Roy Hart was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1926. He studied psychology and English at Witwatersrand University where he emerged as a gifted actor, and gained a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. At R.A.D.A. he was a successful student yet he felt, “that the characters I performed so convincingly were merely figments of my imagination . . . something was lacking”. His chance meeting with Alfred Wolfsohn was decisive and he abandonned a promising career in the ‘West End’ theatre to study with Wolfsohn. In search of that ‘something lacking’ he did not perform in public for the next seventeen years.
He emerged in 1969 to a period of intense international artistic and psycho-therapeutic activity: solo performances in Henzes’ “Versuch über Schweine”, Maxwell-Davies’ “Eight Songs for a Mad King” and Stockhausen’s “Spiral”; and Euripides’ “Bacchae” performed with his own company. He was guest speaker at psycho-therapeutic and theatre congresses throughout the world: Jerzy Grotowski, Peter Brook and Auther Koestler all came to speak with him in his studio in London.
In 1972, he began to perform as an actor with his own company which by that time had grown to more than forty members. The Roy Hart Theatre company took up residence at Malérargues in the south of France in 1974.
Roy Hart died in a car accident while on tour in May 1975. His wife, Dorothy, and friend Vivienne Young died with him.
They are buried at Malérargues.
If you are interested in researching the legacy of Roy Hart more in depth, please have a look at the Roy Hart Theatre Archives Website, hosted and maintained by Paul Silber. There you can also purchase books, CDs and DVDs. http://www.roy-hart.com
Photo © Ivan Midderigh