Mannie Manim

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Mannie Manim (born 1941). Lighting designer and theatre administrator.


Born Manuel Manim in Cape Town, he began in theatre as an usher in the Brian Brooke Theatre at 15, went into stage management with Leonard Schach at the Hofmeyr in Cape Town, then managed the Playhouse for Leonard Rayne and returned to the Brooke Theatre as stage director.

He was a co-founder and board member of the South African Institute of Theatre Technology (SAITT) in 1969 and the South African Association of Theatre Managements (SAATM) (he was also Executive Committee member). He was on the Committee for the National Arts Festival (Chairman in 2003); founder member of the Executive committee of Committed Artists and a Governor of the Fuba Academy of Arts.

Theatre Management


After working for a few other companies in Johannesburg, including Theatre International (he was production and company manager for Stephen Sondheim’s musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at the Johannesburg Civic in 1964), he joined PACT at the age of 26, as the technical organizer for drama at of the state funded Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (PACT), went on to become production manager and ultimately manager of drama, with Francois Swart as Artistic Director. Did a brilliant job in a period still considered the golden era of Afrikaans theatre and one of the best periods in the history of the Performing Arts Councils.

The Company/Market Theatre

A dynamic yet meticulous planner, with a visionary view of South African theatre, he in 1973 joined with Barney Simon to found The Company and in 1976 they opened the Market Theatre. He was also one of the Trustees of the Market Theatre Foundation. Manim effectively ran the Market Theatre from then till he left in 1991. With John Hussey he co-directed The Company’s production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular (the Market Theatre, November 1977). He produced several productions for The Company, including Sly Fox at the Market Theatre (1979).

University of the Witwatersrand

In 1991 he founded his own company (Mannie Manim Productions) (1991-) and took up the post of Director (Performing Arts Administration) at the University of the Witwatersrand, effectively running the Wits Theatre Complex (1991-2000).

Baxter Theatre

In 2000 he became CEO and Director of the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town and also the Chairman of the Standard Bank National Arts Festival Board. He retired from this position in 2009, to be replaced by Lara Foot-Newton.

Fugard Theatre

Then appointed Executive Director of the new Fugard Theatre in Harrington Street (2010-2012).

Lighting design

Marie Manim has worked extensively as a lighting designer, particularly of the first South African productions of Athol Fugard's plays, including

Manim remained a prolific and higly regarded lighting designer in South Africa and elsewhere, working all over South Africa and in places like Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, London and Stockholm over the years. Lighting design for other productions include:


Manim has won numerous national and international awards over the years for his lighting designs and his management skills. The South African awards include:

International awards include:

  • In 1990, the French Government conferred the Chevalier des Artes et Lettres on him.
  • In 2002, he received Best Lighting Design for The Island in Toronto


Programme, Die Laaste Karretjiegraf (2013)

Playland programme notes, 1992.

(NELM:[Collection: MANIM, Mannie]: 2010. 38. 13. 4. 1. 2.).

Tucker, 1997.

National Arts Festival Souvenir Programme, 2003

Go to South African Theatre/Bibliography

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