South African Theatre/Themes

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Admin: Temple Hauptfleisch

Introductory note

The terminology used in discussing theatre is particularly complex and confusing at times, greatly influenced by regional and sociocultural context. So European and American theatrical terms do not always correspond, while literary scholars and theatre practitioners employ radically different terms for the same thing, or may attach totally dissimilar meanings to the same term. South Africa has its own share of idiolectic variations and the terminology discussed in this section refers specifically to current or historic usage in South Africa. Naturally readers are warned that terms may change radically in meaning over time.

However, please note that this encyclopaedia does not set out to define general theatre terms. This is done excellently in a number of well–known companions, encyclopaedias and dictionaries and on the internet. The bilingual Afrikaans/English Teaterwoordeboek Theatrical Dictionary (1977) does the same for Afrikaans. Naturally there are certain terms that have specific relevance to or meaning in South Africa and they will be discussed as required (e.g. “alternative theatre”, “township musical” , “kabaret/cabaret”, “ntsomi”, “bioscope”, “toyi-toyi”, etc. ), but there are also general terms which need to be clarified for readers of this companion, since we have used them in specific ways.

A few other terms and expressions relating to influential social and political practices peculiar to South Africa are included in this section, to help readers and researchers contextualize theatrical matters. Terms include such issues as Apartheid, the Group Areas Act, the Immorality Act, shebeen, the African National Congress, and Afrikaner, and the ten indigenous languages (Afrikaans Sotho, Xhosa, etc).

For further information on Theatre terms

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To search manually, click on the appropriate letter of the alphabet below to obtain an alphabetical listing of links to entries on themes, terms and definitions in the encyclopaedia. To search the whole encyclopaedia for other occurrences of an item or term, you may also use the Search function in the upper right corner of the page.

Some items are listed under dates or numbers. To see the list (arranged numerically), click on #Numbers or dates. (Please note: This is one integrated list for theatre, film and media entries using a numeral as first "word" in the title.)

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #Numbers or dates

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