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Sunday, May 5, 2013


Highly acclaimed and respected former circus performer, puppeteer, technical director and scenic designer Keith Anderson passed away on Thursday morning (May 3, 2013). His contribution to the performing arts industry in South Africa is considerable.

He studied art at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Art, and joined John Wright's Marionettes while still in his teens, going on to create his own marionette theatre company. His links with puppet theatre continued and he also founded the Circus Osler Circus School in Cape Town.

He designed productions from ballets to musicals and operas for all the former national arts councils and major independent theatre companies. Durban audiences will remember his set for the Playhouse Company’s Cinderella in 2011.

Friend and colleague Alvon Collison remembers: “.... a genius, an artist, the end so lonely and sad. So sad. My dear friend Keith gone to paint the clouds and the stars in heaven ... so sad. He was a giant … made magic out of every stage and theatre he designed. A God-given talent. He designed the Minstrel Scandals for Louis Burke ... also Follies Fantastique, Mame, Hello Dolly ... every musical show in South Africa. A genius. Also on Broadway for Joan and Louis (Meet Me In St. Louis). So sad. The heavens will be filled with magic. He really was a creator.”

Ralph Lawson, who directed Cinderella for the Playhouse Company pays this tribute: “Keith will be remembered for the magic he brought into people's lives. Always young at heart, despite illness and physical disabilities, he remained enthralled by the particular brands of theatrical magic that he loved and which he so generously shared - puppetry, circus, set design for ballet, opera and theatre and much more. Always humble, he had a truly giving nature and he changed the lives of many, young and old, through his enormous talent.”