Guide to using ESAT
Aim of ESAT
As pointed out in the Introductory sections (see What is ESAT? and Background, origins and history) the philosophy behind this Encyclopaedia is a simple one: to compile a general, alphabetical reference work on South African drama, theatre and performance, an encyclopaedia of brief introductory entries on a range of topics. The entries are therefore summaries, really only guidelines for further study. Readers are referred to the more comprehensive sources utilised for more information. To this end most entries are also provided with suggestions for “Further reading”, with links to the Bibliography (see A Bibliography of South African Theatre and Performance , which contains a comprehensive list of all the books, journals and articles utilised, as well as the names of other works useful for background reading.)
Structure of the Encyclopaedia
As can be seen from the Contents the encyclopaedia consists of a number of sections.
For instance, to provide a framework within which the individual entries should be read, there are short introductory overviews of South African theatre and performance, South African Film, South African Media (i.e. radio and TV); each written by one of the editors and/or contributors. (For example, the overview section on South African Theatre is a general outline of the broad sweep of the history of theatre in South Africa.) These overviews can be read in conjunction with the Chronology of the main cultural, historical, political and theatrical events over the past 500 years (this is provided in diagram form at A Chronology of South African Theatre and Performance ). These have been compiled by the general editor and section editors of ESAT, and thus are obviously written from the (inevitably subjective) perspective of the specific author, and are mainly intended to provide persons new to the field with some general and introductory framework from which to start their searches. The overview and chronology introduce some of the more common events, personalities and organisations for the reader, while the chronology in particular seeks to place the events in a historical perspective vis à vis African and international events. Readers already familiar with South African theatre, media and culture can of course readily skip this section and go directly to the more “objective” individual entries, and make their own deductions and judgements.
The individual entries are the main focus of the Encyclopaedia and its database and everything else in the website is intended to support it.
Arrangement of entries:
Each entry in this database constitutes a unique page, and is reached by clicking on the appropriate link.
For ease of compilation and consultation, the entries have been divided into twelve general categories, namely
- South African Theatre/Overview
- South African Theatre Terminology and Thematic Entries
- South African Film and Media/Overview
- South African Film and Media Terminology and Thematic Entries
- South African Personalities
- South African Venues, Companies, Societies, etc
- South African Stage Plays (This is divided into four sub-sections.)
- South African Radio Plays and Serials
- South African Television Plays and Series
- South African Films (This is divided into divided into two sub-sections - Documentary and Feature films.)
- A Chronology of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance
- A Bibliography of South African South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance
All entries are arranged as an alphabetical list within each category and each name serves as a link to the particular entry. However there are different conventions in the various categories. For instance in the Biographies section the generally known names for an individual will normally be used, in the normal order (first name then last name. (E.g "Athol Fugard", not "Fugard, Athol" or "Miriam Makeba", not "Makeba, Miriam"). On the other hand, in the section for Venues, etc. the full name of the venue , company or organisation is used, but WITHOUT the relevant articles (“A” or “The”): Thus for instance "The Opera House" would be found under "Opera House, The", or "Die Breughel Teatergroep" would be found under Breughel Teatergroep, Die. However, in the case of plays and productions, the full title of the play or performance would be used - with the article INCLUDED. For example: The Merchant of Venice, not "Merchant of Venice, The".
Format of entries:
Within each section the entries themselves are kept brief and to a relatively standard format, though entries in the various sections may differ somewhat. Also, there may be the occasional slight deviation from the general format, where the topic warrants it.
In the case of the plays and performances, it may be important to note that they are listed by their full title (using the first word in the title for the alphabetical listing, not an article. Thus The Guise would be listed under "G" as Guise, The, even though the full title - including the article, would serve as a link to the entry from any other place in the Encyclopaedia (i.e. The Guise)
In addition, note that the section South African Theatre Plays is subdivided into three basic categories: Plays I : Original South African texts or significant adaptations, Plays II: Significant South African productions of foreign plays and Plays III: Collections of plays containing South African plays. it may be advisable to search all three for a particular play.
Where possible a brief synopsis of the play is included in each entry, as are details of various productions - with a brief assessment of its role in South African theatre.
Cross-references between these categories are provided in the entries through active links, which are indicated by printing the exact name under which the entry appears in blue. Thus clicking on the link will take the reader to the particular entry on that topic. Occasionally links to external sources (Wikipedia, websites, etc) are also provided.
Bibliography and references
The Bibliography in Part Three, Section 6 was originally compiled by Temple Hauptfleisch and Miemie Neethling, and was then expanded, edited and is being maintained by Miriam Terblanche. It includes all the books consulted in compiling the Companion, plus a general list of all known works on South African theatre and performance.
Searching for Information
The reader can either do a personal search by making use of the Index under The ESAT Entries to the various sections of the encyclopaedia (discussed above) and click on the subsequent links in the various entries to access further information
the reader can utilise the Search function of the Wiki-programme by simply typing the key word(s) in the space provided and clicking on the buttons marked Go (Go to a page with the exact name, if it exists) or Search (Search the pages for this text).
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