Fiona Ramsay

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Fiona Ramsay (19**-) is an voice coach, actress, director and lecturer.


Fiona was born in Johannesburg, S

She graduated from the University of Cape Town Drama Department in 1979 with a BA and Performer's Diploma in Drama, then completed an MA in Dramatic Art from Wits University in 2014 and is currently working on a PhD. on the implications for teaching acting technique and skills if practices and content fall outside a cultural range the students are asked to inhabit.

Fiona acted in South Africa on graduating, working at The Space in the 1970s, then at The Market Theatre since 1980’s. She subsequently moved to the UK for 5 years, where she built up an impressive body of work. Among the highlights were playing "Lady Croom" and "Hannah" for the Royal National Theatre's Arcadia by Tom Stoppard and "Lady Macbeth" in Macbeth.

On her return Fiona founded the Speakeasy Vocal Academy, which trains in all areas of vocal development and production, notably as dialect and dialogue coach for international films and television.

Since appointed a Senior Lecturer at Wits School of Arts and appointed Head of Department for Theatre and Performance in 2021.

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

Stage work

For The Space she appeared in Candaules Commissioner and Dolls (directed by Richard Grant and Michael O'Brien).

She was a founder member of the Troupe Theatre Company in 1980 and performed in all their productions including playing "Mrs. Samsa" in Metamorphosis, "Eva Braun" in Summit Conference, "Clytemnestra" in Agamemnon, "Jenny Diver" in The Threepenny Opera, "Sybil/Helen" in Decadence. Other plays included Fanshen, Guinea Fowl and Claw.

At the Market Theatre she starred in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Kafka’s Metamorphosis at the Market Theatre, played "Jessica" in The Merchant of Venice, appeared in Barney Simon's production of Still Life, A Midsummer Night's Dream As You Like It and Scorched Earth and She helped write his Born in the RSA. She also appeared in Simon's play Joburg Sis! when it was performed at the Kings Head Theatre in London.

Work for various other companies has included "Emelia" in Othello for CAPAB, "Jan in Bedroom Farce for the Baxter Company '82, "Martha Livingstone" in Agnes of God at the Baxter Theatre and the Alhambra Theatre (1983), . She was later replaced by Sandra Duncan co-starred with Richard Haines in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing (directed by Nikolas Simmonds at the André Huguenet Theatre in 1983), In Praise of Rattigan (with Rex Garner, Jonathan Rands and Neville Thomas, directed by Rex Garner, 1984), the Baxter Theatre production of Steven Berkoff’s Decadence in 1984, Benefactors(1985) and Rough Crossing (1987), As You Like It (1989, Scorched Earth ( and Hapgood at the Alexander Theatre, The Heidi Chronicles (1990), Six Degrees of Separation in 1992. She starred in Steven Berkoff’s Decadence in 1993. Six Degrees of Separation (1991), The Book Club, Ladies and Gentlemen, Shakespeare!, Life X3 and Sleeping Beauty, Indiscretions (1996), [[Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf] (2001)], My Brilliant Divorce (2002-2003), also at Montecasino Theatrein the Studio Theatre in 2004,Honour (2004), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Baxter Theatre, 2007), Planet Perth, , Delirium [2012], Miss Dietrich Regrets [2015], Doubt [2015], The Imagined Land [2015], Les Cenci [2016] Blonde Poison [2016 – 2018], If We Dig [2016], Sweet Bird of Youth [2017/8], The Glass Menagerie [2019].

Film work

She worked as dialogue coach on the films Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom [Idris Elba, Naomi Harris], Winnie [Jennifer Hudson, Terrence Howard], The Dark Tower [Idris Elba], Roots [remake of tele series dir: Phillip Noyce], City of Violence [Orlando Bloom, Forrest Whittaker] Stander, Critical Assignment, Beat the Drum and Hotel Rwanda with Nick Nolte's Don Cheedle.

As an actress Fiona has appeared in several international films - most recently in Maze Runner III: Death Cure, Homeland, The Watch and Country of my Skull.

Television and radio

Fiona has also appeared often on television in Arende, Stolen Lives, Justice for All (series 3).

In the early 2000s Fiona hosted a radio show on SAFm each week, a program devoted to Arts and Culture issues and the world of entertainment, called Art of the Matter. Fiona could also be seen on M-Net's Project Fame as the performance coach.

As director

She directed Total Eclipse for the Grahamstown Festival (1979), Christopher Durang’s Laughing Wild at the Market Theatre in October 1990, Nunsense (2004) and Guga Mzimba: The life and work of Gerard Sekoto at the Market Theatre.

Awards, etc

Besides many nominations, Fiona has won numerous awards for her performances, including:

2020 Best Leading Actress Fleur du Cap for "Amanda" in The Glass Menagerie

2017 Best Supporting Actress TMTA for "Beatrice" on Les Cenci

2016 Best Actress Naledi Award for "Sister Aloysius" in Doubt

2016 Best Actress Naledi Award for "Marlene" in Miss Dietrich Regrets

2007 Best Actress in a Musical Naledi Award for "Mrs Meers" in Thoroughly Modern Millie

2005 Best Actress Duka Duka for "Dorothy Wilcox" in Hard Copy

2003 Best Actress Award Naledi Awards for "Angela" in My Brilliant Divorce

2001 Best Supporting Actress Award Vita Award for "Ines" in Life X 3.

1993. Best Performance by Actress After Dark for "Marianne" in Telegrams From Hell

1993-4 Vita Award, Dalro Award and Fleur du Cap Award as Best actress for "Helen/Sybil" in Decadence

1984 Best Newcomer Vita Award

1981 Best Actress Award Fleur du Cap for Eva Braun In Summit Conference


Tucker, 1997.

Beeld Plus, 1 March 2001.

Beeld Plus, 2 June 2001.

Honour programme notes, 2004.

Oggendblad, 6 May 2004.

Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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