Michal Grobbelaar

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Michal Grobbelaar (19**-2002). Influential theatre administrator, publicity man, director, actor, theatre technician, theatre manager.


In 1992 he retired to Onrus/Betty's Bay, where he died in August 2002.



He has been involved with Afrikaans theatre since 1939.

He was one of the forces behind the Volksteater Pretoria and appeared in several of their productions. Michal joined the National Theatre Organisation in 1949 as their publicity officer and in 1950 he joined their bilingual company. Initially a technician and the organisation's publicity officer, he later became Technical Manager and Production Manager.

He became the first director of the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, which he had helped to design, serving from its opening in 1962 until his retirement in 1992.

He was chairman of the SAATM from 1970 to 1982 when Des Lindberg took over. He was the chairman of a group called A Teater which took over the lease of the Intimate Theatre in 1983. Their first production was Patrick Mynhardt’s The Boy from Bethulie.

Michal was a co-founder and first President of the South African Institute of Theatre Technology (SAITT) (1969-19**) and a member of the South African Association of Theatre Managements.

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

He played "Marcellus" in an Afrikaans production of Hamlet in 1947.

He was the driving force and works manager behind the conversion of the old Harmony Hall into the National Theatre (later the Breytenbach Theatre) in Pretoria, doing much of the work himself with the help of the technical staff

He joined the NTO bilingual company in 1950 for Candida and Oupa Brompie (in the latter he played two roles). He also appeared in the NTO productions of Die Vrek, The Dam (by Butler, 1952), Die Jaar van die Vuuros (1952), Die Iepekonders (1953).

He also directed a number of plays for the National Theatre Organisation, i.a. Die Vonkel in haar oë! - 'n Spel van my kontrei (Beukes, 1960),* .

He produced Nie vir Geleerdes (1960), he was production manager for Germanicus (NTO 1958) and The Fall (NTO 1960) and technical advisor for the NTO production of Periandros van Korinthe in 1956. He continued as actor on stage, film and TV, and roles included ****.

Film roles include Die Vlindervanger and Willem.

He was also in some TV series Nommer Asseblief, and Net 'n Bietjie Liefde.

He started the Michel Tesson Trust for puppetry and dance. He was also instrumental in the founding of a course in Theatre Studies at the Pretoria Technikon and Durban's Technicon]].

Awards, etc

Die Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns awarded him in 1993 with Medal of Honour for his life long contribution to theatre. Naledi Theatre Awards 2003 Lifetime achievement in theatre.


Rapport, 28 August 2008.

A funeral service programme for Michal Jacobus Grobbelaar on 30 August 2002 held by NELM: [Collection: FARMER, Anthony]: 2007. 18. 23. 61.

Tucker, 1997. 31, 170.

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