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Shelagh Holliday

Shelagh Holliday was born and educated in South Africa then trained at RADA, London, UK, for three years before returning to work in her home country. Shelagh is a hugely versatile actress who has worked in everything from musicals and revues to comedy, farce and drama. 

A glittering stage career has brought her three Best Actress Awards and twenty-two nominations. Among these nominations for Best Actress was a performance in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night in which she played the mother. Further nomination success followed in a successful London staging of South African playwright Athol Fugard's A Lesson From The Aloes at the National Theatre, where she played Gladys - a role she had originated earlier in South Africa at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town. The London cast contained such luminaries as Joan Plowright, Glenda Jackson and Frances de la Tour. For this performance she was nominated Best Actress by the Society of West End Theatre Awards as well as by The Laurence Olivier Awards for 1980. Later she won the South African REPS Best Actress award for the same part. Further Best Actress awards were won for her work in The Secretary Bird (awarded by the Gallery Club) and Separate Tables (awarded by the Critics' Circle). Other memorable performances were as Madame Acati with Erica Rogers and Michael McCabe in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit and as Gertrude in a television production of Hamlet

Shelagh Holliday in the South African production of "A Lesson from the Aloes" (1979, with Marius Weyers)

A Lesson from the Aloes
Shelagh Holliday and Marius Weyers in the Baxter Theatre production, 1979

Shelagh Holliday's film work includes the Boer War film Torn Allegiance (1984), Oh Brother and Golden Rendezvous (1977) and The Winner (1973) with Tony Jay and Clive Scott.

Shelagh is today considered one of South Africa's great ladies of theatre and radio.

by Beverly Charpentier with Alan Hayes