Balthazar Verhagen

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Balthazar Verhagen (1881-1950) was a Dutch born actor, theorist, poet, playwright and drama teacher.


Born Balthazar Huibrecht Verhagen in Amsterdam, he initially worked for the Ministry of Agriculture till 1915, when he became the Director of the Toneelschool in Amsterdam, a post he held till 1939. He was also a private lecturer in playwriting at the University of Amsterdam for a while (1924-1929).

As an actor he is known for his role in the film Levensschaduwen (1916).

Besides a number of poems, including the "dramatic poem" Orpheus (1917), he wrote a play Marsyas, of De Betooverde Bron and translated others from classical sources (e.g. De Bacchanten by Euripides, 1920).

He also wrote and published three standard Dutch works on the theory and practice of playwriting, De Tragische Maskers van Hellas (1923), De kunst van den dramaturg (1924) and Dramaturgie (1927/1963).

He married Geertruida Margaretha Antonia Grolleman on 16 June 1916 in Den Haag, and they were divorced on 1 May 1929 in Amsterdam. He then married Josephina Cornelia Maria Wallebroek (Dora Wallant) on 5 June 1929 also in Amsterdam.

In 1939 he left Amsterdam for South Africa, settling in Pretoria, where he died in 1950.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

In South Africa he settled in Pretoria and became involved with theatre there. He even built a small theatre near the Pretoria University campus to house his drama school(?).

Besides a number of commentaries and articles for local journals on theatre matters (see ESAT Bibliography), he wrote an Afrikaans book entitled Faust in die geskiedenis, legende, drama en musiek ("Faust in history, legend, drama and music"), published in Bloemfontein by Nasionale Pers, 1949.


K. ter Laan, Letterkundig woordenboek voor Noord en Zuid. G.B. van Goor Zonen's Uitgeversmaatschappij, Den Haag / Djakarta 1952 (tweede druk)[1]

Balthazar Verhagen. 1963. Dramaturgie. Second edition. Amsterdam: Moussault's Uitgeverij NV

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