Universiteit van Stellenbosch Drama Departement

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The name

("University of Stellenbosch Drama Department") Originally called the Universiteit van Stellenbosch Departement Drama ("University of Stellenbosch Department of Drama") , but since 2008 known the University is formally known as Stellenbosch Universiteit or Stellenbosch University, hence the name of the department is now Stellenbosch Universiteit Drama Departement (Stellenbosch University Drama Department).

Background

The Department traces its origins to the informal elocution lessons offered on campus from 1903, which in turn led to the speech classes presented formally by the Music Conservatoire from 1921. In 1949 Speech, Recitation and Stagecraft was recognised as a fully fledged B.A. subject and the young Robert Mohr did remarkable work in this field.


Founding of the Department of Drama

In 1961 the University appointed the well-known Flemish director and lecturer, Fred Engelen, as the first professor in drama and head of an independent Drama Department in South Africa. Under his guidance the H.B. Thom Theatre was opened in 1996 as a theatre for Stellenbosch and as a training centre, and a number of Flemish and Dutch staff members were appointed, including his wife, the famous actress Tine Balder, Benoni de Haeck and Jos Willemse. He also appointed a young Emile Aucamp as the theatre technician.

After Engelen's unexpected death in 1967, the Department was run for while by Jocelyn de Bruyn, along with Prof. H. Trumpelmannfrom the German Department, before former journalist and critic Fred le Roux took over as head in 1969.

After Le Roux's retirement in 1977, Herman Pretorius - a former student and a lecturer in Drama in Education in the Education Faculty, was appointed to the position. During this period of exceptional activity, inspired by people such as Herman Pretorius, Ben de Haeck, Pat Harvey, Johann van Heerden, Chris Goetsch, Noel Roos, Marie Kruger, Emile Aucamp and Elaine Aucamp, the Department grew strongly in terms of stature, student numbers and courses offered. Under Pretorius's leadership a number of areas of specialization were introduced. Most noticeable perhaps was an influential cabaret programme which introduced the notiuon and practice of Afrikaans "Kabaret" to the country, developed and honed with the help of Hennie Aucamp, Johann van Heerden, Arnold Blumer, Jannie Hofmeyr, and others.

In 1988 a specifically research-orientated programme was also introduced with the appointment of a theatre researcher Temple Hauptfleisch in 1988, who not only brought the South African Theatre Journal to Stellenbosch, but also founded the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies in 1991. The period also saw the beginnings of an expanded programme of post graduate courses and an increase in student numbers. Pretorius left the University in 1994 after 16 years as head of the Department.

At this stage the University departed from its practice of appointing permanent heads of departments in favour of a system of departmental chairpersons. After serving as acting chair for a period, Temple Hauptfleisch was promoted to full professor and elected by the staff as the first Chair of the Department of Drama for the period 1996-2005. Staff in this period included ***

The Department now continued its development of its post-graduate and research profiles, with post-graduate student numbers in particular growing rapidly.

During the period 1995-2000 the Department (like the rest of the University) had to undertake a radical process of restructuring in order to adapt to the new conditions prevailing in the country and the academic sphere. In this time staff numbers were substantially reduced and the old degree courses were converted to more focused and intensive training programmes. There was also considerable pressure to provide career-orientated training. It was during this phase that the postgraduate component was expanded considerably, while the courses in technical and management training were professionalized and made far more rigorous and focused.

Gradually, particularly after 2000, the department continued to grow and in 2006 Hauptfleisch stepped down as Chair to concentrate on research and publication.

Marie Kruger was elected as Chair of the Department in his place, and built further on the programmes developed in the previous years, not only introducing new programmes, but also continuing to emphasize the post-graduate programmes. Because of a positive change in tertiary education funding policies, the staff and student numbers had doubled by 2010, with the post-graduate component once again being the point of maximum growth. Kruger was appointed an Associate Professor in

Over the years hundreds of talented and famous people passed through the Department as students and lecturers. They have made all kinds of important contributions towards the development of a dynamic South African theatre and media industry at the artistic as well as administrative and technical levels. Among the well-known names that have made an impact over the years are Limpie Basson, Emile Aucamp, Franz Marx, Mees Xsteen, Antoinette Kellermann, Johan Esterhuizen, Annelize van der Ryst, Eben Cruywagen, Sybil Coetzee, Helene Truter, Duncan Johnson, Ilse Roos, June van Mersch, Peter Holden, Isadora Verwey, Antoinette Pienaar, Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, Chris Vorster, Kobus Roussouw, Mark Graham, Christa Myburgh, Margit Meyer-Rödenbeck, and many others.

