ESAT: The Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance
Founder and project director: Temple Hauptfleisch
Editor - South African Theatre: Temple Hauptfleisch
Editor - South African Film: Freddy Ogterop
Editorial assistant: Miriam Terblanche
Web publisher: University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Editorial offices: University of Stellenbosch, Department of Drama
ESAT: The Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance is an open access, internet based interactive resource for researchers interested in the evolution, history and forms of performance and media in South Africa. Deriving from the University of Stellenbosch's Libopedia project, it uses the Wiki format and programmes and is published on the web with the assistance of the Drama Department (http://www.sun.ac.za/drama) and its former Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies, the J.S. Gericke Library and the division for Information Technology at the University of Stellenbosch (http://www.sun.ac.za/index.asp)
This work is based on research supported by the National Research Foundation. However, any opinion, finding and conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the authors and the NRF does not accept any liability in this regard.
Aims of ESAT
The key aim of the ESAT encyclopaedia is to create a comprehensive database on the history and nature of South African performance, including theatre, drama, radio drama and TV drama, film, dance, puppetry, circus, oral performance and similar forms, and to make it available as a general reference work and resource for the use of researchers, students, artists, journalist and all other interested parties.
This first version of the encyclopaedia focussed only on live stage performance and was originally intended to be a formally published mini-encyclopaedia and reference work called A Companion to South African Theatre and Performance (COMSAT) and was derived from a database collated by Temple Hauptfleisch and the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies (CENTAPS) at Stellenbosch (with the help of a large number of associates and assistants) over the course of twenty years (1990-2010) (For more on this see About ESAT below, especially the sections on Acknowledgements and Background, origins and history ).
In 2010 a new version of COMSAT, now called ESAT, was conceived, intended as a means of "publishing" all that material online, and thus making the results of all existing and emerging academic and other research more readily accessible to the general reader and the theatre enthusiast nationally and internationally. In this sense the basic aim is rather to condense and collate available information on all South African theatre and performance forms (as far as they have been documented) in one place and in a handy and accessible digital format, rather than to undertake any comprehensive new research. Happily a great deal of little known and/or forgotten information has in fact come to the fore in the process, and much is still being discovered as the project grows. However, that was never - nor is it - the fundamental aim of this first version of ESAT.
In 2012-2013 the scope of the ESAT Project was considerably enlarged by two factors. In 2012 a meeting was held with Marisa Keuris and members of her archival project on provisionally called SA Drama- en teaterbewaring ("SA Drama and Theatre Conservation"), which aims at creating a digital archive of materials on South African theatre, in association with similar international archives. This association means that the ESAT project and the SADET project become partners, sharing information and each supporting and supplementing the other. Discussions on this matters continued into 2013. In 2013 another expansion took place, when film specialist Freddy Ogterop approached the project team to suggest that we expand the scope of ESAT to include South African Film. This discussion led to the idea that perhaps Radio Drama and TV Drama may also be added to the scope of ESAT. Ogterop declared himself willing to join the research team and be the editor for the film section. This was immediately implemented, and the title of the project provisionally changed, even though the implications of these ideas are still being investigated.
- What is ESAT?
- The Research Team
- Background, origins and history
- Basic principles in editing and using ESAT
- A Warning to Readers of ESAT
- Updating ESAT
- Guide to using ESAT
Two important notes for all readers
1 Time-frame and focus on pre-21st century
Because so much information about contemporary arts is already available on the Internet, the aim of this first phase of the project is primarily to provide information about the earlier periods in our history, or what one might think of as pre-21st century theatre, film, media and performance; that is: material from older print publications and manuscripts, not always readily to be found on the Internet yet. For information on more recent, post-2000 events, readers are therefore urged to use the various search engines available, and consult the many South African and international Internet resources, such as LitNet, Artslink, ESAACH and Wikipedia, as well as ESAT itself.
2 It is work in progress
In addition to the time-frame, this initial, experimental, stage of the project (2011-2014) is very much work in progress, a phase in which all the raw material in the database is simply being put onto the web; largely unedited. The main idea has been to make this information available to all users as soon as possible, therefore the material has been used much as it was received - incomplete as it may be at this stage - and therefore it may contain quite a bit of duplication of information, many lacunae, some uncertainties and even possible errors. (In many cases asterisks [*] are used in the text to signal our own awareness of gaps or possible errors .) There will definitely be numerous issues, people and institutions that our readers may know about, but we have not got to yet or are unaware of, and therefore have no entries as yet. Many entries are currently still only mere (unsorted) collations of information, and still require close editing. (The phrase "TO BE EDITED" is at times put in at the head of the entry, to indicate such cases.)
We would therefore like to invite all readers to help us in improving, editing and expanding this material. Should you wish to comment, alter or add to a particular entry, or to the encyclopaedia as a whole, please go to the next section Updating ESAT and let us have your input.
The ESAT database – and indeed the project as a whole - is intended to be, above anything else, a resource for the theatre scholar, researcher, practitioner, critic and/or theatre lover. Something to be dipped into and used as the need arises. We trust that in its present Wiki-based format it serves that purpose.
However, as any reader will no doubt quickly realize, a project such as this can hardly be complete or even fully correct, in all the details about the thousands of performances, people, organizations and places involved in South African theatre and performance over the course of the ages. Besides the sheer bulk of potential material to be fitted into our database , there are also problems with the availability and reliability of our sources and our information. To add to the confusion we have found that authors often contradict themselves and each other, at times taking speculation as fact, or turning to speculation themselves to fill in gaps. We have sought to indicate where such disparities or doubts occur. (See A Warning to Readers of ESAT)
Thus the ESAT database can only really provide a sample of the more prominent information available at a given time, nor can it ever really be completed as a project. There are no doubt many gaps and inaccuracies of our own in this first version of ESAT and for this reason we would like to stress that it is a first version, one to be updated and corrected on an ongoing basis. To help us in this process, we would like to invite readers to supply us with any information we might require to improve the Companion for later editions.
Submitting contributions to ESAT:
All researchers, artists and other interested parties are invited to help us expand, improve, update and correct ESAT. Any information, contributions, relevant comments, material or information can be sent to the following address:
The Editor: ESAT, Department of Drama, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, MATIELAND 7602, South Africa.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax number: (+ 27) 21 882 9141
The entries for ESAT have been grouped in ten categories, managed and edited by one of the research editors. To access database material on the relevant category, and choose the item by clicking on the link.
- South African Theatre and Performance/Overview
- South African Film/Overview
- South African Media/Overview
- South African Terminology and Thematic Entries
- South African Personalities
- South African Venues, Companies, Societies, etc
- South African Films
- South African Stage Plays
- South African Radio Plays and Serials
- South African Television Plays and Series
- A Chronology of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance
- A Bibliography of South African South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance