Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst

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Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst ("the arts flourish through zeal" - also written in the original Dutch as Door Ijver Bloeit de Kunst) was a popular Dutch saying, used by a number of cultural organizations and theatrical companies as their motto.

History of the theatrical companies

In Cape Town the motto was primarily used by a linked series of amateur theatre companies, often referred to generically as Het Privaat Hollandsch Toneellievend Gezelschap ("The private Dutch amateur company") or variations thereof (as happened with other Dutch companies as well). Also on occasion known as Het Hollandsch nieuw Tooneel Gezelschap, or simply by its acronym of D.Y.b.d.K.).

The history falls into four distinct periods.

Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst 1833

The motto was first used as a name for a company in Cape Town by a Dutch amateur theatre company referred to a Het Hollandsch nieuw Tooneel Gezelschap ("The Dutch new Theatrical Company"), founded in 1833 , led by J.T. van der Chys as organiser, with P.A. Ley as Secretary. There is some suggestion that it was in fact the name under which members of Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense continued their activities in 1833 after personal circumstances had forced C.E. Boniface to temporarily retreat from active participation in theatre.

Their productions in 1833 included De Jeugd van Hendrik den Vyfde (Duval), De Helleveeg (Loosjes), Clavigo (Goethe), De Prins Schoorsteenveger en de Schoorsteenveger Prins (Beaunoir) and De Verwisseling (Von Guttenberg).

The company was however short-lived under this name, and apparently continuing to perform from 1834 under the name Vlyt en Kunst, also orgnised by Van der Chys, after C.E. Boniface had returned to once more take the lead.

Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst 1844-1846

In 1844 a company formally announced as Het Privaat Hollandsch Toneellievend Gezelschap, was formed from the amalgamation of Tot Nut en Vermaak and Door Yver Vruchtbaar, and began to perform under the combined motto of "Tot Nut en Vermaak en Door Yver Vruchtbaar", by which name they were to become known for a brief period.

Their first production Natuur en Pligt (Volmeranges) and De Dronkaard (Kotzebue) took place on 5 June 1844 in the Roeland Street Theatre. Unlike the English companies at the time the Dutch allowed actresses in their company. The company received good reviews throughout 1844/5. Other pieces in this period included Roland de Monglave, of De Zegepraal der Onschuld (Tréogate) and Het Misverstand, of Elk is een Dief in zyne Nering ("K",),

Finally on 2 November 1846 it was announced that the company would stage its last production, reason being insufficient support from the Dutch community. They performed De Baron van Felsheim (Bernos) and Uilenspiegel (Kotzebue) on this occasion.

Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst 1849-1855

The name re-emerged as the name for another new company in 1848/9, now under the leadership of J. Langerman, J. Herholdt, P.J. Richter (secretary) and - according to later reports in 1911, disputed by Bosman (1928) - also the teenager J.C. Combrink. The company was probably founded by dissidents of Hoop en Trouw and now included actresses in its productions.

The company quickly became the premier Dutch company during the second half of the 19th Century.

Performances in the period included Roland de Monglave, of De Zegepraal der Onschuld (Tréogate), Het Misverstand, of Elk is een Dief in zyne Nering ("K",), De Deserteur (Von Kotzebue), De Kluizenaar op het Eiland Formentera (Von Kotzebue), De Minnaar op den Proef, of Het Zonderlinge Tweegevecht (De Boer), Het Bankroet van den Schoenlapper (Martainville, tr De Quack), De Uniform Rok van Wellington (Von Kotzebue),Storb en Werner, of De Gevolgen van een Tweegevecht (Bonel and Boirie), De Lotery Prys, of No. 2,5,3,8, (Hoare), Rozella en Guido, of Het Regt der Natuur (Westerman)

In June 1855 it closed down for ten years, because no suitable venue was available. According to Ludwig Binge (1969) the final presentation of this phase was on 28 June 1855.

Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst 1865-1910

In August 1865 the company was once more resuscitated by J.C. Combrink and entered a very busy and influential period, performing at a variety of venues in Cape Town, Paarl, Stellenbosch, even on Robben Island. They often performed for charity and offered benefits for captains and officers of visiting ships.

Its final production was a rather dated performance of Het Geheim (Fournier and Arnould, translated by A. de Bruine) on 2 and 4 June at the Good Hope Theatre in 1910.

Some performances in the period

(Only plays performed for the first time by Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst in the particular year are given - further productions or repeats of the specific play will be listed in the entry on the play. For a full list of all performances, see F.C.L. Bosman, 1980: pp. 443-452.)

In 1865: Adelaide van Beyeren (Loasel-Tréogate), De Dronkaard, of De Boer Edelman (Anon), De Kluizenaar op Formentera (Von Kotzebue), De Uniformrok van den Veldmaarschalk Wellington (Von Kotzebue).

In 1866: Rozella en Guido, of Het Recht der Natuur (Westerman), Het Zal Laat Worden (Meijer),

In 1867:

In 1868: De Helleveeg (Loosjes), Artaxerxes, of De Vader Rechter over zijn Zoon (Anon),

In 1869:

In 1870:


Ludwig Binge, 1969. Ontwikkeling van die Afrikaanse toneel (1832-1950). Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1].

F.C.L. Bosman, 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 440-452.

P.J. du Toit, 1988. Amateurtoneel in Suid-Afrika. Pretoria: Academica.

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg.

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