Kate Normington

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Kate Normington
Normington as "The Witch" in Pieter Toerien's Production of Into the Woods at the Pieter Toerien Theatre in 2019
Johannesburg, South Africa
Alma materUniversity of Witwatersrand
Occupation(s)Actress, singer, songwriter
Years active1987–present

Kate Normington is a South African actress, singer, and songwriter. Normington first rose to national prominence playing Sister Mary Amnesia in the Alhambra Theatre's production of Nunsense in 1987, and has appeared on the West End and South African stage, and in local and international film and television productions.

Early life[edit]

Normington grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and attended Pretoria Girls' High School and Marist Brothers Observatory (Sacred Heart College). She studied Speech and Drama at the University of the Witwatersrand, graduating in 1987.[1]



Career beginnings[edit]

After performing as a cabaret singer at Piaf in Johannesburg (alongside Didi Kriel),[2] Normington's first professional role was in Tarts, by Kevin Feather, at La Parisienne Theatre in Johannesburg. This was followed by her breakthrough role playing Sister Mary Amnesia in Tobie Cronje's production of Nunsense at the Alhambra Theatre in 1987, which garnered Normington her first Fleur du Cap Award for Best Actress in a Musical.[3] She followed this successful turn with the Trilogy of '87 at the Durban Playhouse, where she performed a triple role as Joanna in Sweeney Todd, Niki in Sweet Charity, and also appeared in Candide, in a cycle in which all three productions were staged on the same day, one after the other.

In 1989, Normington was cast as Guinevere in the State Theatre's production of Camelot, understudied by Gaynor Young.[4] The production became infamous when, replacing Normington in December, Young fell down an unguarded lift shaft while on stage, landing on concrete 5 storeys below and going into a coma for 5 weeks.[5]

Throughout the late '80s and early '90s, Normington was in several successful and high-profile shows across South Africa, including playing Josephine in Romance Romance, Eliza in My Fair Lady in 1990,[6] and Janet in The Rocky Horror Show in 1993; appearing in A Touch of Webber... A Taste of Rice, an original show by Richard Loring, in 1991; and playing Sheila in Janice Honeyman's production of Hair, one of the first in South Africa following its unbanning, at the Civic Theatre in 1994.

The West End and the UK[edit]

In 1993, Normington left for England to pursue her career on international stages. Her first job in London was in the West End production of Sunset Boulevard in its initial run in 1993, which featured Patti LuPone as Norma Desmond, in which Normington understudied the role of Betty Schaefer. After encountering some passport trouble, she was forced to return home to South Africa, appearing in Tell Me On A Sunday in 1994, before she was able to return to England. Upon her return, Normington returned to the cast of Sunset Boulevard at the Adelphi Theatre, understudying Betty Buckley, Elaine Paige, and Petula Clark for the role of Norma Desmond, appearing in the role on one occasion.[7]

After leaving Sunset Boulevard, Normington appeared in a regional production of Aspects of Love in Hampshire in 1996, playing Rose Vibert, and then played the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods in Leicester in 1997.[8]

In 1998, Normington returned to the West End as Grace Farrell in the revival of Annie at the Victoria Palace, continuing to play the role after the show went on tour in February 1999. She toured with the show for over a year until it ended in Oxford in 2000, after which she returned to South Africa.

Return to South Africa[edit]

She appeared as Miss Bell in Fame in 2002, and as "Soapstar" in Hazel Feldman and Pieter Toerien's production of Menopause - The Musical in 2004.[9] This was followed by a trio of award-winning performances, as Normington received a Naledi Award for her 2006 one-woman show Bombshells, her 2007 performance as Velma von Tussle in the Lyric Theatre production of Hairspray - also starring Mara Louw and Harry Sideropolous - and for her 2010 appearance as Tanya in Mamma Mia!. She also starred as Miss Darbus in the highly publicized production of High School Musical on Stage in 2008, which produced a star in Carmen Pretorius after a televised talent search program: High School Musical: Spotlight South Africa.[10]

The 2010s saw a series of smaller shows to go along with her customary large production musicals, as Normington performed in Nora Ephron's Love, Loss, and What I Wore in 2011, and appeared in Two in the Bush, a comedy sketch show she wrote and co-devised with Jaci de Villiers, at the Auto & General Theatre on the Square in 2014.[11][12] Normington also starred in the Market Theatre's production of Pirandello's Six Characters In Search of an Author in 2015.[13]

