About Rory

Rory Kilalea profile image

As a producer, writer, director and educator RORY KILALEA has worked in numerous capacities within the creative industries for the past thirty five years (since 1975), including feature film, theatre, television, television, radio, animation and education. With a career that spans the globe, he has experience in feature films (A World Apart / Cry Freedom, etc) production manager, television and radio director and academic lecturer .

Rory is also an accomplished writer of award winning plays and short stories that have been produced or published in the UK, South Africa, Ireland, Zimbabwe, Malaysia and the US. An experienced teacher and lecturer, he has taught film directing and creative writing in numerous locations, including Goldsmith Hall,Athens, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, South Africa and the Middle East.

As a passionate campaigner, Rory had directed and written many AIDS related projects for a variety of charitable foundations, including UNESCO, The Ford Foundation, and Johns Hopkins University (USA). He also consulted on many capacity building projects in Africa with Media For Development (Harare/USA).

He is currently working as a freelance producer, director, writer and teacher. This includes writing and producing a 28 minute animated programme against violence for the Middle East youth market, as well as completing a novel and school anthology 'In the Continuum'. He has recently facilitated the writers’ workshops for young Zimbabwean writers on behalf of the Zimbabwean Film Institute, and he currently lectures and mentors BA Filmmaking students at the Met Film School at Ealing Studios in London.

Education & Qualifications

BA English (HONS) Lond. (Drama / linguistics / literature) Graduate Certificate in Education (Rhod.) Licentiate of Trinity College London (Drama / Teaching) NACALD- Improvisational Drama for Actors ( University of San Francisco) Certificate in Scriptwriting, International Correspondence School.


Film and Television

Rory has directed various television programmes and documentaries for companies such as: BBC (UK), Quest (USA), Fortune Promo 7 (Bahrain/Kuwait), Filmworks (UAE). He was a second unit director on New Line Cinema’s DARK CITY (1998) and directed the location filming unit for Paul Simon’s GRACELAND concert.

He has worked on International and African productions and directed two television series for the (then) black channel for South African Television (S.A.T.V.). He was a newsreader on television in Zimbabwe and was awarded the Presenter of the Year in 1980 for his television programmes, commercials and AIDS documentaries.

He has tackled such documentary subjects as the Great Railway journeys (BBC) to the 7 star hotel in the UAE (Burj Al Arab), desalination (Dubai) and corporate films throughout the Middle, the Far East and Asia. He has also worked with the Johns Hopkins University in Tanzania / Uganda / Zimbabwe as well as UNESCO on documentaries on HIV and Sexual Health for Africa.

He has directed over 200 Advertising Commercials for local and international television stations since 1983. Shooting Products include: Coca Cola/Sprite/Land Rover Discovery/Nivea/Kuwait Airways/ Christian Aid Commercial/ Gulf Air / and Gillette. Rory has written and produced animated commercials as well, serving as creative producer on a series of short animation films for Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and pilots for animation series. Many of his commercials gained awards at the London International Advertising Festival, New York Festival and International Advertising Association.

As a producer, line producer or production manager, he has worked on over thirty feature films and television programmes based in Southern Africa, including: Yellow Card (Media For Development Trust Zimbabwe, 1999), Congo (Paramount, 1995), A Far Off Place (Disney, 1993), A World Apart (Working Title, 1988), Cry Freedom (Universal, 1987) and Jit (Film Africa, 1990). His drama- documentary film on the life of John Bradburne, a missionary working amongst leprosy patients, raised $1000000.00 for new hospitals for the patients in Zimbabwe.(Independent,Catholic Church 1984).

He has also consulted on budget and location assessments for major studios, including Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount, Fil de Broc, and Universal Studios.. In 1990, he designed a trainee scheme to develop the skills of local talent in the feature film industry within Zimbabwe. All films and video /Television programmes have all been available or distributed in the UK and Europe.

Nb: A full list of documentaries, television shows and corporates is available on request.

Other Media/Communications


COLOURS (play) won the Susie Smith Award in 2009 from Oxfam, which is awarded to a single piece of writing on HIV and AIDS from sub-Saharan Africa. The play premiered at OXFAM house last October and will open in London later this year.

ZIMBABWE BOY (play) was produced in London at the National Theatre and at the African Festival in 2005.

DESERTIFICATION IN AFRICA (Documentary), awarded Honourable Mention by the United Nations.

DIARY OF DAVID AND RUTH (play), was the first accredited Zimbabwean entry in to the Edinburgh Festival and was invited to The Best of Fringe Festival in London. It has been performed in the Middle East, South Africa, Scotland and England. After the success of DAVID AND RUTH, Rory was commissioned to write another play for the Market Theatre of South Africa, which premiered at the Harare International Festival of Arts in 2001.

ASHES IN THE WIND (Feature Film script)

TALES OF THE WORLD (animated television series)

ASHES (play), premiered in Harare (Zimbabwe) at the International Theatre Festival in 2001.

HARRY THE CAMEL, a series of comedy-animated shorts for interstitials use.

