Fred Engelen

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Fred Engelen (1912-1967). Actor, director, academic.


Born in Antwerp, married to Tine Balder, and they had three children Jan, Bie and Katijn.

Engelen died in December 1967 from appendicitis complications during a visit to Stuttgart while on sabbatical in the USA and Europe.


He studied at the Koninklijke Konservatorium in Antwerp where he received the Diploma in Theatre Art cum laude in 1937.


He was involved with the municipal theatre in Antwerp, and in 1955 in charge of the studio for young actors at the Royal Flemish Theatre in Antwerp.

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

In 1955 he visits the School of Speech and Drama at UCT to produce Georges Bernano’s Dialogues of the Carmelites with the students (in Donald Inskip's translation titled The Chosen of God). He also does The Trial by Franz Kafka (1960), Max Frisch's Andorra (195*) and a professional production of Die Koopman van Venesië (1955).

In 1961 Engelen was invited back to South Africa to become the first professor and head of the Drama Department at the University of Stellenbosch. He held this position until his unexpected death from complications after an appendicitis operation, while on study leave in Germany (1967).

He produced and acted in many plays for the Department, including Caesar (1965), Macbeth (1967).

He directed Besoek van die Ou Dame (NTO, 1962; directed and played Philip II in Don Carlos, 1966, for PACOFS.

Awards, etc

[FdV, TH]


Death notice in Die Burger, 5 December 1967.

Inskip, 1972.

Tucker, 1997.

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