Eric Abraham – Founding Producer
Eric Abraham is a film, television and theatre producer, best known for producing the Academy Award-winning films Ida and Kolya. A South African-born former journalist and human rights activist banned and house-arrested by the apartheid government in 1976 and exiled for 15 years, he became a producer of BBC TV’s Panorama before going on to form Portobello.
He went on to produce many acclaimed television dramas including John le Carre’s A Murder of Quality and the BBC TV crime series Dalziel & Pascoe. He produced Roald Dahl’s Danny the Champion of the World, Jan Svěrák’s Dark Blue World and Empties, Tim Roth’s The War Zone, Jez Butterworth’s Mojo and Birthday Girl, Jiri Menzel’s The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, Quiet Chaos starring Nanni Moretti, and Joshua Marston’s The Forgiveness of Blood, winner of a Silver Bear at the 2011 Berlin Film Festival.
With his wife, publisher and philanthropist Sigrid Rausing, he co- founded the Portobello Books publishing house in 2005, and later that year they acquired the highly regarded literary journal Granta and Granta Books.
As a theatre producer, credits include Hugh Whitemore’s adaptation of Pirandello’s As you Desire Me, starring Bob Hoskins & Kristin Scott-Thomas, Christopher Hampton’s stage version of Sandor Marai’s Embers, which marked Jeremy Irons’ return to the stage after twenty years and was directed by the Tony award-winning Michael Blakemore, Polly Stenham’s multi-award winning That Face, and the acclaimed West End transfer of Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park, winner of the Olivier Award for Best Play, 2011. He has commissioned new plays from, amongst others, Nicholas Wright, Hugh Whitemore, Frank McGuinness and Rebecca Lenkiewicz.
In 2006 and 2010, he set up and worked with Isango Portobello, a collaboration with director Mark Dornford-May. Their first productions together were A Christmas Carol – Ikrismas Kherol and The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo. They premiered in Cape Town at the Baxter Theatre and at the Young Vic in London to major acclaim, with The Magic Flute – Impempe Yomlingo transferring to the Duke of York’s theatre for a successful West End run and winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, 2008, before touring internationally. The company also presented an acclaimed revival of their production of The Mysteries – Yiimimangaliso in Cape Town in 2009, prior to a West End transfer.
In 2010 he commissioned and underwrote the building of The Fugard theatre in the heart of Cape Town – commissioning and producing new work including Nick Wright’s A Human Being Died that Night (The Fugard/The Market Theatre/The Hampstead Theatre/BAM), David Kramer’s musicals: Kanala: District 6, Orpheus in Africa, and delivering ambitious productions of successful shows including West Side Story, Cabaret, and The Rocky Horror Show among others.