Helen Houghton

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Helen Houghton (19**-) is a South African theatre director and academic.


Born in Cape Town, born and bred. She studied drama at the University of Cape Town Drama Department under Rosalie van der Gucht. Like her friend and colleague, the late Donald Inskip, she developed a great love of French theatre.

When she left university to live with her widowed mother in Port Elizabeth, she discovered and became involved in a vibrant theatre scene there. She later returned to Cape Town, and became involved in theatre there

She has variably been an academic teacher, actress, director and producer of plays, and author of books dealing with the history of South African towns and villages.

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

Her first big production was under the banner of the Theatre Workshop which she started in Port Elizabeth; it was Jean Anouilh's Point of Departure.

She was in the cast of The Madwoman of Chaillot in the Little Theatre in 1951.

She directed a number of productions for the Cape Town Gilbert and Sullivan Society, including Ruddigore (1975), Iolanthe (1976 & 2004), The Pirates of Penzance (1976 & 1983), The Mikado (1977), The Sorcerer (1978 & 1990), Patience (1979), The Yeomen of the Guard (1980), The Gondoliers (1981), Princess Ida (1982), Utopia, Limited (1984), is an honorary life member of the Society and was appointed Honorary Vice President in 2013.

She directed 1066, and All That (1949), The Tempest at Maynardville (probably collaborating with Leslie French in 1973) and Beauty and the Beast, a Compass Productions (The Space, 1978).

One of her most successful students, whom she trained while lecturing at UCT in the education department, was Geoff Hyland, and Leslie French collaborated with her in early Shakespeare productions at Maynardville.

Awards, etc

She won the Cape Times Theatre Award as best director of a play for See How They Run, award year 2005.


Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

Theatre programme for the Rene Aherenson and Cecilia Sonnenberg production of The Tempest, directed by Helen Houghton, staged at the Maynardville Theatre, year unknown. (NELM: [Collection: KORT, Maurice]: 2012. 379. 36. 46.)

Beverley Brommert in Cape Argus, 27 February 2004.[1]

Inskip, 1972. p.137.

Astbury 1979.

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