Port Elizabethse Afrikaanse Amateur Toneelvereniging
The Port Elizabethse Afrikaanse Amateur Toneelvereniging ("Port Elizabeth Afrikaans Amateur Theatrical Society") (acronym: PEAAT) is an Afrikaans amateur theatre company in Port Elizabeth.
Die Port Elizabethse Afrikaanse Amateurtoneelvereniging (PEAAT) is op 22 Maart 1951 in die pastorie van die NG kerk PE-Wes gestig.
Die eerste voorsitter was ds J J Fick, die besieling agter die aksie was sy vrou Collie. Die eerste ondervoorsitter was mnr Julius Burmeister, terwyl die eerste sekretaris-penningmeester prokureur Willem Delport was. Die oorspronklike wapen was deur diaken J Crous ontwerp.
Van die staanspoor af was die doel "om in diens van die Kerk en onderwys toneel te bied en sodoende geld in te bring vir broodnodige sake". Verder, " . . . om sodoende die gemeentes te help met fondsinsamelings en ook omdat dit moeilik vir die publiek was om die opvoerings by te woon weens beperkte vervoergeriewe".
Met die eerste aanbieding deur PEAAT, in Junie, 1951, dit was drie eenbedrywe, het Mev Collie Fick dis stad plat geloop en 100 pond by firmas, gemeentes en vriende ingesamel om te kan wegspring.
Die drie stukke, wat in die stadsaal opgevoer is, was H A Fagan se Die Swakere Vat, D F Malherbe se Krom Stompe en W A de Klerk se Hellersee. Van hierdie spelers was Willem and Kathleen Delport, ds B Leuvennink, Wessel Gericke, Collie en Koos Fick en Kitty Greef.
“Ek lees in een van die ou dokumente dat daar verwys is na ’n organisasie wat van krag tot krag gaan maar dat PEAAT letterlik van kerk tot kerk gegaan het,” het die huidige voorsitter, me. Emercia de Lange, gesê. Die eerste beskermvrou was Anna Neethling-Pohl en later is prof. Marius Swart as erepresident aangewys. Hy was in dié posisie vir 25 jaar. Swart is in Februarie 1999 deur mnr. Eben de Vos opgevolg wat tans erepresident is.
PROF. MARIUS SWART, wat ná 25 jaar uitgetree het as erepresident van Peaat, die Port Elizabethse Afrikaanse Amateur Toneelgeselskap, sê hy voel oor Peaat soos 'n ouma oor haar eerste kleinkind: ``Of die onderwerp onder bespreking nou Japan of skaap skeer is, sy sal altyd 'n verskoning kry om haar kleinkind se foto te wys.
In sy jong dae was hy aktief by die teater betrokke hy het selfs as student saam met die legendariese André Huguenet in Oedipus Rex opgetree en saam met Rudi Neitz gesing. Van hy sowat 30 jaar gelede in Port Elizabeth kom woon het, het sy werk as professor in geskiedenis aan die UPE en sy gesin hy is pa van vyf kinders hom te besig gehou om toneel te speel. Maar as erepresident van Peaat kon hy sy vinger op die pols hou van die toneellewe in die stad.
``Ek was hoofsaaklik adviseur, sê hy. Die advies het wyer gestrek as geldbesteding of die keuse van stukke. ``Toneelspelers, al is hulle amateurs, ly maar aan kunstenaarstemperament, sê hy. As buitestaander moes hy dikwels geskille help oplos wanneer toneelspelers kort voor die openingsaand skielik so kwaad vir mekaar was dat hulle weier om op te tree. Hy moes ook moed inpraat wanneer die gehore weggebly het.
Renamed ATKV-Peaat in 20**. , is presenting the comedy Ooievaart: Wie's Jou Pappa?
As far back as 1916, 1920 and 1937, concerts were staged in church halls and were a respected and accepted form of entertainment amongst Afrikaner communities.
Peaat was founded on March 22, 1951 when Peaat was launched in the sitting room of the parsonage of the PE West congregation of the Dutch Reformed Church in Pickering Street, Newton Park, by people closely connected to the church.
The first chairman was the dominee J J “Koos” Fick, who suggested the motto “Lewe” (Life), while deacon J Crouse was responsible for the design of the original logo which was changed in ????.
The other first committee members were D S Smith, Frikkie Knoetze, who later contributed years of producing and acting, J R Bekker and, of course, Mrs Collie Fick - the driving force behind Peaat for the first year before the family left town for Somerset West and The Strand.
In 1951 Nasionale Pers and the Rembrandt group were patron companies, 15 people purchased honorary membership for two guineas each and regular membership cost 5 shillings per annum.
The first production was held in the City Hall on June 14, 1951, and consisted of three one-act plays.
All three plays were produced by Collie Fick, who acted as well, along with dominee Bernard Leuvennink, Wessel Gericke, Kitty Greeff (who later married Gert van der Lindel), dominee Fick, Willem and Kathleen Delport, Frikkie Knoetze, Hester de Beer and others.
A special message was written for the opening production by P P Breytenbach and was reprinted in the programme.
“Ek kan aan geen pasliker vorm van vrye ¬tydbesteding dink as juis die toneel nie. Dit is 'n bedrywigheid wat soveel vir 'n gemeenskap as 'n geheel kan beteken,” he wrote.
(Loosely translated: “I can think of no other more fitting use of free time other than the theatre. It is an activity which can mean so much for a community as a whole.”)
