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Welcome to the Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance (ESAT), the open access, online and Wiki-based, digital reference work on theatre, film, media and performance in South Africa.

This page was last modified on 24 April, 2024


To skip the introductory notes and instructions for ESAT, and go directly to the listing of contents, click on the link in the title above:

Introduction to the ESAT project

The project

The ESAT encyclopaedia-project was conceived as an interactive resource for researchers interested in the evolution, history and forms of performance and media in South Africa, and it is based on research originally undertaken by the Centre for South African Theatre Research under the auspices of, and with the support of, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) between 1979 and 1987. In 1988 the research was transferred to, and continued at, the University of Stellenbosch by the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies, with the support of the University's Division for Research Development, the former Centre for Science Development (CSD) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). The website was opened for public use in 2011.

Please note that any opinion, finding and conclusion or recommendation expressed in this material is that of the particular author(s) and that none of the sponsors of the project accept any liability in this regard.

The project is currently headed by Temple Hauptfleisch (original founder, editor-in-chief and project director of the undertaking), with the assistance of with Freddy Ogterop, Ivor Markman, Karina Hauptfleisch, Darryl Nel and Christo Snyman as assistant editors, while numerous contributors across the globe have helped in collating and writing the information since its first inception. It uses the standard Wiki programme and is published on the web with the assistance of the Drama Department ( and its former Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies, the IT staff of the J.S. Gericke Library and the division for Information Technology at the University of Stellenbosch (

For more detailed information on the nature of the project, including the history and aims of the encyclopaedia and the names of all the editors, researchers and supporting staff involved - click on the link below:

Contacting the ESAT editors

You can contact ESAT at the following addresses:

Postal address: The Editor: ESAT, Department of Drama, University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, MATIELAND 7602, South Africa.

E-mail address:

Fax number: (+ 27) 21 882 9141

How to use ESAT

While ESAT uses the Wiki programme, which makes provision for a very useful search function, the database has avoided contemporary multi-screen web-design, and has been constructed rather more traditionally, like a printed encyclopaedia, with an Index to the various entries (also called The ESAT Entries). The entries in the Index have been grouped in sixteen distinct categories, each one managed and edited by one of the research editors.

Four important notes for everyone using ESAT

  1. The main focus is on pre-21st-century theatre, film, media and performance
  2. It is work in progress and thus subject to error on occasion
  3. Policy regarding offensive language and terminology
  4. ESAT is not an archival facility

To find out more about these matters, click on the relevant item(s) listed above.

Accessing the database of entries

To access database material on the relevant category, the reader has two options:

Using the "Search" function

Go to the "Search" block at the top right of this page (or type: Alt+F), type in the search word/phrase and click on the search icon there (the magnifying glass) or press the Enter button on your keyboard.

Using the Index

Simply click on The ESAT Entries at the start of this main page (or HERE) , to go to the list of 16 categories into which the material has been divided. On the list provided, click on the appropriate one, then follow instructions on the landing page.

NB: Copyright and referencing of material used

ESAT is an open access publication, which means that even though the material contained in the encyclopaedia is copyrighted to ESAT and the University of Stellenbosch, it may be freely used for academic and artistic purposes as long as such use is clearly referenced and the material used is attributed to The Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance (ESAT), the reference also including the URL for the particular entry in ESAT.

Contributing to ESAT

All researchers, artists and other interested parties are invited to help us to expand, improve, update and correct ESAT since, by its very nature, the database will always be incomplete and prone to error on occasion.

To find how you can contribute, click on the HEADING above.