Door Yver Vruchtbaar

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During the first half of the 19th century we find three (possibly linked) companies using this motto in the Cape region.

Door Yver Vruchtbaar: Cape Town 1826-1827

This Dutch amateur company was founded by J.G. Tredoux, after breaking away from Tot Nut en Vermaak with some of its members. It only lasted for two years in this guise, the company performing in the African Theatre.

Their first performance was on September 9 1826, with Het Schandmerk, of De Twee Galeiboeven (Boire, Camouche & Poujol, translated by De Quack), Getrouw tot in den Dood (Westerman) and some dances. They followed this with productions of De Broeders (Von Kotzebue), Het Glas Water (Von Guttenberg) on 28 October, and a final final performance on 31 March 1827 of De Verzamelaar, of De Onverwachte Ontmoeting (Anon) and Pachter Veldkomyn van Tippelskerken, of Het door List verbroken Huwelyk (Von Kotzebue).

Hereafter no further mention is found of this particular Cape Town company.

Door Yver Vruchtbaar: Stellenbosch 1833 - 1838

An organisation using the same motto surfaced in Stellenbosch, 1833 - 1838, possibly initiated by someone from the former company, but this is merely a speculation. The group staged what F.C.L. Bosman (1928) calls "the first theatrical performance" in the town on 25 April, 1829. The play performed was De Verstrooying of August Von Kotzebue - a playwright the company apparently loved, and whose plays formed a staple diet for them in the early years.

In 1833 the group, now pertinently referred to as "Het Nieuw Stellenbossche Tooneel Gezelschap" ("The new Stelllenbosch Theatre Company") under the motto Door Yver Vruchtbaar, went on to stage similar productions and played an integral part in Stellenbosch's theatrical heyday under the patronage of D.J. van Ryneveld. They were later also referred to bilingually as Stellenbossche Liefhebbery Tooneel - Stellenbosch Amateur Theatre and at times as Het Hollandsche Tooneellievend en Vereenigd Muzyk Gezelschap, since the company combined with the music society to form the Het Tooneellievend en Vereenigd Muzyk Gezelschap for a while, to mount joint productions, inter alia in support of the wounded of the so-called "Kaffir War" on the eastern Cape border.

The productions that followed in De Stellenbosche Liefhebbery Tooneel (The Stellenbosch Amateur Theatre) during 1833 included Charlotte Blandford, of De Wedergevonden Vader (Engelman); De Dochter van Pharao (Von Kotzebue) De Kluizenaar op Formentera (Von Kotzebue), and De Listige Weduwe, of De Temperamenten (Von Kotzebue).

In 1834 they did De Onechte Zoon (Von Kotzebue), De Spraakelooze (Von Kotzebue); Menschenhaat en Berouw (Von Kotzebue); De Man naar de Klok (Von Hippel); De Twee Vrymetselaars (Volméranges); 't Zal laat Worden (Meijer);

For the year 1835 only one presentation is recorded, namely of the plays Elize van Wallenthorst (Anonymous) and De Brandschatting (Von Kotzebue) on 7 March.

The productions in 1836 were of De Ring (Schröder); De Wonder Doctor (Molière); Eleonora van Rosalba, of De Puinhopen van Paluzzi (Pujos and Dabaytua); 't Zal laat Worden (Meijer); De Graaf van Waltron, of De Subordinatie (Möller); De Helleveeg (Loosjes);

In 1837 they apparently only performed twice, doing an evening of Armoede en Grootheid (Von Kotzebue) and Ephraim, of De Bedrogene Jood (Anon.) on one occasion and Dertig Jaren, of Het Leven van een Dobbelaar (Ducange and Dinaux) and De Uniformrok van den Veldmaarschalk Wellington (Von Kotzebue) on another.

The company is last mentioned in 1838 with a production of Eleonora van Rosalba, of De Puinhopen van Paluzzi (Pujos and Dabaytua) and Uilenspiegel (Von Kotzebue).

Hereafter the Stellenbosch company was apparently been forced to cease its activities, probably by the same puritanical crusade which had led to the demise of the African Theatre in 1835.

Door Yver Vruchtbaar: Cape Town 1843-1844

On 7 July 1843 De Zuid Afrikaan announced a new Dutch company called Door Yver Vruchtbaar in Cape Town, founded by a group of "jongelieden" ("young people"). The article also announced their first production, which [presumably took place on 21 July. Based on their repertoire, F.C.L. Bosman (1928: p. 444) suggests that they may to some extent have been a continuation of an earlier company, Vlyt en Kunst. They briefly flourished in 1843, doing only five performances in that year.

Their first evening's entertainment consisted of Clemence en Waldemar (Volmeranges) and Het Losse Schot (), . The must have been popular for the plays were repeated on 4 August, with the addition of De Gevaarlyke Buurman (Von Kotzebue).

The rest of their repertoire included performances of Blanko, of De Onzigtbare Man (most probably a Dutch version of Bianco, ou L'homme Invisible by Plancher-Valcour); Vier Schildwachten op éénen Post (Vogel) and De Horoskooptrekker, of De Speculant in Effecten (Haanegraaff);

Their final presentation occurred on 21 November and included Robert Maxwell, of De Offerdood (Von Kotzebue) and De Wonderdocter, of Le Médecin Malgré Lui (Molière).

In 1844 the group apparently amalgamated with another Dutch company, Tot Nut en Vermaak, to perform under both mottos as Tot Nut en Vermaak en Door Yver Vruchtbaar. This would have been a more substantial entity and would remain the only Dutch company active in Cape Town until 1847.

[MN, JH, TH]


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

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

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