Volkstoneel ("folk theatre", "theatre for the people" - also referred to sometimes as Volksteater): As a general term it is normally used to refer to the kind of popular plays which were written and produced for white audiences in which the values of the Afrikaans nation were realistically and somewhat simplistically often sentimentally presented - and occasionally questioned, satirised and/or comically portrayed. These plays were often created by companies to be taken on tour in the rural areas.
Perhaps the most emblematic example of such a play is Jochem van Bruggen's classic Ampie. Gradually, in the face of new theories and practices of theatremaking, it slipped into being a term of derision.
However, in the 1970's, Pieter Fourie sought to revive the notion, giving it specific content and stature by defining it as a realistic, sympathetic yet critical approach to the everyday lives of South Africans - as opposed to the highly politicised, abstractionist works being produced by the playwrights of the time. His plays Faan se Trein and Faan se Stasie are perhaps his most coherent and persuasive arguments for this, for they paint an endearing and enjoyably theatrical portrait of small-town life.
Ludwig Wilhelm Berthold Binge. 1969. Ontwikkeling van die Afrikaanse toneel (1832-1950). Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik
P.J. du Toit. 1988. Amateurtoneel in Suid-Afrika. Pretoria: Academica
Go to the ESAT Bibliography
Return to The ESAT Entries
Return to Main Page