Aart de Villiers

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Aart de Villiers (1931-1999) was a South African academic, theatre critic, stage director and translator.


Born on 5 March 1931 and grew up in Bethal in die Eastern Transvaal. He studied drama at Rhodes Univeresity and obtained his M.A.-degree from them in 1957 with a study of the poetry of N.P. van Wyk Louw. He later obtained a doctorate from the University of Pretoria, with a thesis based a director's script for Germanicus by N.P. van Wyk Louw.

His life partner was the actor Don Lampbrecht. De Villiers passed away on 26 April 1999.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

He was a founding member of the Drama Department at the University of the Witwatersrand, and taught there for many years. De Villiers directed many plays and operas over the years, wrote a number of books and articles on the theory and practice of theatre, and was a reviewer of performances and texts for a number of publications.

His two most relevant books on drama are Dirigent van die Woord ("conductor of the word", a manual on directing, 1976) and Die Sawel van jou Stilsit (essays on Germanicus, 1977)

He translated the Afrikaans play Die Keiser by Bartho Smit into English as The Naked Emperor, 1982), and translated a number of plays into Afrikaans, including:

A Christmas Carol (as Pennieknyper, i.e. "Penny Pincher"), Arthur Kopit's [[]] as Ag Pa, arme Pa, Ma het Jou in die Kas Gehang, Dis Daarom wat ek Kla (Arthur Kopit), Alcestis by Euripides (as Alkestis, with Don Lamprecht), Gian-Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Vistors]] as Amahl en die Nagbesoekers (with Bosman de Kock) and Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro as Die Huwelik van Figaro (with Anton Hartman).