Peaat’s original goals of Peaat were:
(a) To promote Afrikaans theatre, (b) to stimulate appreciation and knowledge as regards play-acting, drama and (c) develop a drama library where books and manuscripts could be preserved.
It also states: “om die gemeentes te help met fondsinsameling...;” (“to help the community with fund-raising”) and another one: “om in diens van die Kerk en onderwys toneel te bied en om sodoende geld in te bring vir broodnodige sake.” (“To be of service to the Church and to teach acting in an attempt to raise funding for essential matters.”)
At first, Peaat had to perform in school and church halls.
In Port Elizabeth, there was not a single Afrikaner church hall or church building which did not benefit from theatre in some manner or another.
The choice of plays was limited mainly because of their audiences and comedy, chaos, tears, or lightheartedness was the normal way of attracting support.
These were Langenhoven’s Die Laaste Van Die Takhare, or Joseph Kesselring's Arsenic and Old Lace, translated to Gif En Oujongnooiens, and Edmund Morris's The Wooden Dish, translated to Oupa en Die Houtbord.
May 1960: Peaat celebrated the 50 years of the Union of South Africa, 1910-1960.
August 1964: The first Afrikaans Shakespearean play in Port Elizabeth, The Merchant of Venice was translated as Koopman van Venesie, by D F Malherbe to celebrate Shakespeare's 400th birthday. Shakespeare was born in 1564.
August 1968: For the first time a Peaat production was staged in the Opera House and a media critic said “The two Peaat comedies were delightful. Production is skilled and elegantly tasteful. The standard is completely worthy of the Opera House. How good too, that the . . . English theatre groups have helped with costuming and backstage know-how.”
A few of the organisations which have benefitted from Peaat fundraising include cultural bodies, schools, cultural organisations, women’s organisations, church congregations, the Afrikaanse Christelike Vrouevereniging, the Afrikaanse Opvoedingsfonds, the Christelike Maatskaplike Raad, the Piet Retief Monument, the Rapportryers, the Red Cross, the Reddingsdaadbond, St Johns Ambulance, the UPE Donors' Foundation and the Voortrekkers.
Bruce Mann was responsible for lighting Peaat's production, Die Gode Lag, and two others, Adriaan Gerber and Jacques van Onselen, who often graced the stage for Pemads, now also acted in Peaat productions.
Cecil Steyn who often assisted Pemads as a producer, likewise assisted Peaat before he left Port Elizabeth.
The Mocke couple contributed greatly to Peaat and some of Johan’s translations were so well received one came back with the impression the play was originally written in Afrikaans.
On opening night of Bruid In Die More, there was a power failure and the lights went out in the venue, the Technical High School in First Avenue, Newton Park. They stayed off for 50 minutes.
Individual Peaat players as well the theatre body, were regularly involved in special Easter or Christmas programmes, and during celebrations on various public holidays.
1970: Peaat partook in the 150th celebrations commemorating the landing of the 1820 Settlers.
Various Peaat productions were entered in the Pemads - Salters Awards - and did very well while individual Peaat players made names for themselves.
Ruby Schwartz regularly acted for Pemads, but also for many years with Peaat and few will forget her performance in Barry Erasmus’ production of Skoonma Is 'n Vuurvreter. She was an ace on stage, finding props, supporting backstage, and dragging her husband Bernardt Schwartz with her to supply furniture for a Peaat production.
Other personalities include Jac Smit, Alet Gerber, the honourable Johan J Engelbrecht and many housewives, shop assistants, lecturers, hair stylists, teachers and weekly paids, who supported Peaat as actors, producers, set constructors, ticket sellers, tailors altering costumes, programme designers, secretaries, and panel judges at plays in order to award certain category trophies.
These amateurs, often with a limited literary background, nevertheless performed brilliantly with professional producers or experienced professional actresses, and in décor design.
Peaat productions were regularly performed in Kareedouw, Bellville, Humansdorp, Jansenville and Gelvandale.
1986: Christine Dreyer, a long standing Peaat member, staged her first production Moeders en Dogters, in The Barn, and was the first producer to utilise the talents of a woman of colour in a Peaat play.
Peaat still does not know what the mainly Afrikaans audiences of Port Elizabeth enjoy the most and they have tried every possible variation from vaudeville, translations, farce and older Afrikaans plays to the very modern works by R G du Plessis such as PLASTON: DNS-Kind, 'n Seder Val In Waterkloof, Siener In Die Suburbs, or Adam Small's: Kanna Hy Ko Hystoe, Andre P Brink and his works, or Bartho Smit's Putsonderwater.
In 1982 Peaat came up with an old fashioned evening of debating, speeches and individual items.
Uys Krige, the perplexed author, was also present.
Gerrit Swanepoel really boosted Peaat - he was a live wire, producer, innovater, actor, organiser and preserving Peaat's documents.
Nevertheless, Gerrit Swanepoel presented traditional and most modern sketches, prose, poetry in a dramatised form.
1985: Almost the total Afrikaans and English theatre fraternity participated in Our Town / Ons Dorp.
1986: Gerrit Swanepoel presented genuine cabaret for Peaat.
Peaat does not have its own venue for the storage of costumes, decor, props, requisites, tools; and for rehearsals, an office, archives or committee chamber.
PEAAT Vyftig JAAR TONEEL 1951 - 2001 theatre programme.
Speech by Prof Marius Swart, Looking Back, September 1991.
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