Esther van Ryswyk

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Esther van Ryswyk (19**-2001) Theatre performer, director, lecturer and educationist.




Trained at the University of Stellenbosch.


Became an actress for [[NTO]. Became a most influential and beloved lecturer at the University of Cape Town Drama Department in 197*?, teaching Afrikaans speech and theatre, and educational theatre. She also lectured at the University of Stellenbosch. She has been a freelance director since 1982.

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

As an actress she has appeared in Our Town/Ons Dorp (1959), Agt Vroue, Maria Stuart (1965), Die Les.

As a professional director over the years she did i.a. Voorlopige Vonnis, Arsenic and Old Lace, God’s Forgotten (Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1975), Skote! (Pieter-Dirk Uys, with Jan van Riebeeck H/S students, 1976), Om die Stilte te Verbreek (CAPAB 1985, Episodes of an Easter Rising with the Handspring Puppet Company in South Africa and at the World Festival of Puppet Theatres in Charville, France in 1985, The Horse Thief (CAPAB 1986, Christine (CAPAB 1987), Indaba (Baxter Theatre 1987), A Midsummer Night's Dream (a ground-breaking production in collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company and utilizing outsize puppets, at the Oude Libertas Theatre, Stellenbosch, 1988).

Her production of Hallo en Koebaai originated at the Baxter Theatre before moving to Upstairs at the Market in 1987.

She was a leading figure in a movement to introduce the principles of drama-in-education and theatre-in-education into South Africa. In 198* she instigated the idea of a national association and became the founder and long-time president of the South African Association for Drama and Youth Theatre (SAADYT).

Her publication Chirldren's Theatre in South Africa, has been included in the American publication A Guide to Children's Theatre in the World by Lowell Swortzell.

Awards, etc

She won a Vita Award (Cape region) 1992 for her lifelong commitment to training theatre practitioners and the advancement of theatre for young people in South Africa [judges' citation].

From the Cape Tercentenary Foundation she was awarded the Molteno Medal for lifetime services to theatre.


A Midsummer Night's Dream programme notes, 1988.

NELM catalogue entries.

Go to ESAT Bibliography

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