Afrikaans-Hollandse Toneelvereniging

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The Afrikaans-Hollandse Toneelvereniging (the "Afrikaans-Dutch Theatrical Society") was an amateur theatre company active in Pretoria from 1907 to 1918.

Also known by its acronym: AHTV



The Afrikaans-Hollandse Toneelvereniging was founded in Pretoria in March 1907 by Gustav Preller and Harm Oost, to promote a serious interest in culture and theatre and to "strive for a national Afrikaans-Dutch Theatre and thus promote the national language and the education of the people". Considered by some commentators to have been leading Afrikaans theatre company between 1907 and 1918. Important members of the management were Gustav Preller, who was its first chairman (1906-1910), G. Wolmarans, W.J. Viljoen, K. de Lint and Jan F.E. Celliers. Among the patrons for the early productions were the prime minister (Louis Botha) and the Colonial Secretary (Jan Smuts). Key artistic figures in its history include Mrs Engel-Wilson (first director), Stephanus Maré, Harm Oost, Jean Plaat-Stultjes.


Its first production took place in the Pretoria Opera House on 9 March 1907 and soon the society also took plays on tour in the new province of Transvaal (e.g to Ermelo, Potchefstroom, Heidelberg, Standerton, Wakkerstroom, Volksrust, etc.) and even to the Cape Province. Preller and Oost’s active encouragement during these tours eventually led to the establishment of branches in Potchefstroom, Germiston, Ermelo and Heidelberg.

Rift and closure

In 1912, an internal rift appeared, mirroring the political rift between generals Botha and Hertzog, and Stephanus Maré started taking a more leading role in the society. He became so prominent that the AHTV did not long survive his death in 1918. In 1910 Preller becomes Honorary Chairman, and G.J. Wolmerans takes over. * By the end of 1912 however political divisions split the society and a number of members (including Oost) leave. Stephanus Maré and Mrs Engel-Wilson however keep things going.


Productions 1907-1910

Its first production took place in the Pretoria Opera House on 9 March 1907 and consisted of two one-act plays translated into Afrikaanss from the Dutch - Meneer s'n Jas ("The gentleman's coat") and Een Stortbui ("A Downpour") - and the premiére of Ou Daniel by Harm Oost. Other plays presented in the early period (1908-1910) include Medea (1908), Hoe die Nieuws versprei 't (i.e. Spreading the News by Lady Gregory, as translated by Harm Oost, 1908), Piet s'n Tante (Charley's Aunt by Brandon Thomas, translated by Gustav Preller, 1908 - one of its major successes), Di Bedriegers ("The deceivers") (D.P Du Toit, 1909), Eenvoudige Mense ("Simple People" by J. Lub - 1909-10), De Haat Verstomt, waar Liefde Komt ("Hate surprises where love comes" by Melt Brink - 1909-10), Lager Kommando ("Laager Commando", 1910, also performed in the Cape Province).

Productions 1911-1918

In the period after the split the plays performed include C.J. Langenhoven's De Waterzaak ("The Water Case") and Die Hoop van Suid-Afrika ("The Hope of South Africa"), Die Bad-Gaste (hugely popular farce by Stephanus Maré), Steunpilare van die Volk (Henrik Ibsen's "The Pillars of Society", translated by Stephanus Maré), Piet s'n Tante again and Erasmus s'n Erfgename (Zola's **, tr. and adapted by Gustav Preller), ***. [EXPAND**]

[TH, JH]


Ludwig Wilhelm Berthold Binge. 1969. Ontwikkeling van die Afrikaanse toneel (1832-1950). Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p. 485.

P.J. du Toit. 1988. Amateurtoneel in Suid-Afrika. Pretoria: Academica

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