Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst

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Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst ("the arts flourish through zeal" - also written in the original Dutch as Door Ijver Bloeit de Kunst) was a popular Dutch saying, used by a number of cultural organizations and theatrical companies as their motto.

History of the theatrical companies

In Cape Town the motto was primarily used by a linked series of amateur theatre companies, often referred to generically as Het Privaat Hollandsch Toneellievend Gezelschap ("The private Dutch amateur company") or variations thereof (as happened with other Dutch companies as well). Also on occasion known as Het Hollandsch nieuw Tooneel Gezelschap, or simply by its acronym of D.Y.b.d.K.).

The history falls into four distinct periods.

Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst 1833


The motto was first used as a name for a company in Cape Town by a Dutch amateur theatre company referred to a Het Hollandsch nieuw Tooneel Gezelschap ("The Dutch new Theatrical Company"), founded in 1833 , led by J.T. van der Chys as organiser, with P.A. Ley as Secretary. There is some suggestion that it was in fact the name under which members of Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense continued their activities in 1833 after personal circumstances had forced C.E. Boniface to temporarily retreat from active participation in theatre.

The company was however short-lived under this name, and apparently continuing to perform from 1834 under the name Vlyt en Kunst, also orgnised by Van der Chys, after C.E. Boniface had returned to once more take the lead.


J.T. van der Chys, P.A. Ley

Some performances in the period

Their productions in 1833 included De Jeugd van Hendrik den Vyfde (Duval), De Helleveeg (Loosjes), Clavigo (Goethe), De Prins Schoorsteenveger en de Schoorsteenveger Prins (Beaunoir) and De Verwisseling (Von Guttenberg).

Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst 1844-1846


In 1844 a company formally announced as Het Privaat Hollandsch Toneellievend Gezelschap, was formed from the amalgamation of Tot Nut en Vermaak and Door Yver Vruchtbaar, and began to perform under the combined motto of "Tot Nut en Vermaak en Door Yver Vruchtbaar", by which name they were to become known for a brief period.



Their first production Natuur en Pligt (Volmeranges) and De Dronkaard (Kotzebue) took place on 5 June 1844 in the Roeland Street Theatre. Unlike the English companies at the time the Dutch allowed actresses in their company. The company received good reviews throughout 1844/5. Other pieces in this period included Roland de Monglave, of De Zegepraal der Onschuld (Tréogate) and Het Misverstand, of Elk is een Dief in zyne Nering ("K",),

Finally on 2 November 1846 it was announced that the company would stage its last production, reason being insufficient support from the Dutch community. They performed De Baron van Felsheim (Bernos) and Uilenspiegel (Kotzebue) on this occasion.

Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst 1849-1855


The name re-emerged as the name for another new company in 1848/9, now under the leadership of J. Langerman, J. Herholdt, P.J. Richter (secretary) and - according to later reports in 1911, disputed by Bosman (1928) - also the teenager J.C. Combrink. The company was probably founded by dissidents of Hoop en Trouw and now included actresses in its productions.

The company quickly became the premier Dutch company during the second half of the 19th Century, but In June 1855 it closed down for ten years, because no suitable venue was available. According to Ludwig Binge (1969) the final presentation of this phase was on 28 June 1855.


J. Langerman, J. Herholdt, P.J. Richter , J.C. Combrink.

Some performances in the period

Performances in the period included Roland de Monglave, of De Zegepraal der Onschuld (Tréogate), Het Misverstand, of Elk is een Dief in zyne Nering ("K",), De Deserteur (Von Kotzebue), De Kluizenaar op het Eiland Formentera (Von Kotzebue), De Minnaar op den Proef, of Het Zonderlinge Tweegevecht (De Boer), Het Bankroet van den Schoenlapper (Martainville, tr De Quack), De Uniform Rok van Wellington (Von Kotzebue),Storb en Werner, of De Gevolgen van een Tweegevecht (Bonel and Boirie), De Lotery Prys, of No. 2,5,3,8, (Hoare), Rozella en Guido, of Het Regt der Natuur (Westerman)

Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst 1865-1873


In August 1865 the company was once more resuscitated by J.C. Combrink and entered a very busy and influential period, performing at a variety of venues in Cape Town, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Montagu, Robertson, Worcester Ceres, and even on Robben Island. They often performed for charity and offered benefits for captains and officers of visiting ships.

The company also travelled on occasion, for example in 1970 the company announced a "Trip naar de Binnelanden" ("trip to the interior") by 9 members of the company, travelling by ox wagon with a transportable and adjustable set to ultimately perform on the Diamond Fields of Kimberley and vicinity. This seems to have taken place in 1871, along with local performances in small towns.

