Pieter-Dirk Uys (1945-) is a South African actor, director, dramatist, impersonator, comedian, political satirist and author.
Also found as Pieter Uys in early programmes.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
- 2.1 As a drama student
- 2.2 Space Theatre in the 1970s
- 2.3 As a Freelancer
- 2.4 Plays and Monologues written by Uys
- 2.5 Revues and Cabaret Shows written by Uys
- 2.6 Filmography
- 3 Books and Autobiographies
- 4 Awards and honours
- 5 Sources
- 6 Return to
He was born in Cape Town on 28 September 1945 and grew up there. He matriculated from Nassau High School in Mowbray, Cape Town after which he completed a BA degree at the University of Cape Town Drama Department. His university lecturers included Rosalie van der Gucht, Mavis Taylor and Robert Mohr. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he studied at the London Film School .
He began working as a freelance playwright, actor and stage director in Cape Town in the 1970s. His early plays, like Popcorn (1973), Selle Ou Storie (1974), Pity About People (1974), God's Forgotten (1975) and Karnaval (1975) all premiered at the Space Theatre in Cape Town. Over the years he continued writing, directing and often acting in his own material all over South Africa and abroad. While at film school in London he played a role in drag for the first time, as a milkmaid in an advertising film he produced as a student project and he later became particularly well-known in South Africa for the character Evita Bezuidenhout (also known as Tannie Evita), a white Afrikaner socialite and political activist, which he created and plays himself on stage, television and film. He later settled in Darling, in the Western Cape, where he converted the old, disused, railway station into a cabaret venue called Evita se Perron ("perron" is Afrikaans for "station platform") , where he stages productions and performs himself regularly.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
As a drama student
As a student at UCT Pieter-Dirk Uys (under the name Pieter Uys or Peter Uys) played a part in Little Malcolm and his Struggle against the Eunuchs by David Halliwell at the Little Theatre in 1967 with Peter Kruger and Wilson Dunster and directed by Mavis Taylor. While at the London Film School he wrote and produced Faces in the Wall.
Space Theatre in the 1970s
He returned to South Africa to join the Space Theatre as a very active actor, writer and stage director.
As playwright at The Space
While working fulltime at The Space he wrote Popcorn, Pity About People, Selle Ou Storie, Snow White and the Special Branch, God’s Forgotten, Just Hilda!, Karnaval and Kitsch, and did an adaptation of The Happy Prince.
As actor at The Space
As actor he appeared in People are Living There, Skyvers/Jollers, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, A Different Shade of Grey, Don't Walk About with Nothing On, I'll Ring for more Toast, Just Hilda!, Karnaval, The Maids, A Man Hanging, Muzeeka and Ooh! La-La.
As director at The Space
He also directed Pity About People, Popcorn, Selle Ou Storie, Snow White and the Special Branch, Superman, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, A Tribute to Noël Coward: Fumed Oak and Red Peppers, We Bombed in New Haven, Cop Out, Faces in the Wall, Fortune and Men's Eyes, God’s Forgotten, I'll Ring for more Toast, Just Hilda, Karnaval, Kitsch and Muzeeka.
As designer at The Space
As designer he worked on Pity About People, Selle Ou Storie, 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, We Bombed in New Haven, Cop Out, Faces in the Wall, Fortune and Men's Eyes, God’s Forgotten, Karnaval, Kitsch, Muzeeka and Ooh! La-La.
As a Freelancer
After his spell with The Space he became a freelancer in the performing arts in South Africa and abroad. Initially a performer and playwright, he continued to make his name with bilingual realist comedies and tragedies with a strong political message, set in Cape Town. He gradually started focusing on stand-up satires. These include the immensely popular and long running satire Die Van Aardes van Grootoor (lit “The Van Aardes [i.e. ‘those of the earth’] of Big Ear”) at the Baxter Theatre and Market Theatre – where he opened the Laager in 1978, Adapt or Dye (1981), Hell is for Whites Only (1982), Die Vleiroos (the first Afrikaans play commissioned for the Grahamstown Festival’s main festival, 1992), No Space on Long Street (a celebration of the Space Theatre, performed in the Baxter in 1997.
Towards the end of the 1970s he began doing impersonations of South African politicians and creating a number of popular characters, the most notable being Evita Bezuidenhout, whose persona became so strong that she finally became Uys’s public alter ego. Evita has had a string of productions of her own, including a TV chat show for a while. (See also: Evita Bezuidenhout).
