Ron Fenton (1935-) is an actor, playwright and theatre personality, best known for his contribution to South African theatre.
Born Ronald Fenton in Hounslow, Middlesex UK, in 1935. 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, settling in Cape Town.
The family went back to England in 1980, where he got a job in planning, and generally lived a normal life. Initially he did not participate in theatrical activities for two years, but then he started writing again and participating in local drama groups, though never again to the extend he had done in South Africa.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
He began his acting career in South Africa in 1966, and worked extensively with the Maynardville Open-air Shakespeare Theatre, Cape Town (1966 -1975), the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg (1972 - 1979, Bergvliet Dramatic Society (1975), and the Space Theatre, Cape Town (1972 - 1979).
His roles for the Maynardville open-air theatre included "Cornwall's servant" (King Lear 1966); "Sergeant" (Macbeth, 1967), "Pistol" Merry Wives of Windsor, 1969), "Senators, Ofﬁces, Messenger and Attendents" (Othello, 1970), "Messenger" (Antony and Cleopatra, 1972), "First Gravedigger" (Hamlet,”
For the Masque Theatre he appeared as "Martin Eppingham" in My Giddy Aunt (Cooney and Chapman, 1972), "George Riley" in Enter a Free Man (Stoppard, 1973), "Edward Robinson" in Naked in the Fountain (Ron Fenton, 1976), "Phil Hogan" in A Moon for the Misbegotten (Eugene O’Neill, for The Sons of England Dramatic Society, 1977), "Basher Bates" in Don't Utter A Note (Anton Delmar, 1979).
For the Space Theatre he had roles in The Slab Boys (John Byrne, 1979), Three Thoroughly Offensive Plays for Mother Grundies (1979), In Two Minds (David Mercerat, 1979)
Awards, accolades, etc
His acting in Stoppard's Enter a Free Man received high accolades from critic Jill Fletcher (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".
E-mail correspondence from Frazer Fenton (12-14 April, 2016)
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