He wrote and mentored direction on a television series for the Johns Hopkins University on sexual Health for Africa in 2000, which was shot in Uganda – ' A TIME TO CARE' (Pathfinder /Media For Development)

He was nominated for the short list of the CAINE PRIZE FOR AFRICAN LITERATURE (the Booker Prize for African writing) in 2000 and again in June 2002. His short stories were short listed for the Fish Short Stories Award (Ireland) in 2001. He has been published in Malaysia in the 2002 anthology of short stories by Silverfish Books (Kuala Lumpur).

Rory writes his short stories under the pen name of murungu.


IN THE CONTINUUM (2009) - Weaver Press (Zimbabwe) Co Editor an educational series of books based on theatre/radio plays for ‘0’ level syllabus in Africa.

WRITING NOW (2004), WRITING STILL (2005) – LAUGHING NOW (2008) Weaver Press- ABC Distribution (London). Author- short stories.

THE ARABIAN PRINCESS (2005). Zodiac Publishing, Dubai / London. Author- children's' stories form the MIddle and Far East.

DISCOVERING HOME (2003) – Jacana Press, South Africa Two short stories from Caine Prize for African writing. Author. MOVING WORLDS (2003) – University of Leeds Press Author - short story

NEW WRITING (2002) - Silverfish Books, Kuala Lumpur Author - short story

TENDERFOOTS (2002) – Mail and Guardian, South Africa. Author - short story.

BATSOTSO (2001) – M@G Books, South Africa. Collection of poems and short stories

TSOTSO (2001/2) – Tsotso Publishing, Zimbabwe? Various poems.


Susie Smith Memorial Prize (2009)
COLOURS won this Oxfam prize for his writing about HIV/AIDS The play is being published in London in 2010.

BBC World Service (2004)
COLOURS won third prize in this radio play competition

The Caine Prize for African Writing (2000, 2002)
Short-listed for Africa’s Booker Prize

Fish Prize for Short Stories (2001)
Short-listed for this Irish Award.

SilverFish Book Prize (2002)
Short-listed twice for this Malaysian prize


He has co-ordinated Actors Performance Workshops in London - at Goldsmith Hall (Under the aegis of the North American Centre for Education through Drama), Athens (British Council), and in Africa.

He taught improvisational drama in Jerusalem, Athens, London and South Africa with emphasis on the use of English as a conversational medium from 1981 through to 1990.

He has directed numerous theatre plays: The plays were done either as an independent production or for various theatres e.g. Seven Arts Theatre (Harare) or commissioned by theatre companies / clubs, including;

The Anniversary (Marlborough dramatic Society - Harare) - nominated for Best Production by the National Theatre Association .

The Subject was Roses (Kadoma Theatre) . Teahouse of the August Moon (Marlborough - Harare) - Best Production National Theatre Festival.

The Loves of Cass McGuire (the Irish Association Zimbabwe). Assegai (African Premiere of a musical drama - subsequently at Edinburgh Festival) .

Diary of David and Ruth (Market Theatre - South Africa) - Tsavta Theatre Jerusalem - Gallery

Delta Harare - moved to London for the Best of the Fringe Festival.

Improvisational Theatre - “This is It “Jerusalem - Tel Aviv - Athens Greece - London (Goldsmith Hall) (Actors Studio Production - (San Francisco)). He directed monthly theatre at Delta Theatre - a range of theatre from tragedy to comedy.

Sing! Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe Musical- Edinburgh Fringe 2005- five star reviews for a Zimbabwean cast.

Colours – adapted for the BBC World Service Radio (2005)

Streetcar named Desire – Premiere with Zimbabwean Cast (2007).

Various radio and theatre plays- Full List on request including BBC Radio 3, 2007 series ‘Crossing Borders”


Zimbabwe National Theatre Award for his role as ' Don ' - in Butterflies are Free.

Best Actor Award - National Theatre Zimbabwe - for his role as Ben Butley in 'Butley'

Numerous roles - from singing roles - Fagin in “OLIVER” to Pantomime - to comedy – with Ken Connor and Dylis Watling (My Fat Friend -touring)- to the lead in Diary of David and Ruth (Tsavta Theatre)

Journeys End – Osborne – Edinburgh Fringe Assembly Rooms -2004


He taught Radio Broadcasting Skills - Actor to Broadcaster - at The University of Zimbabwe (1983), to adults and between media works around the world, he lectures at schools, trains young adults in media and related skills and writes articles on the related media for African Colleges and Schools in Zimbabwe as well s writing workshops at the Cork Literary Festival.

He was Announcer / Producer with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. In 1980 he was part of the pioneer team, which opened the new Zimbabwean Radio Station #3. He was an international Stringer / Reporter for the South African Broadcasting Corporation during the period 1980-1982. He produced radio drama for RADIO ONE - ZIMBABWE BROADCASTING CORPORATION.


Rory Kilalea has been involved in education - either for Theatre, Film, Scriptwriting or Television since 1975.

He was Headmaster of Marlborough High School (Zimbabwe), and Head of the Drama and the English Department. (1980).

He has been Head of the English department at Marlborough High School, Harare, Vice Head Teacher and Acting Head Teacher at the same school. He has also taught performance skills to Arabian adult actors in Bahrain, Dubai and voice presentation skills to artists in Cairo.

During this period, he taught at Colleges and Schools on performance, television and scripting skills in South Africa and in Zimbabwe.

Associate of the North American Centre for Education though Drama (University of San Francisco/ Roy Hart Theatre- France). ß