Angelique Rockas

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Angelique Rockas and Garry Cooper as Miss Julie humiliating Jean

Angelique Rockas is an actress and producer .In the decade of the 1980`s she questioned the casting clichés current in London theatre [1] both in her capacity as an individual performer and in the presentation of multi-racial and multi-national productions of Internationalist Theatre[2][3] the company she founded pursuing "a multi-racial drama policy, with an even mix of performers drawn from different cultural groups".[4]

Angelique Rockas as Carmen in 'The Balcony' by Jean Genet, presented by Internationalist Theatre

Instances of this were the “daring piece of self casting “ [5] playing August Strindberg `s ‘Miss Julie’ , even though being short of stature and of Mediterranean hue[6] and the multi-national and multi-racial casting of Bertolt Brecht`s ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ prompting Malcolm Hay of’ Time Out’ ".. the casting only inspires a whole host of irreverent questions: what on earth, say, is an American sergeant doing in seventeenth century Europe? And how did a Pakistani chaplain get into the Swedish army?"[7] . The impetus of her work derives from her experiences in apartheid South Africa where she was born.

Early Years[change | change source]

Born in apartheid South Africa Rockas became politicized at an early age at her Catholic School, St Dominic`s convent , where she was a boarder . [8] One of the main inspirations for her formation of Internationalist Theatre was her meeting with fellow Greek South African George Bizos [9] the anti-apartheid lawyer and defender of Mandela. .[10] Her opposition to apartheid brought her into conflict not only with her conservative local Greek community , .[11] and the Nationalist MP of Boksburg where she was born , but also brought a halt to her political studies. Rockas read for a BA in English Literature and Philosophy at the University of Witwatersrand , followed by an Honours in English, [12] and completed her studies with a Drama Course at the University of Cape Town Drama School. [13].

Theatro Technis[change | change source]

Rockas began her acting career in London at Theatro Technis performing in mainly Greek/English language productions : ‘Dowry with Two White Doves’,’Afrodite Unbound’, ‘A Revolutionary Nicknamed Roosevelt’,[14] ‘Ethnikos Aravona’ , [15] ‘Kato apo tis Keratsies’ [16], and ‘Don Camillo’, [17] all directed by George Eugeniou .[18]

Performances in the English language and reception[change | change source]

As the BFI archive points out Rockas “attracted admiration as an actress for her strong interpretation of roles “ 'Yvette' in Brecht's 'Mother Courage'; [19] 'Carmen' in Jean Genet's 'The Balcony'; [20] 'Anabella' in John Ford's ' 'Tis Pity She's A Whore' [21] as well as 'Medea', [22] which the’ Sunday Telegraph ‘described as “fiercely agile” . [23] and 'The Times' spoke of "the dangerous passions of Angelique Rockas". [24] In ‘Miss Julie’ as the gender historian Jo Stanley commented “past productions ...have done little to suggest the huge dimensions of the character which Angelique Rockas does here”. [25] Further roles include the brutalized artist Emma in the Argentinian anti-junta protest play ‘The Camp’ by Griselda Gambaro ,"encarna magistralmente el dificil papel de Emma "[26][27][28] , Miriam in Williams` ‘In The Bar of a Tokyo Hotel’,described as "spellbinding".[29][30] Tatiana in Gorky`s ‘Enemies’[31] , and Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare`s ‘Macbeth’.[32] She also played the Nurse in ‘The F and H play’ at the Traverse Theatre , Edinburgh .[33]

Film and Television[change | change source]

On film she has played Henrietta in ‘The Witches’, [34] the Maintenance woman in ‘Outland’[35] and Nereida in ‘Oh Babylon’ . [36][37] For the SABC TV she participated in an adaptation of Elliot`s ‘The Hollow Men’ , and on Greek TV she played the lead female role., MS Ortiki in Thodoros Maragos`s ‘Emmones Idees’ .< ref> </ref>

New Theatre[change | change source]

In September 1980 she took her first steps in production by presenting Ford`s’ Tis Pity she`s a Whore’ , directed by Declan Donnellan and designed by Nick Ormerod. "it is something of a triumph. Naked passion is as raw under a three piece suit as draped in Renaissance brocades"[38]

Internationalist Theatre[change | change source]

In April 1981, Rockas founded Internationalist Theatre “to create a multi-racial and multi-national theatre company for actors living in London of any racial or national background, of any accent, performing drama classics as well as contemporary works not especially written for multi-racial and multi-national casts”.[39] The trade newspaper The Stage announced on 9 April 1981 in the Theatre News, page (2), the company`s formation "to assert a multi-racial drama policy",with their performance of the revival of The Balcony by Jean Genet.[40] Fellow South African AtholFugard agreed to be on the advisory board of the company . [41] [42]

Performances and reception[change | change source]

