South African Association for Drama and Youth Theatre

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The South African Association for Drama and Youth Theatre (SAADYT) was a South African association of drama teachers and theatre and education practitioners interested in the educational possibilities of theatre and drama.

Best known by its acronym, SAADYT, and known in Afrikaans Suid-Afrikaanse Assosiasie vir Drama en Jeugteater)

Origins and aims

An initiative of Esther van Ryswyk it was founded at a conference held in 1979, with the aim of bringing together people involved in youth drama and theatre and to improve and extend current practices. To this end the society held annual conferences, centered on drama workshops and demonstrations. To this end they brought out numerous international experts - including Gavin Bolton, John Norman, John O'Toole, Dorothy Heathcote, Cecily O'Neill, and others. The association actively ought and obtained affiliation to the international association ASSITEJ.

At the first meeting in Stellenbosch/Durban (?), Van Ryswyk was elected chair of the association, and remained in the position for much of the society's active period.

In a resolution adopted in 1987, it was proposed that the association "work through educational drama and theatre towards a just and democratic society". This caused a split in membership, with a number of more conservative members and individuals who felt that the educational focus was being lost to a political agenda, withdrew. By the 1990s the association had become a loose federation of regional groups.

SAADYT Newsletter

Initally the association published a SAADYT Newsletter, edited by the chairperson and secretary.

SAADYT Journal

The Newsletter was later renamed the SAADYT Journal, with by Temple Hauptfleisch as its first editor. It was later taken over by Paddy Terry and others.


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