Bacchus in die Boland

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Bacchus in die Boland ("Bacchus in the Boland") is a play by Bartho Smit (1924–1986).

Original text

The play was commissioned by the Oude Libertas Foundation as part of the Cape Festival of 1975.

A political satire, the play is an extensively localized adaptation of the Euripides's The Bacchae, set in the Cape winelands (the "Boland") during the Apartheid years. In the play the autocratic (white) wine farmer and his (coloured) foreman switch roles under the influence of Bacchus (or Dionysos[]), the Greek god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy and theatre, who arrives on the farm to become a character in the play.

Its first production was to have opened in the Nico Malan Theatre on 11 April 1975, but was cancelled by CAPAB two days before opening and replaced by Faan se Trein (Fourie).

The text was published by Perskor in 1974.

Performance history in South Africa

1975: A first production by CAPAB scheduled in the Nico Malan Theatre for 11 April 1975, but cancelled two days before opening and replaced by Faan se Trein (Fourie).

1976: The first production of the play - a so-called all "coloured" version of it - was done in their Pretoria theatre by the Eersterus Performing Arts Council (EPAC) in 1976, directed by Hannes Horne. (Erika Terblanche gives the date as July 1977 in her biography of Bartho Smit in LitNet.)

1978: The EPAC production was revived and presented by Die Geselskap (The Company) in the main theatre of the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, from March to April. Once again directed by Hannes Horne, the large cast (basically the cast of original production in Pretoria) consisted of Patrick Appel, Colleen Demas, Roderick Demas, Ulrich du Pont, Dorothy Feldman, Tunisia Fortuin, Stanley Geldenhuis, Paul Jacobs, Rodney Jordaan, Elleraine Luciou, Graham Mason, Cleone Poole, Leonard Tellie, Anthony Wilson and James Winckler. Melvin Schutte was the stage manager.


W.F. van Rooyen. 1984. "1974-1984" In: Chris Barnard. 1984. Bartho. By geleentheid van sy sestigste verjaardag Johannesburg: Perskor.

Pat Schwartz 1988. The Best of Company: The Story of Johannesburg's Market Theatre. Johannesburg: Ad Donker: p. 231.

Theatre programme (1978 production) held by NELM: [Collection: KORT, Maurice]: 2012. 379. 4. 3.

Erika Terblanche. 2018. "Bartho Smit (1924–1987)" LitNet-Skrywersalbum[1]

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