Pieter Jacobus Hendrik Scholtz

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SCHOLTZ, Pieter Jacobus Hendrik ( known as Pieter Scholtz) (7/2/1937- ). Playwright, director, actor and professor of drama.


Born in Pietermaritzburg,

Was married to movement specialist Gillian ***.


He graduated with a bachelor of arts degree cum laude from the University of Natal Durban in 1959.


He taught at the Department of Speech and Drama at the University of Natal in from 1967 to 1995, and succeeded Elizabeth Sneddon as Professor and Head of the Department in 1973 till 1995. In 1997 he converted a century-old Methodist Church building in Greyville into and from ran it as the Kwasuka Theatre till his retirement.

Director of the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre and of the Shoestring Company for Alternative Theatre which promotes theatre for young audiences. He is also artistic director of the Durban Theatre Workshop Company as well as serving on many committees and associations concerned with promoting theatre In education and on a professional level.

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

Author of 19 plays, 16 for young audiences, performed throughout South Africa, United Kingdom and Australia. He is best known as dramatist for his children’s plays therefore. He wrote and directed his first indigenous full-length play for children in 1970. Thurkaari: Demon of the Curry Powders was performed on an open stage with direct participation between audience and actor. This became a central feature in all his plays and productions. Most of the plays revolve around a series of main characters who are joined by different minor characters in each adventure. The theme is always a battle between good and evil forces, set in a stylized multi-purpose circus setting and the characters are loosely based on Commedia dell’ arte prototypes, but are essentially modern in conception. Also utilised Zulu folklore at times (e.g. in the 1991 play Tokoloshe) and in 2005 published a book of short stories, Tales of the Tokoloshe (Struik).

Director of some 150 productions, including Welcome Msomi’s Umabatha (1970), the opening production of World Theatre Season, London, 1972. Also directed the first production of Douglas Livingstone’s The Sea my Winding Sheet for the Theatre Workshop Company of the University of Natal in 1971.

As actor played the lead in Hamlet, NAPAC's first Shakespearean production, 1964, toured with The World of Sholom Aleichem (which he adapted and performed) in 197*.

He directed The Market Theatre’s production of Black Nativity starring nineteen black artists for their Christmas production in 1979.

Awards, etc

Awards : 6 Durban Critics' Circle Awards; Amstel Playwright of the Year Competition, 1979 and 1980, for The Amazing Adventures of Tambootie the Puppet and Mister Big Strikes Again.

He was awarded the prestigious Edinburgh Crystal Award for his significant contribution to the creative and artistic life of the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in 1995.


See Gosher, 1988; Greyvenstein, 19* [McM, JH]

Sunday Tribune, 5 November 1995.

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