Joan Brickhill

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Joan Brickhill (b. 06/03/1924 - d. Johannesburg, 15/01/2014). Actress, singer, dancer, director and producer.


Originally from Durban and for much of her life based there. She was married to Louis Burke. When they divorced after 25 years and Burke went to New York, she remained in Durban to continue mounting productions. She died in Johannesburg on Wednesday 15th, January 2014.



Brickhill was a child prodigy, making her stage debut at two. She later worked as a drama teacher. For a while was an Executive Entertainment Producer at Sun City.

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

In the 1960s and 1970s the leading lady of the grand musicals in South Africa, mostly staged by the Brickhill-Burke Company, for which she directed and managed by herself and her husband Louis Burke and starring herself and her husband. Involved in more than 50 productions over the years, as producer, director and actress. These include Oklahoma! (1963/4), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1964), The Miser (PACT, 1964), Dark of the Moon (1965), Rashomon (PACT, 1965), The Beggar's Opera (1965-66), The Minstrel Scandals (1966), The Owl and the Pussycat (1967), South Pacific (1969), All-New, non-Stop Minstrel Scandals (1970), Follies Spectacular (1972),Minstrel Follies (1974), Meropa (1974), The Tempest (1975), Gypsy (1975), The Sound of Music (1976), Follies Fantastique, (1976), Winnie the Pooh (1977), Annie (1978), I Love my Wife (1978), They're Playing Our Song (1980), Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1980), Hello Dolly! (1980), Bedazzled, (1981), I Love my Wife (1982), Mame (1982), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1984), Brighton Beach Memoirs (1986), Double Act (1988).

She and Louis Burke led the fight to save the His Majesty's Theatre in Johanesburg, which they used as the base for their big musicals.

She also starred in some movies, including Nor the Moon by Night (1958) and Follow That Rainbow (1979).

In June 2003 she staged a one-woman show

Awards, etc

She was nominated for a Tony Award for her choreography of the Broadway production of Meet Me in St Louis, 1989.

She was awarded a honorary doctorate from Tshwane University of Technology in 2005 for her contribution to South African theatre.


Wikipedia [1]. Headlines - Week 03 - 16/01/2014 08:45

De Beer, 1995;

Toffoli and Silber, 1989;

Tucker, 1997.

SACD 1973.

Report written by Adrienne Sichel published in The Star, 15 May 2007.

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