Dennis Schauffer

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Dennis Leslie Schauffer (1943-) is a South African actor, theatre technician, director, arts activist, teacher, theatre researcher, and academic.


Born Dennis Leslie Schauffer on 12th March, 1943.


BA Hons. Post-graduate in Speech and Drama, University of Natal, (Durban)1965; MA Drama and Theatre Arts, Bretton Hall, Leeds University,(United Kingdom)1971; PhD Speech and Drama, University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg), 1978; University of Cambridge Accreditation for teaching IGCSE Drama. 2003; TEFL Certificate. London. 2010; TITC Business English Certificate. London. 2010.


He has had a number of careers over the years, largely focused on arts and culture matters. Besides his great influence on the performing arts specifically (see below), these also include stints as Director of Arts, City of Durban, (04/01/82 to 30/01/84); Director of Arts, Durban Arts Association, (01/02/84 to 31/ 12 /86); H.O.D. Drama and Dean of Arts, at the International School, Mafikeng. (Jan 2004 – Dec. 2006), then Associate Professor, Visual Arts and Design, Vaal University of Technology.(Jan. 2006 to 32/12/10). Research Facilitator and Editor for the School of Business and Leadership, University KwaZulu Natal(2011-2013).

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

As performer

As an actor, Dennis Schauffer has taken part in productions, mostly in Natal, including: The Matchmaker; Pullman Car Hiawatha; Alle Paaie lei na Rome; A Man for all Seasons; Six Characters in Search of an Author; The Importance of Being Earnest; Peer Gynt; Our Town; Birdbath; The Good Person of Szechwan; The Caucasian Chalk Circle; The Crucible; Murder in the Cathedral; The Collection; Ondine; Horowitz and Mrs Washington; Puckoon; Fiddler on the Roof; Annie; When the Fish Eagle Cries; Educating Rita; The Merchant of Venice; Macbeth; Twelfth Night; King Lear; Coriolanus; A Midsummer Night's Dream; Henry V; The Birds; The Frogs; Lysistrata; Agamemnon; The Rivals; Iphigenia in Tauris; Volpone; Servant of Two Masters; Othello; The Trojan Women;

As director

Mostly in Natal, Dennis Schauffer has directed productions including: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; Rose; The Soldier's Tale; The Frame Breakers; The Skin of our Teeth; Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung you in the Closet and I’m feeling so Sad; After Magritte; The Wax Museum; The Fury of Philip Hotz; Ah! But your Land is Beautiful; Primary English Class; I Spy; Mrs Faust Remembers; Nkululeko; Merry Xmas Mr. Pillay; Ooloo; The Proxy; The Maids; Genet on a Mad Moon Night; Miss India S.A. Pageant 1994 & 1995; The South African Collector; Have You Seen Zandile?; We Shall Sing for the Fatherland; The King and I; The Parliament of Women; The Knight of the Burning Pestle; The Country Wife; Macbeth; Antigone (by Jean Anouilh); The Trojan Women;

The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew, Midmar Dam / Fort Napier Psychiatric wards/ University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, Great Hall.

As designer

Alice in Wonderland Howard College Theatre

As playwright

As teacher

Became a full-time Lecturer in the department of Speech and Drama, University of Natal, Durban. (01/01/66 to 31/12/68), then moved to the department of Speech and Drama, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg(as lecturer 01/01/69 to 31/12 74, senior lecturer 01/01/75 to 01/07/79). In 1979 he was appointed Senior Lecturer, Drama and Theatre Studies at Bretton Hall, University of Leeds, United Kingdom (01/08/79 to 03/05/81).

After a few years as an arts administrator, he became a Professor of Drama at the University of Durban-Westville, (01/01/87 to 31/05/99). In 1999 the Department closed and staff were retrenched.

Appointed Professor Emeritus at University of Durban-Westville in March 2002 (later the University KwaZulu Natal.

Became H.O.D. Drama and Dean of Arts, at the International School, Mafikeng. (Jan 2004 – Dec. 2006), then Associate Professor, Visual Arts and Design, Vaal University of Technology.(Jan. 2006 to 32/12/10).

As Arts administrator

He returned to South Africa at the end of 1981, to become the Director of Arts, City of Durban, (04/01/82 to 30/01/84), and subsequently Director of Arts, Durban Arts Association, (01/02/84 to 31/ 12 /86).

As researcher

His doctoral thesis (The Establishment of a Theatrical Tradition in Pietermaritzburg, Prior to the Opening of the First Civilian Playhouse, University of Natal, 1978) is an important contribution to theatre historical studies in the country.

Founder-director of Asoka Theatre Research from 01/06/99 to date, which included various other directorial positions, such that of Asoka Research Pty.(Ltd.), Asoka Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Asoka English Language Editing, and so on. It also led to many research publications by Schauffer and colleagues. (See ESAT Bibliography)

Other research [portfolios include Research Associate in the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA), Rhodes University (01/07/04 - 30 June 2007)

He was a founder member of SAADYT and the South African Society for Theatre Research (SASTR), and is an Editorial Consultant for the South African Theatre Journal (a founding member 1987-); a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of SJI (Scientific Journals International); Member of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Specialist Committee for Performing and Creative Arts and Design (15/03/11 – 28/02/14).

Awards, etc

Maurice Edmund Kimbereley Award for Fine Art (03/02/61), Alastair Graham Calder Memorial Scholarship (Drama) (1964).

Acting awards include Natal Oscar Award, (1965-66); Durban Municipal Award(1968); Vita Award (1991).

Cultural awards include Nux Cultural Award. (1972-73).

Received numerous study research and travel grants over the years, including the De Beers Chairman's Fund grant three times.

Between 2007 and 2008 he also won four awards from Vaal University of Technology (for both for teaching excellence and research excellence).


CV of Dennis Schauffer (23/02/2014).

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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