Willem de la Querra
Willem de la Querra(19**-) was a stage and film actor, theatre manager, technician and administrator. He was also a painter, author and poet.
Born and raised in George, he becamed enamoured with theatre and performance as a young boy when Pagel's Circus came to town, and he volunteered his services as a helper. He was fascinated by the performances of the clowns, and the spellbinding atmosphere of the performance.
He became a professional actor in 1945. At first he toured with the Johan Fourie Company, then in the early 50's he founded his own Koffiehuis touring company, playing in the Cape Province and South West Africa. For these shows he created the character of "Vaalwillem", an unkempt individual, in need of a haircut and decent clothes, and his wife, "Meraai", sharing their larger than life experiences with audiences.
At the age of 30, when his first child was on its way, he dissolved his company, to find a more 'stable' job as signwriter and later secretary to the Drama Department of the University of Stellenbosch. Employed as the Secretary, he was also the set builder and promotions man for the department.
Sign Writer: I remember as a 5 year old, doing many “Fish & Chips' shops signs; him on the ladder painting the signs, and me going up and down fetching terps & paint. Set Builder: We (I was about 12 years old) His performance, as an actor got him noticed by CAPAB, and led to a full time job as actor.
My sisters and I were tasked with binding the program booklets, walking the streets; me with placards front & back, & my older sister, Carin, ringing a bell! Painter: A man from George, he loved painting Aloes, which is endemic to the region. An Author, a poet. with the Drama Department at the University of Stellenbosch.
and later with the NTO. He started his own company in 1950. From 1965 to 1979 he was a permanent member of CAPAB Drama.
Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance
As set builder and technician, he built the set for the Shirley Ehlers and Johan van Jaarsvelt production of Lobola vir die Lewe, also acting in the play, which got him noticed by CAPAB, and led to a full time job as actor.
Die Geldpot theatre programme, 1980.
Private e-mail correspondence with Billy de la Querra, 8-10 June 2015.
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