  • ‘The Balcony’ by Jean Genet  : “Et s`ils sont aussi vivants et revelateurs les jeunes talents que on ne peut que s`en rejouir.. Ellen Thomas] est pleine d`autorite dans le role de Madame Irma.[43] [44]
  • The premiere of ‘The Camp ‘: “en definitive el grito primordial de Gambaro" [45][46]
  • ’Mother Courage and Her Children ‘ by Bertolt Brecht “viewing three hours of Brecht “ in the basement of the old Charing Cross hospital "might sound like noble endurance indeed. But the Internationalist Theatre production of Mother Courage at the Theatre Space is not to be so lightly dismissed".[47]
  • The British premiere of the English language performance of ‘Liola’ by Luigi Pirandello : “It opened with a satiety of womens` gossip... some of it not very easy to follow with the various accents of the New Internationalist Theatre. But it picked up wonderfully"[48] " do we really need this peculiar medley of Italian accents for the English premiere? The problem is compounded by the commitment a multi-national cast ....English, German, Sicilian, and Italian actors produce widely differing versions of the Latin lilt"[49] "Il successo e stato particolarmente vivo e le recensioni della stampa molto positivo", [50]
  • Uk premiere of In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel by Tennessee Williams [51]
  • ’Miss Julie’ 'Dagens Nyheter' observed "Det blir ... en forestallning som ibland lyckas overflytta den Strindbergska till Hampstead . Specialkomponerad musik bidrar till atmosfaren[52] [53]
  • ’Enemies’ by Maxim Gorky: in Ann Pennington`s direction Gorky`s "pseudo-populism" is done away with by the actors speaking "without distinctive accents and consequently without populist sentiment"."BBC broadcast review of Enemies". BBC Russian Service. 30 March 1985 – via

Internationalist Theatre staged productions by dramatists of “symbolically orientated drama of this century (20th)….who proved most uncongenial to the tunnel visioned repertoire builders" of British theatre of that period.[54][55]

Archives[change | change source]

  • The physical records of Angelique Rockas and Internationalist Theatre : correspondence with Joan Littlewood, Athol Fugard,George Bizos are held at the British Library under Western Manuscripts.[1][2]
  • The digital records at the Scottish Theatre Archive,[3] supplemented by Angelique Rockas File: Visual Archive of theatre work, film work, and projects Flickr.[4]
  • Archive of Correspondence with film directors including:Elia Kazan,Derek Jarman, Lindsay Anderson,Costas Gavras,Julie Christie are held at the British Film Institute BFI [5]
  • The National Archives (United Kingdom)
  • Bertolt-Brecht-Archiv Akademie der Künste Informationen zu Angelique Rockas Gründerin der Theatercompagnie Internationalist Theatre.
  • [6]GREEK DIASPORA ARCHIVE-Angelique Rockas

References[change | change source]

  1. Dirk de Villiers (July 1983). Angelique Rockas founded Internationalst Theatre all races and nationalities. South African Digest. p. 66 – via
  2. Robert Conway (1988). British Alternative Theatre Directory Internationalist Theatre. J. Offord. pp. 27–28. ISBN 9780903931380. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  3. British Theatre Directory editor (1990). "British Theatre directory Internationalist Theatre Entry". British Theatre Directory. p. 336. Retrieved 2019-10-15.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  7. Malcolm Hay (13 May 1982). "Full Review of Mother Courage". Time Out magazine – via
  9. "BBC World Service Interview Archive:George Bizos". 29 July 2003 – via BBC World Service.
  10. Evangelos Kordakis. "Angelique Rockas".
  11. "Angelique Rockas: Strong, Bold and Unafraid". Greek Reporter Europe. 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  29. ,(The Star )
  34. "The Witches". Rotten Tomatoes. 2018-10-17. Retrieved 2018-10-19.
  36. Riazzoli, M. (2016). Cronologia del Cinema - Tomo 2 1961-1990. Cronologia del cinema (in Spanish). Youcanprint. p. 600. ISBN 978-88-926-2007-0. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  37. "Angelique Rockas film roles". BFI – via
  41. " Documents Athol Fugard in British Library in Angelique Rockas Archives"
  43. Le Balcon
  44. Le Balcon
  50. htttp:// “ In lingua inglese le parole del Sud:piace a Londra Liola in teatro”Corriere della Sera , 30 July 1982
  51. Ann Nugent (November 1983). "British Newspaper Archive The Stage review of In the Bar of a TokyoHotel,The Battle for Riches". British Newspaper Archive – via
  54. Nicolas de Jongh (28 July 1982). "LIOLA". The Guardian – via Internet Archive.
  55. Nicolas de Jongh (28 July 1982). "LIOLA review pg.10". The Guardian from Proquest Historical library – via

Other websites[change | change source]