Ron Fenton (1935-Present) is an actor, playwright and theatre personality.1, best known for his contribution to South African Theatre.
Born 1935, in Hounslow, Middlesex UK. As a child during the 2nd World War, Ron admits he found it an exciting time, fighter planes, air warden drills, and Soldiers in his village. He also said he remembers riding his bike over the Heath, before it became Heathrow Airport. And it was when watching his parents act during the war, that inspired Ron to act himself.
Ron joined the Merchant Navy in 1956. Thus given him the opportunity to travel to far and exotic countries. He also took part in Merchant Navy Training videos. He left the Merchant Navy in 1961.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
He performed at the Maynardville Open-air Shakespeare Theatre, Cape Town (1966 -1975). Performed at the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg (1972 - 1979). Ron was also involved with The Space Theatre (This was a non-racial venue, considered controversial at its time).2
January 1966. Ron played Cornwalls Servant in “King Lear” directed by Alexander Dore at the Maynardville Open-air Shakespeare Theatre.3 4
January 1967, Ron played Sergeant in “Macbeth” directed by Leslie French at the Maynardville Open-air Shakespeare Theatre. 5
January 1969, Ron played Pistol in “Merry Wives of Windsor” directed by Leslie French at the Maynardville Open-air Shakespeare Theatre.6
January 1970, Ron played Senators, Ofﬁces, Messenger and Attendents in “Othello” directed by Leonard Schach7 (http://esat.sun.ac.za/index.php/Leonard_Schach) at the Maynardville Open-air Shakespeare Theatre.8
January 1972, Ron played Messenger to Cleopatra in “Antony & Cleopatra” At the Maynardville Open-air Shakespeare Theatre.9
October-November 1972, Ron played Martin Eppingham in "My Giddy Aunt" by Ray Cooney and John Champman at the Masque Theatre, Muizenburg.10 April 1973, Ron played George Riley in “Enter A free man” by Tom Stoppard. A review of his performance was printed in the Cape Times.11
May 1974, Ron wrote and directed his one act play "The Invilad" at the Fish Hoek Drama Festival 1974.12
September 1974 - January 1975, Ron played First Gravedigger in “Hamlet” At the Maynardville Open-air Shakespeare Theatre.13 (A production to mark the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Maynardville Open-air Shakespeare Theatre)14 15
December 1975, Ron played Burgomaster in “Laughing Dandino”16 Produced by Jill Fletcher17 (http://esat.sun.ac.za/index.php/Jill_Fletcher), an adaption from The Story of the Laughing Dandino by Ursula Moray Williams, for The Bergvliet Dramatic Society.
March 1976 Ron played the leading roll in “As Long As Forever Is”18. A production devised by Henry Goodman19, Glynn Day and Lynn Banner, the ﬁrst production by Imps Drama.20
July 1976, Ron wrote and performed in "The Hostage Voluntary" at the Fish Hoek Drama Festival 1976, directed by Jill Fletcher.21
September - October 1976, Ron Fenton played Edward Robinson the leading roll in "Naked in the Fountain" also written By Ron Fenton. Directed by Glynn Day at the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg.22
September - October 1977, Ron played Phil Hogan in “A Moon for the Misbegotton” By Eugene O’Neill, for The Sons of England Dramatic Society, at the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg 10 23
October - 1977 Ron played Harry Rabinowitz in “Mr McConkey’s Suitcase” By Geraldine Aron, for Glynn Day (http://esat.sun.ac.za/index.php/Glynn_Day) Productions. 24
April 1978, Ron played Bill J Mortimer in “The Chess Mistress” By Tony Robinson, for Glynn Day Productions. 25 26
1979 Ron Acted in "In two minds" by English dramatist David Mercerat the Space Theatre, Cape Town, South Africa.27 http://esat.sun.ac.za/index.php/In_Two_Minds
1979 Ron Acted in the “Slab Boys” by John Byrne at the Space Theatre, Cape Town, South Africa.28 http://esat.sun.ac.za/index.php/The_Slab_Boys
1979 Ron acted in “Three Thoroughly Offensive Plays for Mother Grundies” at the Space Theatre, Cape Town.29
September 1979, Ron played the lead Basher Bates in "Don't Utter A Note" by Anton Delmar at the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg.
1 http://esat.sun.ac.za/index.php/ESAT_Personalities_F. 2 Due to the sensitivity of the establishment at the time as a non-racial venue not much is mentioned about previous productions, and archive is minimal. 3 http://archive-za.com/page/3229593/2013-11-25/http://www.maynardville.co.za/archive-productions/productions_king-lear_66.php 4 http://esat.sun.ac.za/index.php/King_Lear 5 http://archive-za.com/page/3229593/2013-11-25/http://www.maynardville.co.za/archive-productions/productions_macbeth_67.php
10 The Masque Theatre having burnt down in 1997, lost previous records to productions prior this date.
11 Review written by Jill Fletcher for The Cape Times, April 1973 "Ron Fenton as the Free man was excellent. Apart from having to learn a monumental part, (he was hardly ever off the stage) he touched the heart of everyone who has leapt off this dry and dusty earth, missed the stars and crashed back to earth again".
12 The 1974 Fish Hoek Drama Festival was reviewed by Geoffrey Tansley for The Cape Times newspaper, "Written and produced by Ron Fenton. Theatre indigenous offering of "The Invalid" was non-competitive owing to the author's having suffered an accident to his foot. They therefore, presented it as a spoken broadcast play, which the adjudicator said was an ingenious way of not letting the festival down.
14 The production of Hamlet was reviewed by Fiona Chisholm for The Cape Times published 8th January 1975, Ron Fenton has a small mention in third column, attributing to his previous work.
15 The production of Hamlet was reviewed by Owen Williams for The Argus published 8th January 1975.
16 “Laughing Dandino” is an adaption from The Story of the Laughing Dandino by Ursula Moray Williams.
18 Programme of songs, poems and prose by Dylan Thomas
20 Production is reviewed in The Cape Times by Geoffery Tansley (March 1976).
http://esat.sun.ac.za/index.php/Glynn_Day 21 The Hostage Voluntary was reviewed in The Fish Hoek Echo newspaper (Page 7), "Hostage Voluntary" written by Ron Fenton, who also took the leading part...packed with action, suspense and gripping drama, centering round riot torn Ireland. To my mind a tremendous achievement and well deserving of a special award." (And on Page 9) Another waste in my opinion was that of an absolute master of his craft, Ron Fenton. How many of you realise that, besides taking the leading part in that spine - chilling Irish drama "Hostage" he had also written it. The only truly topical play we had, a play that simply shouted with action and suspense! While the clever denouement left us all clutching our seats, Surely Ron Fenton deserved a special award"
22 Play is reviewed in the Cape Times by Geoffery Tansley, "Naked in the Fountain by Ron Fenton, is a well thought out comedy in two scenes in which two husbands are at ﬁrst outraged by the conduct of their wives, who, on impulse in the one case and in order to assert herself in the other, exhibit more of their charms than their spouses think right and proper. Later the men are forced to take a more modern view.
23 Reviewed by Geoffery Tansley for the Cape Times (September-October 1977).
24 Production reviewed by Owen Williams for The Argus newspaper (26th October 1977).
25 Reviewed by Elaine Durbach for The Argus (21st April 1978, page 7.)
26 Reviewed in the Cape Times (5th April 1978) Reviewer unknown
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Ron Fenton (19**-) Actor.
He had roles in King Lear (1966); The Slab Boys, Three Thoroughly Offensive Plays for Mother Grundies and In Two Minds (all three at The Space in the 1970s).
He wrote the play Naked in the Fountain.
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