Internal strife within the company led to the founding of a temporary tearaway company, Kunst en Vlyt (1870-71) and there appears to have been a hiatus in the activities of the company for about 20 years, lasting from about 1871 to 1891. Bosman (1980: p. 457) suggests that this may have been owing to the presence of the revival of and competition from the rederykerskamer Aurora (1866-1887).


Besides J.C. Combrink himself, the association's members over the years included:

In the early period (1865-1873): F. Lotz, G. Wannenberg, P. Luyt, P. Theunissen, J.T. de Vrye, Mr Langermann, J.G. Luyt, and A. Combrinck.

Some performances in the period

(Only plays performed for the first time by Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst in the particular year are given - further productions or repeats of the specific play will be listed in the entry on the play. For a full list of all performances, see F.C.L. Bosman, 1980: pp. 443-452.)

In 1865: Adelaide van Beyeren (Loasel-Tréogate), De Dronkaard, of De Boer Edelman (Anon), De Kluizenaar op Formentera (Von Kotzebue), De Uniformrok van den Veldmaarschalk Wellington (Von Kotzebue).

In 1866: Rozella en Guido, of Het Recht der Natuur (Westerman), Het Zal Laat Worden (Meijer),

In 1867: Eleonore van Rosalba, of De Puinhopen van Paluzzi (Pujos & Dabaytua/Kisselius), Het Bankroet van den Schoenlapper (Quack), Het Geheim (Arnould & Fournier/De Bruine), Uilenspiegel (Von Kotzebue/Holtrop), Natuur en Pligt, of De Zoon, Rechter over zijnen Vader (Pelletier-Volméranges), Het Misverstand (Patrat/Kup?), De Nachtmerrie (Hafner/Vreedenberg),

In 1868: Artaxerxes, of De Vader Rechter over zijn Zoon (Op den Hooff), De Helleveeg (Loosjes), "Pizarro", of De Dood van Rolla (Sheridan/Von Kotzebue), De Graaf Orzano, of De Bedelaar van Napels (Vorking), De Sint Nicholaas Avond, of Het Bezoek door den Schoorsteen (Kup), Othello, of De Moor (Shakespeare).

In 1869: De Schipbreuk (Brandes), Roland de Monglave, of De Zegepraal der Onschuld (Loasel-Tréogate), , Bartel, of De Herschapen Boer (Holberg), De Zonnenmaagd (Von Kotzebue), De Korporaal en het Diensmeisje (), De Vrek (Moliere/Pluimer?)

In 1870: Montoni (Duval/Bruggemans), Ik ben naar het Vondelfeest geweest (Van der Stempel), Rinaldo Rinaldini (), Solide Menschen (Van Buuren).

In 1871: The company spends most of the season on tours to the interior.

In 1872: De Kruisvaarders (Von Kotzebue), De Geveinsde Zotheid door Liefde (Anon.).

In 1873: De Tooveres Sydonia (Zschokke/Engelman), Het Hoogste Lot (Verstolk), Robert, of De Struikrover (Geysbeek)), De Kalkoen van Breda (Ray), Aballino de Groote Bandiet (Von Kotzebue).

There now followed a hiatus for many years, with recorded performances listed by Bosman (1980) only resuming in 1895

Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst 1891-1910


In August 1892 Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst was once more resuscitated by J.C. Combrink and apparently performed sporadically in various halls, though with far less frequency and success than in the previous period, with recorded performances listed by Bosman (1980) only resuming in 1895 and are very sporadic.


In the period (1892-1910)n the members: Besides J.C. Combrinck, Wannenberg and J. Luyt from the earlier period, we find the addition of new players, a number from other companies, including A. Keytel, J.M. Belinfante, G. Solomon, , J.H. Moll, H.P. de Krielen, S. Baard, Mr Wartema, Mr Kromberg and S. Bresler. Among the lady members metioned were Miss Roskaly (or possibly Miss Roskelly), Rosa Dallas and Barbara Combrink.

Some performances in the period

In 1895: De Gravin de Moranges (Delcourt), De Minnebrief van Steven (), Een Hulde aan Nederlands Koningin (a tableau).

In 1896: De Graaf Orzano, of de Bedelaar van Napels (Vorking), Het Geheim (Arnould and Fournier), [[]] (), [[]] (),

In 1910: What is described by Boonzaier (1923) as a rather dated performance of Het Geheim took place at the Good Hope Theatre on 2 and 4 June and was to be Door Yver Bloeit de Kunst's final production.


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

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1].

F.C.L. Bosman, 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 440-452.

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

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg.

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