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Leonard Lazarus Schach

SCHACH, LEONARD LAZARUS (1918–1996), theatrical director and producer. Schach was born in Cape Town and early on showed an interest in the theater by serving as president of the amateur University Dramatic Society in 1939–42. In 1947–48 he undertook a world survey of national subsidized theater on behalf of the South African Department of Adult Education, resulting in the establishment of the National Theater Organization in 1948.

From 1948 to 1964 he directed over 200 productions in South Africa, including those of his own professional theater company (the Cockpit Players, later Leonard Schach Productions), founded in 1951.

Schach emigrated in 1965 to Israel, where he was invited to join the Cameri Theater as "resident guest director." In addition he directed for Habimah, the Haifa Municipal Theater, Zavit, Bimot, Giora Godick Productions, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Israel Chamber Ensemble Orchestra. He also directed plays and operas in England, the United States, Italy, and Belgium, and made the film Cry in the Wind in Greece.

Schach was the recipient of many awards, including the 1960 Cape Tercentenarian Award of Merit (1960), the Queen of England's Coronation Medal for services to the English theater (1953), the Drama Critics of Brussels award (for After the Fall, 1966), Israel's David's Harp award for best director of the year (Birthday Party, 1968), and the Breytenbach award of South Africa for best director of the year for his production of Equus (1976). He has also been granted the Freedom of the City of Cape Town for his theatrical activity.


Stage by Stage, a biography by Donald Inskup (1977); Yearbook of National Theater and Art Councils.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.