Over the years Pieter-Dirk Uys has performed a large number of one-man shows, including Farce About Uys, Hell is for Whites Only, Adapt or Dye, One Man, One Volt, Tannie Evita Praat Kaktus, An Audience With Pieter-Dirk Eish! and others.
In August 1978 he opened The Laager, a small theatre space in the Market Theatre, in the venue formally known as the Market Café. The opening production was his Die Van Aardes van Grootoor, directed by Dawie Malan and starring Uys, Magda Beukes, Johan Botha, Lida Botha, Antoinette Kellermann, Nomsa Nene and Rina Nienaber.
In 1995 he moved to the town of Darling , 75 km from Cape Town, where he bought the old station and built Evita se Perron (“Evita’s Station Platform”), a small theatre and restaurant complex where he performs regularly, often as Evita Bezuidenhout. Over the years Uys has toured extensively, nationally and internationally, to wide acclaim. He has also recorded and filmed a number of his shows, and has (as Evita) hosted his own TV show.
Another facet of his work is the enormous amount of charity and community work he has done to create understanding, tolerance and health awareness.
Plays and Monologues written by Uys
Skote! (Jan van Riebeeck High School, Cape Town, 1976)
Paradise is Closing Down (Revisited) (aka "Going to Heaven") (Grahamstown Festival, 1992; Johannesburg, 1992)
The Marshrose (1999)
Revues and Cabaret Shows written by Uys
Adapt or Dye (premiere production 1981)
The Poggenpoel Sisters (Cape Town, 1993; Johannesburg, 1993; on tour, 1993)
One Man One Volt (Tour of South Africa, 1994)
Bambi Sings the FAK Songs (A "Cabaret") (Cape Town, 1995; Johannesburg, 1995; on tour, 1995)
Symbols of Sex and State (2000)
FAK Songs and Other Struggle Anthems - a cabaret (Cape Town, 2000)
Die Poggenpoels Praat (South African tour, 2011)
1978: Die Spaanse Vlieg (feature film)
1981: Screenplay (TV series)
1983: Farce About Uys (TV)
1991: Screenplay (TV series)
1974: Tant Ralie se Losieshuis (feature film) as the estate agent
1977: Kootjie Emmer (feature film) as P.P. Levine
1983: Farce About Uys (TV) as De Kock Bezuidenhout
1985: Skating on Thin Uys
1987: Across the Rubicon
2004: The Sunday Programme
Books and Autobiographies
Saga of Die Selle Ou Storie (1978) Speak, 1(2):53-57.March-April.
Farce about Uys : A Legal Assembly in Two Riotous Acts (1983) Jonathan Ball and Ad. Donker Publishers
Selle ou storie: A play (1983) Ad. Donker, Johannesburg
No-one’s Died Laughing (1986) Harmondsworth: Penguin
Paradise Is Closing Down and Other Plays (1989) Penguin Books Ltd
Funigalore: Evita's Real-Life Adventures in Wonderland (1995) The Penguin Group (SA) Pty Ltd
The Essential Evita Bezuidenhout (1997) David Philip Publishers, Cape Town
A Part Hate a Part Love: The Legend of Evita Bezuidenhout (1994) Hond, Groenkloof
No space on Long Street ; Marshrose : two plays (2000) ComPress, Cape Town
Trekking to Teema (2001) Compress, Cape Town
Elections & Erections: A Memoir of Fear and Fun (2003) Zebra Press, Cape Town
Between the Devil and the Deep: A Memoir of Acting and Reacting (2005) Cape Town: Zebra.
Awards and honours
1997: Doctor honoris causa from Rhodes University
2000: Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout was awarded the Living Legacy 2000 Award in San Diego
2001: Reconciliation Award 
2003: Doctor honoris causa from the University of Cape Town
2003: Doctor honoris causa from the University of the Western Cape
2011: Special Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale)
The lifetime achievement award from the Cape Tercentenary Foundation 
2018: He was awarded the Hertzogprys for Drama for Stukke Teater, taking into account his complete oeuvre.
Pieter-Dirk Uys's homepage 
Evita se Perron website 
Afrikaans Wikipedia 
Return to ESAT Personalities U
Return to South African Theatre Personalities
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page