About ESAT

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ESAT: The Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance (ESAT) is an open access, internet based interactive resource for researchers interested in the evolution, history and forms of performance and media in South Africa. 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 originally undertaken under the auspices of, and with the support of, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and since 1988 continued at the University of Stellenbosch, with the support of the University's Divsion for Research Development, the former Centre for Science Development (CSD) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). However, any opinion, finding and conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the author and none of the sponsors accept any liability in this regard.

Aims of ESAT

The key aim of ESAT is to create a comprehensive online 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.

The general aim is rather to condense and collate available information on all South African theatre, film, media and performance forms (as far as they have been documented) in one place and in a handy and accessible digital format, 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 during the course of this project, and can be made available, though that was not the fundamental aim of the first version of ESAT.

The original version of the project was intended to provide what one could call a published mini-encyclopaedia and reference work, one that was initially 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 the the lists of Contributors above, the section Background, origins and history and the Acknowledgements that follow below.

When the decision was made to re-cast the project as an online encyclopaedia, utilizing the Wiki programme, the name was changed to the Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre and Performance - hence the ESAT acronym. Gradually, as more and more other forms crept into the entries and the compass of the project expanded, the title was once more adapted to become the current South African Encyclopaedia of Theatre, Film, Media and Performance (though the acronym was retained).

The encyclopaedia's editors invite the academic and artistic community to help in expanding and improving on this material in order to make which would make the results of academic and other research more readily accessible to the general reader and the theatre enthusiast. (For more on this see Updating ESAT.)

The Editorial Team

Founder and project director: Temple Hauptfleisch

Editors - South African Theatre and Performance: Temple Hauptfleisch (1945-) and Miriam Terblanche (1946-2023)

Editor - South African Film: Freddy Ogterop

Editor - South African Radio:

Editor - South African Television:

Editor - Cumulative Bibliography: Created by the late Miriam Terblanche (1946-2023)

Planning Committees and Research Support

Original Project Planning Committee (1990-1994)

Temple Hauptfleisch, Yvette Hutchison, Edwin Hees, Arnold Blumer†.

Digital Planning Committee (2010-2013)

Temple Hauptfleisch, Ina Smith, Hilton Gibson†, Miriam Terblanche†.

Research Assistants to the project leader (1989 to 2010)

Felicity Grové, Abduragman Adams, J-P de Rosnay, Stephanie Hough, Gaerin Hauptfleisch, Karina Hauptfleisch, Yvette Hutchison, Anja Huismans, Miemie Neethling, Petrus du Preez, Rebecca Smart, Miriam Terblanche† and Hannah Borthwick.

Contributing Authors

(Their affiliation at the time of writing) and [abbreviations used in text]

Anthony Akerman; Arnold Blumer† (University of Stellenbosch) [AB]; Hannah Borthwick (University of Stellenbosch) [HB]; P.J. Conradie† (University of Stellenbosch) [PC]; Eben Cruywagen (SABC) [EC]; J-P de Rosnay (University of Stellenbosch) [J-P]; Floyed de Vaal (University of Stellenbosch) [FdV]; Petrus du Preez (University of Stellenbosch) [PDP]; Julius Eichbaum† (Scenaria Magazine) [JE]; Ian Ferguson (University of South Africa) [IF]; Jill Fletcher† (Cape Town) [JF]; Gaerin Hauptfleisch (University of Stellenbosch) [GH]; Karina Hauptfleisch (University of Stellenbosch) [KH]; Temple Hauptfleisch (University of Stellenbosch) [TH]; Edwin Hees (University of Stellenbosch) [EH]; Stephanie Hough (Stellenbosch) [SH]; Johan Hugo (University of Stellenbosch) [JH]; Yvette Hutchison (Universities of Warwick UK and Stellenbosch) [YH]; Enock James† (University of Stellenbosch) [EJ]; Marie Kruger (University of Stellenbosch) [MK]; Ivor Markman (Port Elizabeth, SA) [IM]; Mervyn McMurtry (University of Natal, Durban) [McM]; Miemie Neethling (University of Stellenbosch) [MN]; Darryl Nel (); NELM, Grahamstown [NELM]; Steve Ntsane (University of Stellenbosch) [SN]; Louw Odendaal† (University of Pretoria) [LO]; Freddy Ogterop (Independent researcher)[FO]; Dennis Schauffer (University of Durban-Westville) [DS]; Rebecca Smart (University of Stellenbosch) [RS]; Christo Snyman (New Jersey, USA) [CS]; Taryn Tavener-Smith (Buckinghamshire New University, UK); [Miriam Terblanche]]† (University of Stellenbosch) [MT]; Johann van Heerden [JvH]; Hilda van Lill (University of Stellenbosch) [HvL]; Nthombifuthi Vezi (University of Zululand) [NV]; Anton Welman† (University of the Free State) [AW]; Elma Young (Pretoria) [EY];

Technical support

Technical advisors to the project:

On the Access-programme originally used: Petra Malherbe & Information Technology, University of Stellenbosch

Technical advisors on the Wiki-programme now being used:

Original development and support Hilton Gibson† and Tammy Bekker; since 2021: Sarfaraz Mohamed, (at sarfaraz@sun.ac.za);

Web publisher:

University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Editorial offices:

University of Stellenbosch, Department of Drama, Private Bag X1 Stellenbosch 7602


The project leader and the editorial team would like to thank all the following for their support of the ESAT project.

Financial and institutional support

ESAT is an ongoing and constantly expanding research and documentation project, first conceived and planned in general terms while the project leader was head of the Centre for South African Theatre Research (CESAT) at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) (1979-1987). However it was only formally initiated in 1994 as A Companion to South African Theatre and Performance (COMSAT), when he founded the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Stellenbosch.

