpit Players. She joined the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford in 1966. Among her roles for them include Ophelia in Hamlet and Olivia in Twelfth Night.

John Fernald invited her to London & she went to RADA for 2 years. Landed a role for The Royal Shakespeare Company in 1967. Famous leading lady for RSC.

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

Her first stage appearance was at the Hofmeyr Theatre, Cape Town in The Tenth Man for the Cockpit Players (1961). She played Marthy Owen in Anna Christie (1962-3). She also did The Cherry Orchard (PACT, 1963). She starred in Ricky Arden's production of Policy for Murder for the Reps in 1963. This was her last role in South Africa before she left for London.

Also performed in a number of British productions of South African plays over the years, including Athol Fugard’s Hello and Goodbye together with Antony Sher in London. In 1997 she played the role of Madame Ranevskaya, or in Janet Suzman's South African adaptation of The Cherry Orchard, The Free State, Lucy Rademeyer, with the Birmingham Repettory Theatre.

She returned to South Africa in 1984 to star in Shakespeare Lady: the life and times of Fanny Kemble [1] directed by Bill Homewood.

Did a film version of Paradise is Closing Down (Pieter-Dirk Uys) for Granada TV.

Awards, etc


Anna Christie programme notes, 1962-3.

Tucker, 1997.

Vuka SA, Oct-Nov 1997.

Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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