This is the oldest of the three original Afrikaans-language university based drama training institutions in the country, and has played a significant role in the development of the theatre industry in the country. It had its origins in the Stellenbosch Conservatoire of Music, where classes in speech and elocution were introduced in 1913. This gradually developed to formal course in speech under *** in 193*?, with formal plays being put on as part of the training programme. In 19** this evolved into a B.A subject*? Taught by Miss **** and Mr Robert Mohr, with mr Mohr’s fine productions being particularly memorable. It was in fact he who introduced the foirst BA degree with Drama as a subject. In 196*, when Mr Mohr left Stellenbosch for the University of Cape Town, the University appointed the Belgian director and teacher Fred Engelen as first chair of the new Department of Drama. Prof Engelen brought in a number of specialists including his wife, the actress Tine Balder, theatre manager Jos Willemse and director and actor/director Benoni de Haeck. Having originally been housed in the Hollandse Saal (“Dutch Hall”) of the old Chemistry Department, the Department in 1966 acquired the H.B. Thom Theatre complex, with Emile Aucamp as first technician. In 1966* after Prof Engelen’s unexpected death, the Department was briefly run by Prof **Trümpelmann * of the German Department, before Prof Fred le Roux was appointed head and director of the theatre in 196*. He retired in 1979*?, to be replaced by Herman Pretorius, under whose rule the Afrikaans “kabaret” was developed and honed with the help of Hennie Aucamp, educational theatre gained a strong foothold and the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies was founded by Temple Hauptfleisch. In 1995 Pretorius resigned and was replaced by Hauptfleisch. In 2006 Marie Kruger was elected as Chair, while Temple Hauptfleisch became the full-time director of the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies.

The staff

The permanent the staff over the years have featured Jo Gevers, Gisela Taeger, Rina Botha, ****, Johann van Heerden, Noel Roos, Christopher Goetsch, Juanita Swanepoel, Marie Kruger, Johan Esterhuizen, Ilona Frege, Kobus Roussouw, Kole Omotoso, Samantha Pienaar, Elrina Marais, Albert Snyman, Abduragman Adams, Mareli Pretorius, Zoettje Hofmeyr, Petrus du Preez, Marthinus Basson, Antoinette Kellerman, Samantha Pienaar, *. In 2001 the Nigerian born theatre academic and writer/director Kole Omotoso was appointed as a second professor in the Department for a three year contract (2001-2003) and in 2002 Julian Smith (a Vice Rector of the University) was also made a professor in the Department. In 2004 Edwin Hees became an associate professor in charge of the theory and film courses and post-graduate supervision. In addition, the department has always also made use of prominent figures from the industry as lecturers and guest directors.


Alumni

Theatre personalities who have studied there include Limpie Basson, Esther van Ryswyk, Wilma Stockenström, Pieter Fourie, Johann van Heerden, Johan (JJ) Fourie, Franz Marx, Woutrine Theron, Laurika Rauch, Roberta Durrant, Johan Esterhuizen, Antoinette Kellerman, , Dawid Minnaar, Elsabe Daneel, Ilse Roos, Casper de Vries, Herman Binge, Antoinette Pienaar, Charl-Johan Lingenfelder, Paul du Toit, Chris Vorster, Nina Swart, Ilana Africa, Duncan Johnstone, June Van Mersch, Anton Luitingh, Jenny Stead, Gaerin Hauptfleisch, Jaco Bouwer, Neels van Jaarsveld, Stian Bam. Among the later academic alumni are puppetry and voice specialist Marie Kruger, radio specialist Eben Cruywagen, film specialists Keith Bain, Julia Cain , and André Crous, theatre for development specialist Christopher Odhiambo Joseph and the critics and historians Yvette Hutchison, Johann van Heerden and Petrus du Preez.


The curriculum over the years

Facilities

Sources

For more information

See the Departmental website at http://www.sun.ac.za/Drama

See also

HB Thom Theatre

Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies

South African Theatre Journal

Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Media and Performance (ESAT)

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