Besides benefitting from the institutional support of the various institutions where the project leader has been employed - The Human Sciences Research Council and the University of Stellenbosch - the project has also been supported financially over the years by means of a number of larger grants from a number of sources, among which the Centre for Science Development (CSD) of the Human Sciences Research Council, the National Research Foundation (NRF), and the Research Fund at the University of Stellenbosch. A particular word of thanks goes to the National Research Foundation of South Africa for two 5 year grants to the Project Leader for the finalization of the project (2008-2012, 2013-2017), under its Incentive Funding Programme for rated researchers.

The project leader and his team would like to thank all these institutions for their wonderful support. In addition they would also like to thank the various Deans of Arts and Directors of Research and their staff, the Research Committee of the University of Stellenbosch and the Advisory Committee of the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies for their belief in the project.

In this regard, PLEASE NOTE:

The results and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the individual authors and in no way reflect the opinions of the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies, the National Research Foundation or the University of Stellenbosch.


Besides the funding and support of institutions, the COMSAT/ESAT research project - like any encyclopaedic project - has always been dependent on the help and support of a great number of individuals. The prime source of material has thus always been the largely voluntary contributing authors who supplied us with information and entries. Quite rightly the names of those who wrote entries for us are listed as part of the research team and I would like to acknowledge that support here and thank each and every one of them heartily for it. (See the list of "Contributing Authors" above). The people not always acknowledged so formally are the many hundreds of people who have contributed comments, corrections, and small but important bits of data over the years. We gratefully acknowledge their immense contribution here.

Some personal notes by Temple Hauptfleisch (Founding Editor - 2010-)

The database is in fact the result of a long cherished dream of mine, sparked by my years as head of the national documentation centre on the performing arts at the Human Sciences Research Council (CESAT, 1979-1987) and finally initiated in 1994 as a project of the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Stellenbosch. Over the years I have been supported by many advisors and contributors, who helped us gather and process this huge amount of divergent information. Without all of you it would not have been possible.

At a more personal level, I would like to thank a few specific individuals for their unstinting help with the vast administrative and documentary tasks we had to undertake over the past two decades, but particularly during the past twelve years.

First I must mention my post graduate supervisors and mentors (e.g. Robert Wahl, Leon Hugo , Ian Ferguson, John L. Styan) and the many colleagues at the Centre for South African Theatre Research (CESAT), who first got me interested in South African theatre history and the notion of an encyclopaedia - notable among them P.P.B. Breytenbach (generally known as "Oom Breytie"), Rinie Stead, Joey Fourie, Astrid Schwenke, Paddy Terry, Eunice Reynecke, and many other colleagues at the HSRC in the 1980s, including P.G. du Plessis, Charles Malan, John Kannemeyer and Jacques Malan. In many ways they planted the early seeds for the project.

Other important influences came from a number of remarkable friends and colleagues at other institutions over the years, including Stephen Gray, Peet du Toit, Miki Flockemann, Albert Wertheim, Don Rubin, Wilmar Sauter, Kole Omotoso and Ian Steadman. The latter became a long-term collaborator who not only was instrumental in introducing the country (and myself) to the fascinating world of black theatre, township performance and alternative theatre, but with whom I would publish a book on South African theatre (1984), and eventually launch the South African Theatre Journal in 1987.

Then there is my valued girl friday and colleague of almost seven years, Yvette Hutchison – a miracle of enthusiasm, competence and energy. Without her there would hardly have been a Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies and certainly no Companion or Encyclopaedia, and her support is still strongly felt in what we do.

Third, at a more formal level there have been our sub-editors and academic consciences, Edwin Hees and the late Arnold Blumer. Their support inspired and guided a great deal of the work done, not only on the COMSAT/ESAT project , but in the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies, on the South African Theatre Journal and in the Department of Drama. We value them immensely and Arnold's tragic passing in 2004 was an immense loss to theatre scholarship in the country. (Indeed as have been the passing of a number of our other contributors over the years, including Louw Odendaal, Jill Fletcher, Julius Eichbaum, Anton Welman, Miriam Terblanche and others.)

In addition there have been my hard-working research assistants over the past 20 years, namely Abduragman Adams, Hannah Borthwick, Petrus du Preez, Felicity Grove, Adam Haupt, Anja Huismans, Miemie Neethling, Rebecca Smart, and Adri van der Colff, who did so much of the fetching, carrying and cataloguing of material required by this kind of project. Combined with Yvette Hutchison’s restless drive and academic acuity, Gaerin Hauptfleisch's organisational skills and voracious reading on theatre matters, and former librarian Miriam Terblanche's invaluable experience and commitment, our internal library has become an integral and essential tool for research and creative work in the Department and the Centre, as well as for this project. They all deserve a huge hand.

In this regard, I want to mention that Miriam's passing in 2023 has been an enormous blow, not only to all of us personally, for she was a remarkable friend and colleague, but to the project and to South African theatre and media studies in general.

Furthermore I would like to thank all my students at the University of Stellenbosch, who directly and indirectly, contributed so wonderfully to the material for this book over the many years through the research projects they undertook as part of my South African Theatre courses in the Drama Department. Their work directly and indirectly contributed substantially to the data contained in material that went into this encyclopaedia over the years. I can only thank them from the bottom of my heart for their enthusiasm and dedication.

And so, finally, I come to another extraordinary person: my wife Karina Hauptfleisch, who not only lent us her formidable skills as librarian, her natural inquisitiveness and her uncanny researcher’s instincts for no pay and very little recognition over the past twenty-five years of creation, but in so many ways she kept me sane with her robust yet mothering sympathy and advice in times of trouble and doubt.

Temple Hauptfleisch Stellenbosch 23 July, 2023

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