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Germanicus, by N.P. van Wyk Louw (1906-1970). An Afrikaans verse play about about patriotism and loyal rebellion, set in Roman times and telling the story of a young hero, the roman general Germanicus. First published in 1956 and many times since. A standard prescribed work for schools and universities. Published by Tafelberg, 1956. Awarded the Hertzogprys for Drama, 1960.

Performance history in South Africa

1956: First performed as a radio broadcast by the SABC.

1957: First performed as a stage play by NTO in their new experimental theatre in Pretoria in 1957, directed by Tone Brulin with Pieter Geldenhuys and Francois Swart. (Athol Fugard was the stage manager).

In 1957 another NTO production of the play, supported by BAT, opened the new Bellville Civic Theatre, this time under the direction of Anna Neethling-Pohl, with Johann Nell as Germanicus and Lydia Lindeque as Agrippina. Gerrit Wessels, Anna Neethling-Pohl, Kobus van der Colff, Pietro Nolte, Johan Malherbe, Hélène Scholtz, Pieter Bredenkamp, Ulrich Fobian, J.A. van der Vyver, Gottfried Scholtz, Cornelia Stander, Alto Loots, Laurie van der Merwe, Louis Pienaar, Fanie Bekker made up the rest of the cast. Costumes by Doreen Graves and Stephan de Villiers, décor by Frank Graves.

1958: Once more under the direction of Tone Brulin, a NTO production opened the new theatre at the University of Pretoria in 1958. Francois Swart played Germanicus and Milla Louw Agrippina. The cast also included Pieter Geldenhuys, Aletta Gericke, Pietro Nolte, Dawid van der Walt, Bet Botha, Billy Pretorius and others. Michal Grobbelaar was the production manager, Laurie van der Merwe assistant director and Piet Bezuidenhout stage manager. Décor by Frank Graves. The costumes designed for the 1957 production in Bellville were used again.

1971: Directed by Ria Olivier for Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch in 1971, with Philip du Plessis as Germanicus, Fred Nel as Piso, the role of Agrippina alternating between Tarina Kleyn and Marianne Roux. Other members of the cast were, among others, Juanita Swanepoel, Fred le Roux, Johann van Heerden, Herman Pretorius, Laurika Rauch, Ben Dehaeck, Jocelyn de Bruyn and Marcel van Heerden.

1981 In 1981 it was presented by PACT as part of the opening ceremonies for the State Theatre Pretoria, directed by Francois Swart and featuring Marius Weyers, Carel Trichardt and Wilna Snyman.

1991: Presented by the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department in September 1991, 25 years after the inauguration of the H.B. Thom Theatre. On this occasion the play was directed by Johan Esterhuizen, starring Waldemar Schultz as Germanicus, André van der Merwe as Piso and Sandra Fourie as Agrippina. Costumes were designed by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder.

Translations and adaptations

An English translation of the Afrikaans text was done by Jo-Marie Claassen between 2004 and 2006, and published as an e-book by Smashwords[1] in 2014.


Taalgenoot, 26(11), 1957.

Lantern, 8(2):183, 1958.

Germanicus theatre programme, 1991.

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