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Amateur is a term which occurs in various combinations in English, Dutch and Afrikaans, e.g Amateur Performer, Amateur Theatre, Amateur toneel, etc and can be used of a person, a venue, a company, a society and so on.

The term Amateur

From the French term amateur (derived from the verb aimer = to love, hence someone who loves something). Thus, used as a noun, an amateur is someone who undertakes something for the love of it, not for financial gain. This as opposed to a professional. As an adjective it can refer to a person, or an activity done without the aim of financial gain (amateur painter, amateur sport, amateur theatre, etc)

Sometimes amateurs will participate in professional productions for payment, and may then be referred to as semi-professional.

Amateurism can be seen in both a negative and positive light. Amateurs have in many ways over the ages contributed to many fields form the sciences to thte arts. On the other hand it can be an indication of below standard achievement by people untrtained in a field. Thus it is at times seen as a pejorative term in some quarters(e.g. Someone is described as "merely an amateur", i.e. is untrained, does not undertake the acticvity "seriously" or at a "professional level", etc)

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Amateur Theatre

Known as Liefhebberyteater, Liefhebbery teater, Amateurteater or Amateur teater in Afrikaans.

As an activity

Since the word amateur refers to someone who undertakes something (or to something undertaken) for the love of it, not for financial gain, Amateur theatre simply means theatre made by people who are not professionals, but merely for the love of it. (Or it may refer to productions or the organisations presenting them which are done "not for gain".) )This encompasses a very wide range of performance activities of course, over the ages, cultures and geographical regions.

In many countries, also in South Africa, so-called community theatre is often also an amateur or at least Semi-professional activity.

The Dutch term for this is Liefhebbery Tooneel and the early Afrikaans terms were Liefhebbery Toneel, Liefhebbery Teater or Liefhebberyteater and Amateur Toneel or Amateurtoneel, though today the Anglicised Amateur Teater or Amateurteater is most common.

As a venue

On occasion the term "Amateur Theatre" is used (formally and informally) as the name for a performance space or venue. For examples in South Africa see The Amateur Theatre, Garrison Theatre, Barracks Theatre, Hope Street Theatre, Liefhebbery Tooneel,

As the name for a company

The term amateur occurs in the names of many theatre associations, societies and companies, combined with the terms "Drama" or "Dramatic", "Theatre" or "Theatrical".

For a general overview of a large number of South African amateur companies, see the entry under Amateur Theatre in South Africa

For the names of specific or individual amateur companies, associations and societies, use the ESAT "Search" function by going to the appropriate block at the top right of this page (or type: Alt+F) and type in the search word/phrase you are looking for. You can also see the entries for the various entities in the section listed as South African Theatre Venues, Companies, Societies, etc.

For more information

See also Amateur Theatre in South Africa

See also Community theatre

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