Normington did not, however, take a break from big budget musicals in this time, starring as Fraulein Kost in 2012's Cabaret, Mother Superior in the Nelson Mandela Theatre's Sister Act in 2015, Mrs Brice in the Fugard Theatre's 2017 production of Funny Girl, as well as Mrs White in Marc Lottering's Aunty Merle: The Musical, and Liz Essendine in Present Laughter at the Theatre on the Bay. 2016 also saw Normington appear in her first pantomime at the Nelson Mandela Theatre, playing Aunt Silly in Janice Honeyman's Babes in the Woods.

More recently, Normington has had several star turns, as Mrs Shears and various other characters in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In the Night Time in 2018, as The Witch in PTP's Into the Woods in Cape Town and Johannesburg in 2019 (a role for which she was nominated for both Fleur du Cap and Naledi Awards), and as the Narrator in The Rocky Horror Show in 2020. In 2023 she plays Rachel Swart (and numerous other characters) in the stage adaption of Damon Galgut's The Promise in Cape Town and Johannesburg.[14]

Film and television[edit]

Normington has appeared in several films over the course of her career, starting with 1991's The Sheltering Desert, in which she appeared alongside Gavin Hood and Rupert Graves,[15] which was followed by Brendan Pollecutt's Hey Boy in 2003. She also appeared in a short from the NFVN, entitled The Last Doorman, as well as starring in Angus Buchan's Ordinary People in 2006. More recently, Normington appeared in the Netflix film The Last Days of American Crime, starring Edgar Ramirez.[16]

Normington has also had a long and varied television career, appearing in many popular South African programs, such as Scandal, Shado's, Hard Copy, 7de Laan, The Lab, Backstage, and The Res. She received a SAFTA nomination for her work on Tim Greene's Those Who Can't in 2017,[17] and played Pam Henshaw in SABC 3's High Rollers. Also in 2017, she gained critical acclaim for her appearance in Julia Anastosopoulos's Tali's Wedding Diary, as Michelle, the title character's mother.[18] Normington also appeared in three episodes of MNet's Still Breathing alongside Siv Ngesi, Michael Richard, and Dorothy Ann Gould.[19]


Normington has also released two solo albums, Mother's Daughter - for which she wrote six original tracks[20] - and a recording of Tell Me On a Sunday, the first act of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance.


Year Production Role Venue Notes
1986 Tarts La Parisienne
1987 Nunsense Sister Mary Amnesia Alhambra Theatre/Theatre on the Bay Fleur du Cap Award
1987 Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street Joanna Durban Playhouse
1987 Sweet Charity Niki Durban Playhouse
1987 Candide Ensemble Durban Playouse
1989 Camelot Guinevere State Theatre
1990 My Fair Lady Eliza State Theatre Vita Award
1991 A Touch of Webber... A Taste of Rice
1992 Romance Romance Josephine Natal Playhouse
1993 The Rocky Horror Show Janet The Victory Theatre
1993 Grease Sandy Baxter Theatre
1993 Sunset Boulevard Ensemble/Betty Schaefer Understudy Adelphi Theatre West End
1994 Hair Sheila Civic Theatre
1995 Crazy For You Irene State Theatre
1995 Tell Me On a Sunday Emma The Sound Stage
1995 Sunset Boulevard Company/Norma Desmond Understudy Adelphi Theatre West End
1996 Aspects of Love Rose Vibert The Haymarket Theatre - Hampshire
1996 Into the Woods The Baker's Wife The Haymarket Theatre - Leicester
1999 Annie Grace Farrell Victoria Palace Theatre West End
2002 Fame Miss Bell Civic Theatre[21]
2004 Blithe Spirit Mrs Bradman
2004 Menopause The Musical Soap Star Theatre on the Bay
2004 King Lear Goneril Tesson Theatre[22][23]
2004 The Shadrack Affair Barbara Baxter Theatre[24]
2006 Bombshells Naledi Award
2007 Hairspray Velma von Tussel Lyric Theatre Naledi Award
2008 High School Musical on Stage Miss Darbus Montecasino Teatro
2010 Mamma Mia! Tanya Artscape Theatre Centre/Montecasino Teatro[25] Naledi Award
2011 Love, Loss, and What I Wore Theatre on the Bay[26]
2011 Ester Queen Vashti State Theatre[27]
2012 Cabaret Fraulein Kost Pieter Toerien Theatre/Theatre on the Bay Fleur du Cap Nomination
2013 Dirty Dancing Marjorie Houseman Artscape Theatre Centre
2014 Two in the Bush Auto & General Theatre on the Square Also created and wrote[28]
2015 Sister Act Mother Superior Joburg Theatre Naledi Award nomination
2015 Six Characters In Search of an Author Lead Actress Market Theatre
2016 Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood Silly Sylviana Joburg Theatre Naledi Award nomination
2017 Funny Girl Mrs Brice Fugard Theatre Fleur du Cap Nomination
2018 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time Mrs Shears Pieter Toerien Theatre/Theatre on the Bay
2019 Into the Woods The Witch Pieter Toerien Theatre/Theatre on the Bay Fleur du Cap and Naledi Award nominations
2020 The Rocky Horror Show The Narrator Montecasino Teatro
2023 The Promise Rachel Swart District Six Homecoming Centre, Cape Town
Market Theatre, Johannesburg



