Krugersdorp Municipal Dramatic and Operatic Society

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Name, from 27 July 1931, of the Krugersdorp Dramatic and Operatic Club, after this society became the first in South Africa to be officially recognised by a municipality. This recognition entailed no immediate financial support, but the municipality did undertake to provide rehearsal space, as well as the use of the City Hall for four productions per year.

Playwriting competition

Already in 1931, a playwrighting competition was launched, the prizes for which was awarded in 1932, to Stella Blakemore (for Blind Birds) in the English category, and jointly to P.W.S. Schumann (for Hantie Kom Huistoe) and Sannie Metelerkamp (for In die Dae van Jan van Riebeeck) in the Afrikaans category. In 1933 the competition was named the Buster Harrison Play Writing Competition in honour of the society’s founder. At the end of 1933, P.P.B. Breytenbach was elected chairman. Breytenbach was an outspoken supporter of General Hertzog and believed that theatre could be a powerful tool for the unification of Afrikaans- and English-speakers. As a result, from 1934 onwards, the Krugersdorp Municipal Dramatic and Operatic Society (KMDOS) annually presented two programmes each in English and Afrikaans, though Ludwig Binge (1969) does point out that the Afrikaans productions were often one-act plays rather than full-length works, as in the case of English plays. Similarly, both the English and Afrikaans communities were incorporated into the 1938 centennial of the Great Trek by the staging of a special playwrighting competition in both languages, themed around the festival. The winners were Uys Krige (for Magdalena Retief) and Winifred Dashwood (for Sword of the Wilderness) and both plays were performed in December 1938.

Professional directors

During the years of the Second World War, the Krugersdorp Municipal Dramatic and Operatic Society (KMDOS) was in the privileged position of being able to make use of various professional actors as directors, including Lydia Lindeque, Hermien Dommisse, Anna Neethling-Pohl, Siegfried Mynhardt and Leontine Sagan.


Among the many plays they did over the years were Mystery (1929), Borrowed Plumes (1929), Trial by Jury (Gilbert and Sullivan , 1929), Koppigheid (Viljoen, 1930) The Apple Cart (Shaw, 1930), Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan (1930), Elkeen sy eie (Schumann, 1931), Die Stoplap (Walter Spiethoff, 1932), In die Dae van Jan van Riebeeck (Metelerkamp, 1932), Die Swart Verraad (Marais, 1933), To Have the Honour (A.A. Milne, 1934), The Whole Town's Talking (1934), Slagoffers (J.C.B. van Niekerk, 1934), Kromhoutsap (P.W.S. Schumann, 1934), Rosmersholm (Ibsen, tr De Villiers, 1934), Erasmus se Erfgename (Zola, tr Preller, 1935), En Hadde de Liefde Niet (Eitemal, 1935), Kromhoutsap (Schumann, 1937), Miss Hook of Holland (1937), Die Koerantskrywers (Freytag, tr Preller, 1937), Paardekraal-Krugersdorp (Schumann, Van Dyk and Vogel, 1937), Die Ewige Straf (Schumann, 1938), Slagoffers (Van Niekerk, 1938), Versoening (Vogel, 1938), Die Ouderling (Fagan, 1938), Die Spook van Verlatenfontein (Boonzaier, 1938), Gebroke Drade (Van Bruggen, 1938), Hou Jou by Jou Lees (Schumann, 1938), Dr Wespe (tr Conradie, 1938), Die Ongeluksvoël (1938), Die Wit Muur (Uys Krige, 1941), Die Arrestasie (Uys Krige, 1941), Oorlog is Oorlog (Grosskopf, 1941), Dagbreek (Wynand du Preez, 1941), Maria Stuart (Schiller, 1941), Die Vooraand (Kleinjan van Bruggen, 1941), The Constant Wife (Somerset Maugham, 1942), Twee Lewenskringe (Simons-Mees, 1943), Die Ring (Helène de Klerk, 1945), The Bear (Chekhov, 1945), Nag het die Wind Gebring (W.A. de Klerk, 1945), Piet se Tante (***, 1946), Tony Draws a Horse (1946), Busman's Holiday (1946), Ek Onthou vir Mamma (Van Druten, 1947), The Long Mirror (1947), Kleurskema (Anton de Waal, 1948), None but the Bold (Corbett, 1948).

Influence on the industry

Theatre personalities

Among the prominent members of the profession who had started with KMDOS are P.P.B. Breytenbach, Gert van den Bergh, Jan Cronje?*, Danie Smuts and P.J. Du Toit. )

The Federation of Amateur Theatrical Societies of South Africa

Perhaps the most lasting influence was the founding of the Federation of Amateur Theatrical Societies of South Africa (FATSSA) by P.P.B. Breytenbach in 1934 (of which he also became president) and flowing from that, the founding of the National Theatre Organisation in 1947 (of which he became the Director).

The inclusion of musical work and a new name

Up to 1947 the society had not really fulfilled its supposed function as musical society, and to address this, the West-Rand Symphony Orchestra was incorporated in 1948. The name of the society was duly changed to the The Krugersdorp Municipal Theatrical and Orchestral Society (KMTOS).

The end

In 1952 P.P.B. Breytenbach left for Pretoria to become full time director of NTO, and the KMTOS split up along language lines, to form two societies - the Krugersdorpse Afrikaanse Toneel Organisasie (KATO, founded 1954) and the Krugersdorp Amateur Dramatic Society (KADS, founded 1956).


Binge, 1969; Du Toit, 1988; Hauptfleisch, 1985 [JH, TH]

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