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Macbeth is a tragedy William Shakespeare

The original text

Translations and adaptations


Besides translations into virtually all the European languages, and a multitude of other global languages, the play has been translated into three of the South African languages:

1959: Translated into Xhosa as uMacbeth by B.B. Mdledle.

1965: Translated into Afrikaans as Macbeth by W.J. du P. Erlank,

1982: Translated into Tsonga as Macbeth by Felix M. Shilote and Charlotte Nkondo. Published: Braamfontein : Sasavona, 1982. 1st Edition.


South African productions

In the English original

1854: Mr Nightingale, the Port Captain, obtained the African Theatre for two (unspecified) nights in 1854, to put on Macbeth with the mariners of Simonstown, under the patronage of the Lt. Governor. (Bosman, 1928: pp. 409.)

1942: Produced by Henry Miles at the Standard Theatre, 1942.

1950: Produced (in Afrikaans?) by African Theatres with André Huguenet, Anna Neethling-Pohl and Berdine Grünewald in the leading roles, directed by Gwen ffrangçon-Davies. It was staged in Johannesburg and eventually in the Alhambra Theatre in Cape Town. (Source: Leonard Schach: The Flag is Flying, 62)

1967: Presented by René Ahrenson and Cecilia Sonnenberg at Maynardville, directed by Leslie French starring himself as Duncan, King of Scotland, Michael Atkinson as Macbeth, Michael Newell, Peter Curtis (Banquo), Cecilia Sonnenberg (Lady Macbeth), and others.

1971: Presented by NAPAC Drama at the Alhambra Theatre, Durban, directed by Michael Meacham, from 7 September 1971.

1972: Presented by CAPAB Drama opening at the Nico Malan Theatre on 15 May 1972, directed by Bernard Brown, with Michael Atkinson as Macbeth, Marika Mann as Lady Macbeth, aslo starring Keith Grenville, Ronald France, Phillip Birkinshaw, Michael Drin, Stephen Gurney, Christopher Prophet, Peter Curtis, John Whiteley, Pietro Nolte, John Ramsbottom, Glynn Day, Liz Dickand others. Set designed by Keith Anderson, costumes by Jennifer Craig and Penny Simpson.

1980: Ron Smerczak starred in the play with Sandra Prinsloo with direction by Leonard Schach at the Alexander Theatre in 1980.

1981: Directed by Philip Grout in a CAPAB production in the Nico Malan Theatre in 1981, starring Sandra Duncan, Roger Dwyer, Diane Wilson, Sean Taylor, John Whiteley, Alan Swerdlow and Neville Thomas. Decor and costumes by Penny Simpson, lighting by Leon Benzakein.

1985: Presented by Young People's Theatre, directed by Phyllis Klotz, starring André Jacobs and Terry Norton, Little Theatre, Cape Town. Design by Jenny Gillis.

1990: Presented by NAPAC, first performance The Drama, the Natal Playhouse on April 4, 1990. Direction Nicholas Ellenbogen, design Peter Cazalet, lighting design Graham Eales. The cast: Sean Taylor as Macbeth, Lady Macbeth played by Brenda Radloff, John Whiteley, David Dennis, Gary D'Alessandro, Ian Hadfield, Graham Weir and others.

1990: Staged by PACT, directed by Dieter Reible, with Graham Hopkins/Jonathan Rands (Macbeth), Bill Curry (Duncan), Terence Reis (Malcolm), Wayne Robins (Donalbain), Graham Hopkins (Banquo), Jonathan Rands/Christopher Wells (Macduff), Sandra Prinsloo/Mitzi Booysen (Lady Macbeth), Mitzi Booysen/Sandra Prinsloo (Lady Macduff), Dale Cutts (Everyman I), Martin Le Maitre (Everyman II), Andre Odendaal (Witch), Embeth Davidtz (Witch), Dan Sebogodi (Witch) and others.

1992: Staged by PACOFS, directed by Desmond Hughes, with Dawid Minnaar (Macbeth), Ernst Eloff (Duncan), James van Helsdingen (Malcolm), Hannes van Wyk (Donalbain), Pieter Brand (Banquo), Zane Meas (Macduff), Anton Welman (Lennox), Nigel Kane (Ross), Nico Luwes (Menteith), Isadora Verwey (Lady Macbeth), Corien Pelt (Lady Macduff), Marga van Rooy (Witch), Christo Compion (Witch), Petro-Nelise Trichardt (Witch) and others. Decor by Johan Badenhorst and costumes by James Parker.

1996: directed by Marthinus Basson in 1996 with Keith Grenville as King Duncan, André Roothman as Macbeth, Terry Norton as Lady Macbeth, Joshua Lindberg as Banquo, Nicholas Dallas as Donaldbain, also featuring Diane Wilson and Graham Weir and others. At the Nico in Cape Town and the National Arts Festival, 1996.

2000: Presented by University of Stellenbosch Drama Department in the H.B. Thom Theatre, directed by Johan Esterhuizen with André Weideman as Macbeth.

