Maurice Podbrey

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Maurice Podbrey
Born (1934-04-25) April 25, 1934 (age 83)
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Occupation Theatre director, actor
Spouse(s) Elsa Podbrey

Maurice Podbrey CM (born April 25, 1934) is a South African actor and theatre director. He has spent much of his career in Canada, where he co-founded and was the artistic director of the English-language Centaur Theatre in Montreal.


Podbrey was born in Durban in 1934 in an Lithuanian Jewish family. His father had had Bundist sympathies and his politics influenced his children; Podbrey's sister Pauline later became a trade union organiser.

Podbrey was educated at the University of the Witwatersrand and at the College of Education; after graduating, he emigrated to England and worked as a schoolteacher. In 1959, he switched careers to work as an actor and director. He briefly served as the artistic director for the Chester Playhouse before moving again to Montreal in 1967, when he was invited to join the National Theatre School of Canada as an instructor. Seeking to remedy the lack of English-language theatre in Montreal, Podbrey and Herb Auerbach opened a theatre company in Montreal's former Montreal Stock Exchange building on François-Xavier St. in Old Montreal. Podbrey was the artistic director of the newly founded Centaur Theatre, with Auerbach acting as president and founding chairman.

Having seen and admired the work of South African playwright Athol Fugard in London, Podbrey introduced his work to the North American theatre scene by staging People Are Living There at the Centaur in 1975. Podbrey held his position as artistic director of the Centaur until his retirement in 1997, when he was succeeded by Gordon McCall. He then returned to South Africa and founded Mopo Cultural Trust, a non-profit devoted to developing South African theatre.

Podbrey was awarded membership of the Order of Canada on April 19, 1991, for his services to the performing arts in Canada.

Film and television performances[edit]

Date Title Role Notes
1960 Scotland Yard Detective Episode: "Information Received"
1964 A Christmas Night with the Stars Vicar Episode dated December 24, 1964
1965 Out of the Unknown Director Episode: "A Stranger in the Family"
1965 The Wednesday Play Sergeant Episode: "The Girl Who Loved Robots"
1964-66 Hugh and I 2 episodes
1964-1967 Theatre 625 2 episodes
1971 Doodle Film Voice Short
1974 Why Rock the Boat? Guest Speaker
1975 Aucassin and Nicolette Narrator Short
1977 Strangers at the Door Short
1981 Happy Birthday to Me Dr. Feinblum
1982 Odyssey of the Pacific Policeman
1982-1983 The Mysterious Cities of Gold Governor Pizarro 39 episodes
1985 One Step Away
1986 Spearfield's Daughter London Editor
1987 The Last Straw Dr. Cameron
1991 Urban Angel Newton Mackenzie Episode: "Battered Lives"
1992 The Boys of St. Vincent Archbishop
1993 Love and Human Remains The Theatre Director
1994 Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle Long Island Investor
1996 Everything to Gain The Priest
1998 The Adventures of Sinbad Fin Episode: "Castle Keep"
1998 The Sleep Room Dr. Gottlieb
1998 Inside Out (1998 film) Costa


Charlebois, Gaetan. "Maurice Podbrey." Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia. N.p., 05 July 2013. Web. <>.

Marsh, James H. "Centaur Theatre." The Canadian Encyclopedia: Year 2000 Edition. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2000. 425-26. Print.

Podbrey, Maurice, and R. Bruce. Henry. Half Man, Half Beast: Making a Life in Canadian Theatre. Montréal: Véhicule, 1997. Print.

External links[edit]

Interview with Theatre Museum Canada, 30 May 2007