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An Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre and Performance (ESAT) is an open access, internet based interactive resource for theatre and performance researchers interested in the evolution and history of theatre and performance in South Africa. Deriving from the University of Stellenbosch's Libopedia, it uses the Wiki format and programmes and and is published on the web with the assistance of the Drama Department (and its former Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies), the J.S. Gericke Library and the division for Information Technology at the University of Stellenbosch (For more information on the University of Stellenbosch, the Drama Department and the various divisions click on the following link:


The aims of the ESAT encyclopaedia are to create a comprehensive database on the history and nature of South African drama, theatre and performance (including dance, oral performance and similar forms), and to make it available as a general reference work and resource for the use of researchers, students, artists, journalist and all other interested parties. This first version of the encyclopaedia was originally intended to be a published mini-encyclopaedia and reference work called A Companion to South African Theatre and Performance (COMSAT) and is derived from a database collated by Temple Hauptfleisch and the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies (CENTAPS) at Stellenbosch (with the help of a large number of associates and assistants) over the course of twenty years (1990-2010) (For more on this see the sections below on Acknowledgements and Background , origins and history ).

The intention is also to invite the academic and artistic community to help in expanding and improving on this material in order to make which would make the results of academic and other research more readily accessible to the general reader and the theatre enthusiast. (For more on this see Updating and adding to ENSAT.) In this sense the basic aim is rather to condense and collate available information on all South African theatre and performance forms (as far as they have been documented) in one place and in a handy and accessible digital format, rather than to undertake any comprehensive new research. Happily a great deal of little known and/or forgotten information has in fact come to the fore during the course of this project, and can be made available, though that was not the fundamental aim of this first version of ENSAT.

To find out more about ESAT, click on any of the following links. To go directly to the database and access the material, go to The ESAT Entries below.

About ESAT

  1. What is ESAT?
  2. Contributors
  3. Acknowledgements
  4. Background, origins and history
  5. Basic principles in editing and using ESAT
  6. A Warning to Readers of ESAT
  7. Updating ESAT
  8. Guide to using ESAT

Note to all readers

This is very much a work in progress and many articles/entries are incomplete or may contain errors. Also, there may be articles missing on issues, people and institutions you know about. Should you wish to comment, alter or add to the article or to the encyclopaedia, please go to Updating ESAT.

The ESAT Entries

The entries for ESAT have been grouped in 7 categories, managed and edited by one of the research editors. To access database material on the relevant category, and choose the item by clicking on the link.

  1. South African Theatre/Overview
  2. South African Theatre Terminology and Thematic Entries
  3. South African Theatre Personalities
  4. South African Theatre Venues, Companies, Societies, etc
  5. South African Theatre Plays
  6. A Chronology of South African Theatre and Performance
  7. A Bibliography of South African South African Theatre and Performance