Year Title Role Notes
1991 The Sheltering Desert Brigitte Muller
1991 Hot Pursuit Samantha Jubost
2003 Hey Boy Leslie
2008 Coronation Street: Out of Africa Pamela Teal
2009 Diamonds Denmont Lawyer TV movie
2012 Angus Buchan's Ordinary People Eileen Cloete
2014 The Last Doorman Marlene Krause NFVF Short
2018 Three Way Junction Fran
2020 The Last Days of American Crime News Anchor


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Hard Copy Julia
2006 Shado's Savannah
2006 The Lab Christa
2007 Jacob's Cross Ms Klausen
2008 On the Couch Lizzie
2009 Society Society
2012-2015 Those Who Can't Desiree Young
2013 Loitering in Jozi Guest
2016 High Rollers Pam
2016 Sober Companion Tina's Mother
2017 Taryn & Sharon Leanne Maddox
2017 Tali's Wedding Diary Michelle
2020 Still Breathing Liza
The Res Shirl
Backstage Bobby's Mom
7de Laan [30]


  • Mother's Daughter (2001)
  • Tell Me On a Sunday (1994)

Awards and nominations[edit]


Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
1988 Fleur du Cap Award Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Nunsense Won
Vita Award for Comedy Won
1992 Vita Best Lead Actress My Fair Lady Nominated
2006 Naledi Theatre Awards Best Actress Bombshells Won
2007 Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Hairspray Won
2010 Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Mamma Mia! Won
2012 Fleur du Cap Award Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Cabaret Nominated
2015 Naledi Theatre Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Sister Act Nominated
2016 Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood Nominated
2017 Fleur du Cap Award Best Supporting Actress in a Musical Funny Girl Nominated
2020 Naledi Theatre Awards Best Actress in a Musical Into the Woods Pending
Fleur du Cap Award Best Actress in a Musical Pending[31]
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical The Rocky Horror Show Pending


Year Award Category Nominated Work Result
2017 SAFTA Best Supporting Actress: Comedy Those Who Can't Nominated


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  4. ^ "Camelot - ESAT". esat.sun.ac.za. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  5. ^ Grobler, Riaan. "'I've been this Gaynor longer than I was the old Gaynor': Actress who fell 5 storeys during 1989 performance reflects on her life today". News24. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
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  8. ^ "Into the Woods (Leicester Haymarket Production, 1997)". Ovrtur. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
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  15. ^ The Sheltering Desert, retrieved 30 July 2020
  16. ^ The Last Days of American Crime, retrieved 30 July 2020
  17. ^ "SAFTAs 11". www.nfvf.co.za. Retrieved 31 July 2020.
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  19. ^ Still Breathing (TV Series 2020– ) - IMDb, retrieved 30 July 2020
  20. ^ Mother's Daughter - Kate Normington | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic, retrieved 30 July 2020
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  28. ^ "THEATRE REVIEW: Two in the Bush". www.iol.co.za. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
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  30. ^ "Kate Normington | TVSA". www.tvsa.co.za. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  31. ^ "2020 Naledi Nominations for Productions Staged in 2019". Naledi Theatre Awards. Retrieved 30 July 2020.