A motto (plural: "mottoes", "leuse" in Afrikaans) is generally seen as a phrase meant to summarize the general aim, intention or motivation of person, family, social group or organization; sometimes as an indicator of a rule of conduct. While European mottoes are often in Latin, they are also found most in other languages.
The use of mottoes by theatrical companies (amateur or professional) is very common in pre-20th century European and colonial theatre. One often finds such a company actually referred to by its motto rather than by its actual title. This practice is particularly noticeable in writings about English, French, Dutch and Afrikaans theatre in 19th century South Africa (see for example the writings of P.W. Laidler, F.C.L. Bosman and Jill Fletcher), where descriptions (names) of companies tended to vary considerably, and the only fixed element would often be the motto. Many companies from the period are thus only identified by and discussed under their mottoes in this encyclopaedia as well.
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