John Hussey

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John Hussey (19**-1995). Actor and director, stage and screen.


John, who was born in London, came to South Africa in 1952. He died in September 1995 in Johannesburg.


He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London.


Already a well-established theatrical personality, he came to South Africa in 1952 and for the next five years was heavily involved in acting and directing. Returning to England in 1958 he worked extensively in all the entertainment media including a large selection of prestige plays for TV and film and 6 years with the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1971 John returned to South Africa to play in productions of In the Case of J. Robert Oppenheimer and Much Ado about Nothing.

Actor and director for the National Theatre Organisation, later became a member of the PACT English company for many years.

Associate Director and Drama Consultant for PACT (1973), PACT director of English Drama.

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

As actor

Starred in Love in Idleness with Margaret Inglis who also produced the production at the Library Theatre in 1955, The Flashing Stream (NTO 1956).

He starred in John Pank’s Windmills of the Mind with Michael McCabe, Kerry Jordan and Bobby Heaney with direction by François Swart for PACT in 1979.

Performed in The Merchant of Venice (as “Shylock” with NAPAC), The Gin Game (as “Weller Martin”), Twigs (CAPAB 1974), Present Laughter (as “Gary Essendine” with PACT, 1979; he also directed the play), A Midsummer Night's Dream (as “Bottom” with NAPAC in 1980), The School for Scandal (as “Sir Peter Teazle” with PACT in 1980) Royal Hunt of the Sun (with PACT), Jumpers (with the Durban Theatre Foundation).

He starred in PACT’s production Shrivings in 1982 and The Rivals at the State Theatre in March 1983.

He appeared in King Lear as Lear for the Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival, 1985.

He played "Honore" in Lerner and Loewe's Gigi at the Pretoria State Theatre in 1992. He starred in Hugh Whitemore’s The Best of Friends in 1993.

Quoted from the programme of Two Into One 1986: ' A highly respected and versatile actor, his leading roles include Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Philip in Relatively Speaking, Sir Anthony Absolute in The Rivals, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, the title role in Julius Caesar, Beckett in Murder in the Cathedral, the title role in King Lear and the father in Billy Liar.

As director

Productions include Relatively Speaking (with The Company 1978), Rebecca (with NAPAC Alhambra Theatre October 1978), Present Laughter (with PACT), Rookery Nook (with PACT), Child's Play PACT Drama in association with Pieter Toerien, Basil Rubin and Shirley Firth, 1971.

He directed Peter Shaffer’s double bill Black Comedy and The White Liars with Ruth Oppenheim and Eckard Rabe for PACT/TRUK at the Alexander Theatre in 1972 and You Can't Take It With You in 1972. His production of A Man and His Wife starring Stuart Brown was also staged at the Brooke in 1972 and at the Alhambra Theatre, Durban, from 10 April 1972. He directed and starred in Noël Coward’s Hay Fever together with Shelagh Holliday, and Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida with Eckard Rabe, Annelisa Weiland, James White and Siegfried Mynhardt for PACT in 1974.

He directed Enemy! (PACT 1974). He also directed the PACT production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, choreographed by Geoffrey Sutherland and starring Richard Loring, Bruce Millar and Alvon Collison at the Alexander in 1974. He directed Thornton Wilder’s Our Town starring Diane Wilson, Danny Keogh and Michael McCabe for PACT at the Alexander in 1976. Together with Mannie Manim he co-directed The Company’s production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular, designed by Anthony Farmer and starring Diane Appleby, Graham Armitage, Naomi Buch, Wilson Dunster, Kerry Jordan and Gay Lambert at the Market Theatre in November 1977.

Directed Count Dracula (NAPAC, Alhambra Theatre Durban, 1977). He directed Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking starring himself, Helen Jessop, Andre Hattingh and John Rogers at The Market Theatre in 1978.

He directed Child Spell (John Boulter) at the Alhambra Theatre, Johannesburg, from 2 May 1981, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest starring Ralph Lawson, Andrew Buckland, Dorothy-Ann Gould, Gabrielle Lomberg and Shelagh Holliday for PACT in 1982. [also in Durban, McMurtry]

Directed The Taming of the Shrew, Maynardville, 1983. The Rivals, 1983, PACT. Michael Atkinson, John Hussey, James Borthwick, Wilson Dunster, Susan Gehr. As You Like It, (dir) Maynardville, 1984, Dorothy-Ann Gould, John Whitely.

Antony and Cleopatra : presented by NAPAC Drama at the Natal Playhouse, directed by John Hussey, from 13 June 1987.

Breaker Morant : presented by NAPAC Drama at the Natal Playhouse, directed by John Hussey, from 11 August 1987.

TV roles include Gerald Dingley in The Dingleys, Duncan in Macbeth, the headmaster in Brent House and the inspector in 'Kiss the Girls Goodbye.

Film credits include the 1974 Roger Moore film, Gold.

Awards, etc

Won Durban Critics Circle Award Best Actor 1979.

The Taming of the Shrew (Maynardville, 1984 - Fleur du Cap Best Director),


SACD 1979/80; 1980/81; 1981/82.

Two Into One programme notes, 1986.

Tucker, 1997.

Numerous entries in the NELM catalogue.

Obituary by Penny Charteris in the Sunday Times, 10 September 1995.

For more information

IMDb [1]

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