South African Institute of Theatre Technology

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Created in 1969 by theatre technicians and technical personnel working in theatre, headed by P.P.B. Breytenbach, Michal Grobbelaar, Anthony Farmer, Mannie Manim, Walter Smit, and others. The organisation came into being due to the lack of status and acknowledgement of the contribution of technical personnel to the stage craft. Michal Grobbelaar was elected as the first president withP.P.B. Breytenbach as the vice president. Grobbelaar remained president of the institute till his retirement in 19**.

The Southern African Institute of Theatre Technology

In 1995 the institute widened its scope to be more inclusive and renamed itself the Southern African Institute of Theatre Technology.


The aims of the Institute include setting technical standards for the industry, the distribution of information and know-how (lately through a data-base accessable via Internet), further training for employed theatre technicians, and the training programmes for theatre technical students at Universities and Technikons. The original idea was to train people itself, utilizing in-service training at theatres such as the Nico Malan Theatre in Cape Town, but this did not get of the ground. At the annual conference a motion was passed to appeal to the Department of National Education to start a course in theatre technology at the Witwatersrand Technical College. This was followed by a similar course at the Cape Town Technical College and also at the Pretoria Technical College. Later some University Departments also offered diploma and degree courses in aspects of stage management, design and technology (e.g. Rhodes, Stellenbosch, Wits, Natal, Potchfstroom, OFS).

Conferences and symposia

The Institute also arranged occasional national and international symposia for theatre technology over the years. The first took place in 1974 at the Nico Malan Theatre in 1974 and the second in 1979. The 1974 symposium was attended by 500 people who were addressed by the world famous British lighting expert, Francis Reid. The second symposium was held in 1976 and the third held in 1979 had Elizabeth Sweetling, arts advisor for the South Australian government as guest speaker. SAITT is affiliated to the International Theatre Institute (ITI)/ (International Institute for Theatre Technology?**)

The SAITT-award

The SAITT-award was instituted to recognize the lifetime achievement of someone who has contributed significantly to the South African theatre industry. In 1976 it went to P.P.B. Breytenbach. *****.


Jan Nel in Temple Hauptfleisch, 1985 [JN]

SACat: A union catalogue of items held by Southern African libraries.

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