Repertory Amateur Players Society
Initially founded as a division of the Johannesburg Repertory Society (Johannesburg REPS) in 1949 to cater for its younger members, and known then as the Reps Associate Players. When the REPS became a professional company in the October 1954, the Reps Associate Players were delegated to continue its amateur work, changing its name to the Repertory Amateur Players Section. Eventually it became a completely independent company, after which it became known as the Repertory Amateur Players Society (RAPS).
It’s avowed aim was to represent the REPS at FATSSA and other festivals, and to hold its own play festivals in order to advance, promote and generally foster and encourage the amateur movement in Johannesburg.
It’s first production was of Elmer Rice’s Dream Girl,
In 1956 RAPS acquired its own premises at ***, which was used as a rehearsal venue and subsequently as a drama school called ***.
The RAPS Festival
Its first festival was held in 1957. A school’s section was added for the first time in 1969, and in 1972 the focus was shifted to include only high schools. Certificates were awarded in fifteen categories, while in 1975 an award for original writing was instituted. Thaba Bojula became the first black school to enter the competition in 1982. The competition was considered so prestigious that the amount of entries sometimes necessitated three weeks of rounds before a winner could be produced.
(See Du Toit, 1988; Gosher, 1988) [JH]
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