2006: an Actors Centre production directed by Mark Graham, assisted by Dorothy-Ann Gould, in 2006 in the Tesson Theatre. Carl Beukes as Macbeth, Ilanit Shapiro as Lady Macbeth, David Dennis as Duncan, David Butler as Banquo, Nick Boraine as Macduff, Sivan Raphaely Lady Macduff. Decor by Denis Hutchinson, choreography by Ivan D. Lucas.

2013 Presented in the PEMADS Little Theatre, as a joint production between PEMADS and the Port Elizabeth Shakespearean Festival. Directed by Lesley Barnard, with Gareth Bain, Helen Flax, Andrew White, Robert van den Ordel, Liz Yates, Mark Farrow , Yolande Farrow and David Roll.

In Translation

In Afrikaans

1950: Produced by African Theatres with André Huguenet, Anna Neethling-Pohl and Berdine Grünewald in the leading roles, directed by Gwen ffrangçon-Davies. It was staged in Johannesburg and eventually in the Alhambra Theatre in Cape Town. (Source: Leonard Schach: The Flag is Flying, 62)

1967: Translated into Afrikaans by W.J. du P. Erlank, 1965. Produced by Fred Engelen, presented by University Theatre Stellenbosch in 1967, performed in the H.B. Thom Theatre, subsequently in the Van Zyl Hall, in the Cango Caves, Oudtshoorn. Décor, costumes and lighting by Elaine Aucamp and Pieter de Swardt. Tine Balder as Lady Macbeth, Fred Engelen as Macbeth, Charles Fryer as Banquo. Other members of the cast were Jocelyn de Bruyn, Johan Esterhuizen, Ben Dehaeck, Mees Xteen. The three witches were portrayed by Gretchen Holzapfel, Rahila Steyn and Bettina Camerer.

In Tsonga

1982: Macbeth. Translated by Felix M. Shilote and Charlotte Nkondo. Published: Braamfontein : Sasavona, 1982. 1st Edition.

In Xhosa

1959: uMacbeth (1959) by B.B. Mdledle.

In Zulu

Adaptations in all languages

Umabatha by Welcome Msomi

A Zulu reworking of Shakespeare's Macbeth .

1970: First presented in the University of Natal’s Open Air Theatre under the direction of Pieter Scholtz and Elizabeth Sneddon in 1970. It also travelled to London in 1972, where it played to acclaim in the *** theatre.

During 1978 it was performed in the Baxter Theatre, directed by Phillip Msomi.

Revived in 1998, it was once more taken to London, and

In 2001 played in London to acclaim once more, as part of the Celebrate South Africa Festival in London.

First published by ** in 19**.

A Macbeth by Charles Marowitz

1973: Directed by Charles Marowitz for PACT Drama in the Alexander Theatre, starring Siegfried Mynhardt, Molly Seftel, Billy Matthews and Ken Leach.

MacBeki - A Farce to the Reckoned With by Pieter-Dirk Uys

A farce broadly based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, providing a comic and satiric version of the events surrounding the deposition of Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's second president after Apartheid, using the Scottish play as a framework. Originally devised and written for production by University of Cape Town students.

2008: First produced by the University of Cape Town Drama Department, directed by Christopher Weare in the Little Theatre, Cape Town on the 25th February, 2009, with Themba Mchunu, Lerato Motshwarakgole, Gabriel Marchand, Gerald Dhunrajah, Rudi Swart, Chase Downs, Rosa Whitcher, Mpho Kgosana, Abongile Kroza, Mandisi Sindo, Siyabulela Sikawuti.

2009: The first professional production at the Market Theatre in 2009, directed by Pieter-Dirk Uys, with Fezile Mpela, Nthati Moshesh, Lizz Meiring, Mpho Osei-Tutu, Coco Merckel, Sello Sebotsane

Published by Peninsula , in association with Junkets Publishers, 2009.

macbeth.slapeloos by Marthinus Basson and cast

(Translation: "macbeth.sleepless". Also written Macbeth, slapeloos.)

An adaptation of Shakespeare's play, using the original Afrikaans translation by Eitemal (nom de plume of W.J. du P. Erlank), and adapted by Marthinus Basson and the cast.

2014: Performed at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK), produced by Hugo Theart and TEATERteater, in association with Clover Aardklop and Artscape. Directed by Marthinus Basson, with Dawid Minnaar, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Jana Cilliers, Antoinette Kellerman, Stian Bam, Charlton George, Ludwig Binge, Edwin van der Walt en Senzo Madikane. Lighting design by Albert Snyman and choreography by Estelle Olivier.

2015: Performed at the Baxter Theatre with the same cast.


Trek, 7(12):17, 1942.

Theatre programme (CAPAB), 1972

Newspapers clippings and photographs of the 1976 production, collected by Johan Esterhuizen.

PACT theatre programme, 1990.

PACOFS theatre programme, 1992.

Beeld, 23 February 2006.

National Arts Festival programme, 1996

Aardklop 2013 Programme

Macbeth finds new home in PE's Little Theatre Bob Eveleigh (Artslink 02/11/2014 10:20:05)

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