Michael Picardie

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Michael Picardie (1936-) is a South African born academic, actor and playwright.



He was born in Johannesburg in 1936, where he grew up and was trained in theatre by Muriel Alexander from the age of 11 to 16, and winning Eisteddfod medals for acting. He later studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, obtaining a B.A. in Politics, English, and African Studies (1957) and a B.A.Hons in Politics (1958). Besides his theatrical work he has worked as an academic and social worker in London , Oxford , Cardiff , Johannesburg and Botswana; and in 1974 he completed an M.A.dissertation at Leicester University.

Living in Wales as a working actor and playwright, he completed a masters degree in Theatre, Film and T.V. Studies (with a thesis entitled The Drama and Theatre of Two South African Plays Under Apartheid) at Abystwyth University (2009) and a Ph.D. at the same university (2014).

Contribution to theatre, film, media and performance in South Africa

As an actor

After his initial training with Muriel Alexander, he gained stage experience at the University of the Witwatersrand where he did a B.A. in Politics, English, and African Studies (1957) and a B.A.Hons in Politics (1958). While there he acted for the Wits University Players in Julius Caesar (Shakespeare), The Duchess of Malfi (Webster) ") and The Male Animal (James Thurber),

He also at the time appeared in Under Milk Wood (Dylan Thomas) and Much Ado about Nothing (Shakespeare) (both for the Johannesburg Reps), Oedipus at Colonus for the Oxford University Dramatic Society (1958), The Tempest (in Johanneburg, directed by Cecil Williams in 1953 and in Cape Town , directed by André van Gyseghem in 1959), The Rape of the Belt (Cape Town, directed by Van Gyseghem, 1959) and Tobias and the Angel (directed by Robert Atkins in London, 1960).

He also performed in a number of his own plays, including Shades of Brown,

As a playwright

His plays and scripts include:

Stage texts:

Whiteman (1961), Shades of Brown (1978), Springbok (1979), Jo’burg Messiah(1980), The Cape Orchard (1987), Ancestors and Diamonds (1988), Shaloma (2003), The Zulu and the Zeide (2004), Mandela's Child (2014?) and African Hamlet (2015?).

Radio, TV and Film scripts:

Debbie Go Home (BBC Television, 1962), Whiteman (Associated-Rediffusion TV, 1962), Jannie Veldsman And His Struggle With The Boer (BBC Radio 4, 1982), Jannie Veldsman – A Film Scenario – unpublished script (2012)

As a director

2008: Waiting for Godot for Everyman Theatre, Cardiff at Chapter Theatre (13-17 May).

As an academic

His academic publications include:

(1960) “The Anatomy of Afrikaner Nationalism” Twentieth Century London, Summer, June 1960

(1974) In the Gap: the social psychology of a mental disorder and its treatment through psychiatric social work. Leicester University: unpublished M.A.dissertation

(1974) “A Metaphysical Order in Psychiatric Work” The Human Context. London: Chaucer Publishing Co: 6,1, pp 156-65

(1974) “Family Processes and Schizophrenia” Book review:The Human Context London: Chaucer Publishing Co. 6,2, pp.455-8

(1976) “Understanding schizophrenia” Social Work Today 7,6,pp169-171

(1982) “Young Zimbabwe – political consciousness amongst Bulawayo secondary school pupils” Cardiff University, Department of Sociology, Social Work and Social Policy. Unpublished paper.

(1989/1990) “Interviews with Gcina Mhlophe” Johannesburg: Unpublished manuscript.

(1995-1997) “Lecture notes on developmental and social psychology and social psychiatry for social work and social policy students” The School of Social Work, University of Botswana, Gaberone. Unpublished manuscripts.

2009. The Drama and Theatre of Two South African Plays Under Apartheid Dept of Theatre, Film and T.V. Studies: Aberystwyth University Electronic Depository: Unpublished M.Phil. dissertation

2014. Towards a philosophy of theatre inspired by Aristotle’s poetics and post-structuralist aesthetics in relation to three South African plays. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, University of South Wales.

Other creative writing

He has also written poetry and prose, including I Had a Black Man, a story published in Africa South and Trance Dance for the Cape KhoiSan, poetry which appeared in New Coin.


Private correspondence from Michael Picardy to Temple Hauptfleisch, Monday 2015/07/06 10:46 PM.

The Michael Picardy website at http://michaelpicardie.co.uk/main.php.

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