- 28 July 1864
- 18 February 1939
Kensington, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- Actor, Director, Producer, Scriptwriter and Theatrical director
- Alternative Names
- Black, Catherine Clarissa (Second Married Name)
- de Saxe, Catherine Clarissa (Previous married name)
- Jones, Catherine Clarissa (birth name)
Kate Howarde, born Catherine Clarissa Jones in England and migrating to New Zealand as a child, was the first woman to direct a feature film in Australia.
She married the musician William Henry de Saxe in April 1884 and their only child, Florence Adrienne, was born not long after on 5 December 1884. William Henry de Saxe left soon after Florence was born and died c.1899.
Catherine de Saxe adopted the stage name Kate Howarde in the 1890s. By the late 1890s, her theatre production company, the Kate Howarde Company was based in Australia and was reported to be extensively touring through New Zealand and all Australian States. In addition to managing the tours, Howarde controlled all finances, wrote and directed many of the performances, songs and pantomimes and performed herself.
Her biggest success was the comedy Possum Paddock (1919). Written, produced and presented by Howarde, the play told the story of the financial and romantic problems of a bush family. The success of the play convinced Howarde to turn the play into a film which she starred in, produced, co-scripted and co-directed with Charles Villiers. This made her the first woman in Australia to direct a feature film. Australian censors removed a scene from the film in which an unmarried mother imagines drowning her baby. The film was released in Sydney on 29 January 1921 and was well received throughout Australia and New Zealand.