Ceres Amateur Toneelvereniging

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(CAT = “Ceres Amateur Theatrical Society”) A rural community theatre group, started by its initial twelve members in the Rietvallei Library in March 1974. The initial membership were all teachers and consisted of Louis Pietersen (chairman), Absolom de Vlam (deputy chairman), Susan de Vlam (secretary), Magda Jordaan, Ragmat Lintnaar, Marcelle Hercules, Velma Geldenhuys, Lilian Amsterdam, Piet Minnaar, James Boer, Doughlas Cleophas and Sarel Wagner. A year later Marie Deerling, Jacquiline Cloete, Aubrey Lintnaar, Jacob Mepomie, Nicolaas Wagenstroom, Nico Minnaar and Willem Visagie joined the group.

The main purpose for founding the group was to alleviate deteriorating social conditions following the earthquake which took place on 31st September 1969, though they also focused on instigating cultural activities in general and supporting churches and their affiliated organizations, schools and sports clubs with their fundraising events. They tended to do classic standard (white) comedies in Afrikaans, including Sybrand die Watermaker (“Sybrand the water maker”) by Eugène Terre'Blanche (1974), Die Rooi Duiwel se As by Dirk G. Richard, Ai tog, die vroumense by Joan Retief, As die Nefie kom Kuier! by Gerhard Beukes, Die Braaiboud by Gerhard Beukes, Die Nôientjie het Planne by Gerhard Beukes, Die Ring by H. Pienaar and W.A. de Klerk, * Also Afrikaans translations of English plays, e.g. Die Rooi Ferweeljas {The Red Velvet Goat) by Josephina Niggli (1976) and Sean O'Casey’s A Pound on Demand as Twee Rand Trek (19*). They won the prize for best production in 1978 at Department of Education and Culture Drama Festival in the House of Representatives's.

A member of CAT, Magda Jordaan, went on to star in a South African film, Johnie (198?). Between 1974 and 1985, many of the members decided to focus on their tertiary education, which inevitably led to the disintegration of CAT, and with the departure of the De Vlam couple to Worcester, the group’s activities lost momentum and the group eventually ceased virtually all its activities in late 1979, though a few remaining members still carried on. By 1988 the society had effectively stopped operating.

Sources

January 1997. p. 43.

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