Marthinus Basson

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Marthinus Basson (1953-) is an actor, enormously influential bilingual director and designer, who has also been a props master, stage manager, actor, dramatist, teacher and a fine theatre photographer.


Born Marthinus Cloete Basson in Darling on 7 April 1953, he grew up on his parents' farm Zwartwater, near Darling, went to school at ***

Acting career

Made his professional debut as actor in with the Space Theatre, performing in a French farce as well as Selle Ou Storie (Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1974). He was the stage manager for 'Tis Pity She's a Whore. Also worked for Syrkel, PACOFS, the Baxter Theatre, SWAPAC, Huis Vol UIle in 1989. A founder-member of the Fringe Theatre Company and CAPAB Youth Company, where he was an actor for 6 years. In the meanwhile he becomes involved with Chris Pretorius’s Glass Theatre. He loved working with Jannie Gildenhuys

He stopped acting round about 1987, when he began concentrating on directing and designing.

Has taught acting, directing and design at the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University, appointed full-time at the latter institution in 2006.

Directing and design

Directed his first play in 1983, and won his first directing Fleur du Cap Theatre Award in 1986 for Anatomie Titus Fall of Rome. (He also won the Rosalie van der Gucht Prize for New Directors in this year.) Became CAPAB’s first permanent resident director in 1986 and went on to become one of the leading and more influential director/designers of the 1990s and early 21st century. When CAPAB became ArtsCape Artscape and dropped its permanent company, he worked freelance. In 2000**? he, Saartjie Botha and Jaco Bouwer founded the company Vleis, Rys en Aartappels ("Rice, Meat and Potatoes"). His acting career includes roles in Die Trommel, Eskoriaal, Fortune and Men’s Eyes, Ooh! La-La, Piekniek te Velde and Snowhite & the Special Branch! (Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1974), (all for The Space Theatre ), ***, Die Van Aardes van Grootoor (Pieter-Dirk Uys, 1977), * Snoopy!!!, (CAPAB, 1983), * Die Rebellie van Lafras Verwey (CAPAB, 199*), * Saad (Vleis, Rys en Aartappels, 2008), * His major productions as director/designer include Anatomie Titus??* (1986), ***, Shakespeare's Macbeth by Heiner Müller 1989, Callaway, Farce (1991), Nag, Moeder van die Dag (**, 1991), Die Tou (1992), ***, Macbeth (1996), Legende van Wit en Swart (Ben Dehaeck, 1992*), Mirakel (Reza de Wet 1992*), Mis (Reza de Wet, 1993*), Drif (Reza de Wet, 1994), Drie Susters Twee (Reza de Wet, 199*), Yelena (Reza de Wet, 199*), Boklied (Breyten Breytenbach, 1999*), Hoekom is dié wat voor toi-toi altyd so vet? (Antjie Krog, 1999), Ek, Anna van Wyk (Pieter Fourie, 1999), Johnny Cockroach (Breyten Breytenbach, 2000*), Die Toneelstuk (Breyten Breytenbach, 2001*), Tango del’ Fuego (Basson and co, 2001), Gert Garries – 'n baaisiekel babelas(by Pieter Fourie, for Rooderant Produksies, 2002), Die Goue Seun (Vleis, Rys en Aartappels, 2002), Koggelmanderman (Pieter Fourie, 2003), Mama Medea (Tom Lanoye, 2003)*** (Reza de Wet, 2004), Maria de Buenos Aires (**, 2004), Romeo and Julia (Vleis, Rys en Aartappels, 2005), Slaghuis (Willem Anker, 2006), Die Storm (William Shakespeare, 2007), Lang Dagreis na die Nag (Vleis, Rys en Aartappels, 2008), Boks (Vleis, Rys en Aartappels, 2008), Die Joseph en Mary Affair (Vleis, Rys en Aartappels, 2008), . Also directed opera, including ***.


Has won numerous awards for directing and design over the years, including the Young ArtistAward (1989), and many Vita Awards and Fleur du Cap Awards. In 2002 he received the Erepenning vir Toneelkuns [medal of honour for theatre arts] from the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns for his contribution to South African theatre.


CAPAB Brochure, Aug-Nov 1989

Die Burger, 26 April 1993.

Kobus Burger, Met sy voete op heilige grond. Die Burger, 28 September, 2007: p5.

Cape Argus, 27 April 1993.

Marthinus Cloete Basson (TV documentary film by Etienne de Villiers, 1996).

Pretoria News, 11 April 2001.

Pretoria News, 18 April 2001.

Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

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