National Documentation Centre for the Performing Arts

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Origins and structure

Founded as part of the Institute for Languages, Literature and Arts at the Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria in 1971 by P.J. Nienaber and P.P.B. Breytenbach as an archive of documents relating to theatre and performance in South Africa it was originally housed in the SAAU Building on the corner of Andries and Schoeman Streets, Pretoria. In 1973 Rinie Stead became head of the centre, with Mr Breytenbach as honorary curator, while Nienaber left the HSRC to found a literary museum in Bloemfontein (NALN).

In the mid 1970s the Institute and its varous documentation centres moved to the President Centre, President Arcade, Pretoria.

The material

The core of the original theatre collection was Mr Breytenbach's own collection and the collection of documents from the National Theatre Organisation. Soon the collection encompassed numerous other collections of performers, directors and managements. The Centre also published a series of Source Books on Drama, Dance and Musical Theatre?* in South Africa between 1972?* and 19**. Close links were maintained over the years with the National English Literary Museum (NELM) in Grahamstown and the Nasionale Afrikaanse Letterkundige Museum en Dokumentasiesentrum (NALN) in Bloemfontein, both of which had developed out of the original HSRC Documentation centres and have in their turn also amassed substantial holdings of theatre materials over the years. On Rinie Stead’s retirement in 1979, the HSRC appointed Temple Hauptfleisch as head and the centre changed focus and name, becoming the Centre for South African Theatre Research (CESAT).

Sources

For more information

See also related institutions such as the Institute for Languages, Literature and Arts, national Documentation Centre for Afrikaans Literature Centre for South African Theatre Research, the National English Literary Museum and the Nasionale Afrikaanse Letterkundige Museum en Dokumentasiesentrum)

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