South African Institute of Theatre Technology

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The South African Institute of Theatre Technology is an organization to maintain technical standards for the theatre industry in the country and to serve the needs of theatre technicians and technical personnel working in theatre.

Also found as the S.A. Institute of Theatre Technology or SA Institute of Theatre Technology, and best known by its acronym: SAITT.

In Afrikaans the name its written Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut vir Teatertegnologie (S.A. Instituut vir Teatertegnologie or SA Instituut vir Teatertegnologie)

Today it is known as the Southern African Institute of Theatre Technology, but using the same acronym.


Created in 1969 by theatre technicians and technical personnel working in theatre, headed by P.P.B. Breytenbach, Michal Grobbelaar, Anthony Farmer, Mannie Manim, Walter Smit, and others. The organisation came into being due to the lack of status and acknowledgement of the contribution of technical personnel to the stage craft. Michal Grobbelaar was elected as the first president with P.P.B. Breytenbach as the vice president. Grobbelaar remained president of the institute till his retirement in 19**.

The Southern African Institute of Theatre Technology

In 1995, after the dawn of the post-Apartheid "New South Africa", the institute widened its scope to be more inclusive and renamed itself the Southern African Institute of Theatre Technology.


The aims of the Institute include setting technical standards for the industry, the distribution of information and know-how (lately through a data-base accessable via Internet), further training for employed theatre technicians, and the training programmes for theatre technical students at Universities and Technikons. The original idea was to train people itself, utilizing in-service training at theatres such as the Nico Malan Theatre in Cape Town, but this did not get of the ground. At the annual conference a motion was passed to appeal to the Department of National Education to start a course in theatre technology at the Witwatersrand Technical College. This was followed by a similar course at the Cape Town Technical College and also at the Pretoria Technical College. (These colleges later became Universities of Technology[], and continued this training.) Later some University Departments also bean to offer diploma and degree courses in aspects of stage management, design and technology (e.g. Rhodes University, Stellenbosch University, the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Natal, Potchefstroom University and University of the Orange Free State).

Conferences and symposia

The Institute also arranged occasional national and international symposia for theatre technology over the years. The first took place in 1974 at the Nico Malan Theatre and was attended by 500 people who were addressed by the world famous British lighting expert, Francis Reid (1931 – 2016)[1]. The second symposium was held in 1976 and the third held in 1979, when Elizabeth Sweetling (1914-1999)[2], at the time arts advisor for the South Australian government, was the guest speaker. SAITT is affiliated to the International Theatre Institute (ITI)/ (International Institute for Theatre Technology?**)

The SAITT-award

The SAITT-award was instituted to recognize the lifetime achievement of someone who has contributed significantly to the South African theatre industry. In 1976 it went to P.P.B. Breytenbach. *****.


Jan Nel in Temple Hauptfleisch, 1985 [JN].

Calburn 1978.

Hay-Whitton 1979.

SACat: A union catalogue of items held by Southern African libraries.

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