What is ESAT?

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The Encyclopaedia of South African Theatre, Film, Media and Performance (ESAT) is an open access, internet based interactive resource for theatre, media and performance researchers interested in the evolution and history of theatre and performance in South Africa. Created in conjunction with the University of Stellenbosch's Libopedia, it uses the Wiki format and programmes.

The aims of the ESAT encyclopaedia are to create a comprehensive database on the history and nature of these art forms in South Africa and make it available as a general reference work and resource for the use of researchers, students, artists, journalist and all other interested parties. This first version of the encyclopaedia was originally intended to be a published mini-encyclopaedia and reference work called A Companion to South African Theatre and Performance (COMSAT) and is derived from a database collated by Temple Hauptfleisch and the Centre for Theatre and Performance Studies (CENTAPS)at Stellenbosch (with the help of a large number of associates and assistants) over the course of twenty years (1990-2010) (For more on this see Background, origins and history, Contributors and Acknowledgements).

The encylopaedia's editors invite the academic and artistic community to help in expanding and improving on this material in order to make which would make the results of academic and other research more readily accessible to the general reader and the theatre enthusiast. (For more on this see Updating ESAT.) In this sense the basic aim is rather to condense and collate available information on all South African theatre and performance forms (as far as they have been documented) in one place and in a handy and accessible digital format, rather than to undertake any comprehensive new research. Happily a great deal of little known and/or forgotten information has in fact come to the fore during the course of this project, and can be made available, though that was not the fundamental aim of this first version of ESAT.

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