Difference between revisions of "Company"

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== The Company of Three ==
== The Company of Three ==
See '''[[Company of Three]]'''
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Return to [[South_African_Theatre/Themes|South African Theatre Terminology and Thematic Entries]]
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Revision as of 06:35, 27 February 2011

General meanings

Theatrical meaning



The old Afrikaans term for Company, used in exactly the same way. Also often Toneelgeselskap ("Theatre Company" or "Theatrical Company")

Use as the name of specific theatrical companies

The Company, Johannesburg

The Company was an alternative, experimental, non-racial theatre company started by Barney Simon and Mannie Manim in Johannesburg in 1974.


The founding members were Barney Simon (Artistic director), Mannie Manim (Administrative Director), Aletta Bezuidenhout, Vanessa Cooke, Judith Cornell, David Eppel, Leonie Hofmeyer, Janice Honeyman, Danny Keogh, Sue Kriel, Lindsay Reardon and John Oakley-Smith. When they started off they were a company in search of a theatre, with the only criterion for a theatrical space being that it had to be accessible to black audiences. Initially used a variety of venues and also introduced late night theatre to Johannesburg. After a couple of productions at PACT’s Arena Theatre, they moved to The Box at the University of the Witwatersrand with Lysistrata, then to The Blue Fox in the Oxford Hotel. Their early productions varied between local and international, and included an innovative Twelfth Night, May Day Adventure Play and Hello and Goodbye. During this time they also performed at The Village, a shop front in Orange Grove in Johannesburg (Storytime), The Nunnery at the University of the Witwatersrand (e.g. Fortune and Men’s Eyes, People Too and Madame de Sade) and the Chelsea Hotel (Kennedy’s Children). Keeping to their core belief that the theatre was for everyone, The Company took every production to the Transvaal’s black, coloured and Indian areas as well.

Home in the Market Theatre

Finally in 1976 after a long struggle and the submission of a tender, The Company found a ‘home’ in the old Newtown produce market, which was then converted into The Market Theatre, for which they became the resident company (though they had to pay rent to the Market Theatre Foundation for the use of the theatres, just as any other company making use of the facilities had to). The Company’s first Afrikaans play was Pieter-Dirk Uys’s Selle Ou Storie, one that won them the first of many awards. They later became known as the Market Theatre Company when they started traveling abroad. The Company’s first real brush with the censors came in 1976 with their production (directed by Leonard Schach) of Comedians. (See Schwartz, 1988) The Company: It was formed by Mannie Manim as administrative director and Barney Simon as artistic director within the Arena Theatre. It had a core company of actors – Aletta Bezuidenhout, Vanessa Cooke, Leonie Hofmeyr, David Eppel, Judith Cornell, Janice Honeyman, Sue Kiel, Danny Keogh, Lindsay Reardon and John Oakley-Smith. They performed in various small venues including the Village Theatre, the Blue Fox, the Chelsea Theatre and the PACT Arena. The Market Theatre was born out of this venture. Barney Simon directed Lysistrata for The Company at the Arena in 1974. They put on children’s matinees of Janice Honeyman’s May Day Adventure and late-night entertainment called Hey, Listen at the Arena in 1974. Leonard Schach directed Robert Patrick’s Kennedy’s Children for the Company starring Bess Finney, John Higgins, Erica Rogers, John Rogers and Lynn Hooker at the Chelsea Theatre in 1975. They staged John Herbert’s Fortune and Men’s Eyes with Bill Flynn, Paul Slabolepszy, Ron Smerczak and Danny Keogh at The Nunnery at Wits University in 1975. The Company was awarded the contract for the premises of the old Indian Fruit Market, the future Market Theatre in April 1975. The official opening of the Market Theatre was on 19 October 1976 with The Company’s production of Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade aka The Persecution of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. Barney Simon directed this play starring Kenneth Hendel, Wilson Dunster and Sandra Prinsloo. They presented Barney Simon’s revival of People Are Living There with Yvonne Bryceland, Wilson Dunster, Vanessa Cooke and Danny Keogh at the Market Theatre in 1977. They also staged the ME nobody knows, with music by Gary William Friedman and lyrics by Will Holt at The Market in 1977. Benjy Francis directed this show starring Leonie Hofmeyr, Leslie Mongezi, Nomsa Nene, Barrie Shah and Jonathan Taylor. In November 1977 they staged Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular, designed by Anthony Farmer and co-directed by John Hussey and Mannie Manim with Diane Appleby, Graham Armitage, Naomi Buch, Wilson Dunster, Kerry Jordan and Gay Lambert at The Market Theatre. In association with the Academy they staged Murray Schisgal’s Broadway comedy Luv, directed by Barney Simon with Wilson Dunster, Janice Honeyman and James White at Upstairs at the Market in 1977. Mannie Manim staged Larry Gelbart’s Sly Fox for The Company at The Market in 1979. It was directed by Pieter-Dirk Uys and starred Patrick Mynhardt, Graham Armitage and Peter J. Elliott. Ira Levin’s Veronica’s Room was staged by them at The Market in 1979. They staged Alan Ayckbourn’s How the Other Half Loves starring Helen Jessop, Kenneth Baker, Richard Haines and Yvonne Banning and directed by Graham Armitage at The Market in 1979. Harvey Fierstein’s International Stud, later part of the Torch Song Trilogy performed by The Company in 1984, was staged at The Laager in 1979. Roy Sargeant directed Peter Nichols’ A Day in the Death of Joe Egg for them at the Market in May 1980. It starred Danny Keogh and Sandy Dacombe. Elsa Joubert’s Die Swerfjare van Poppie Nongena, directed by Hilary Blecher for The Company with Nomsa Nene was staged at the Market in August 1980. They staged Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce at the Market in 1982. They staged Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail starring Neil McCarthy and directed by Norman Coombes at the Alexander in February 1984. They presented Barney Simon’s Black Dog Inj’emnyama at Upstairs at the Market in 1984 before going to the Edinburgh Festival. In collaboration with Malcolm Purkey’s Junction Avenue Theatre Company they presented Sophiatown starring Minky Schlesinger at Upstairs at the Market in February 1986, the main house, abroad, with many return visits. They presented Barney Simon’s production of The Dybbuk in 1986. Together with Moyra Fine they presented William Nicholson’s Shadowlands at the Market Theatre in 1991 **** (Tucker, 1997) COMPANY, The. Formed by Barney Simon and Mannie Manim, Johannesburg. (SACD 1974)

The Company after 19**

See also the Market Theatre

The Company of Four

See Company of Four

The Company of Three

See Company of Three

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