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Yerma ("Barren") is a Spanish play by Federico García Lorca[1] (1898-1936).

The original text

Lorca describes the play as "a tragic poem". It was written in 1934 and first performed on 29 December the same year in Spanish in the Teatro Español in Madrid, directed by Cipriano Rivas Cherif.

Translations and adaptations

Translated into English by James Graham-Lujan and Richard L. O'Connell. Published by New Directions, 1955.

Yerma : ’n dramatiese gedig in drie bedrywe en ses tonele, the translation into Afrikaans by Uys Krige of the original in Spanish by Federico García Lorca (1898-1936). Published in Standpunte, 6(3)-6(4) Mr-Jul 1952. 7(1) Oct 1952 and by HAUM, 1963. Awarded the Akademieprys for translated work, 1956.

A new English version by Ursula Rani Sarma published by Oberon Books in 2012.

Performance history in South Africa

1955: Performed in English by Cape Town Theatre Productions in Cape Town, Bellville, Paarl and Stellenbosch, with Lydia Lindeque in the lead, also starring Gavin Haughton, Lily-Jean Satusky, Celia van Zyl, Florence Norman and others. Produced by Pietro Nolte, costumes by Stephen de Villiers. According to J.C. Kannemeyer, the Afrikaans playwright Uys Krige revised the English text for the production, and rewrote the choric sections.

1966: Produced in Afrikaans in March 1966 by Universiteitsteater Stellenbosch in the Botha Hall, directed by Ben Dehaeck starring Helena Engelbrecht as Yerma and, among others, Carina Fick, Woutrine Theron, Mees Xteen, Piers Nicholson, Bie Engelen and Johan Esterhuizen. Decor by Pieter de Swardt and Elaine Aucamp.

1967: Presented by CAPAB Afrikaans Drama, using the Uys Krige text, directed by Belgian director Marc Leemans, opening in the Hofmeyr Theatre on 10 August. "Yerma" was played by Tine Balder and the rest of the cast included Johan Malherbe, Christine Basson, Nerina Ferreira, Woutrine Theron, Antoinette Terblanche, Gertie Smith-Visser, Charles Fryer and others. Decor designed by Francis Purnelle, costumes designed by Yen Pernath. Stage director and lighting Pieter de Swardt, choreography Marina Keet.

1979: Presented by PACOFS Drama in English in May 1979 in the Observatory Theatre, directed by Pieter Fourie. Decor and costumes designed by Raimond Schoop, music and songs composed by Laurie Potgieter, lighting designed by Andy Wood, masks designed and made by Leon de Bliquy. Sandra Kotzé as Yerma, also starring Anita de Jager, John Whiteley, Andy Wood, Anna Richter-Visser, Marie Pentz, Elizabeth Archer, Henry Mylne, Nico Liebenberg, Antoinette Kellermann, and others.

2001: Performed in Afrikaans at Aardklop in September. Produced by Hugo Theart, directed by Juanita Swanepoel, starring Nicole Holm as Yerma, Albert Maritz, Joanie Combrink, Susanne Beyers, Lida Botha, Johan Botha, Nina Swart, Francois Toerien, Lorraine Burger, Leanna Dreyer, Esther von Waltsleben. Lighting and set design by Kobus Rossouw, costume design by Elrina Marais. Original music composed and directed by Adriaan Brand.

2002: The same production performed from 16 to 19 Januarie the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre in Stellenbosch and at the KKNK in April with Deirdre Wolhuter and Christine Truter included in the cast.

2012: Produced in Afrikaans by the University of Stellenbosch Drama Department in August in the H.B. Thom Theatre, directed by Juanita Swanepoel. The cast included André Terblanche, Ninke Saunders, Shaun Peters, Alma Nel and others.

2015: Performed by the students of the Division of Dramatic Arts, Wits School of Arts, in the Wits Amphitheatre in April 2015, directed by Rajesh Gopie and using the new adapted version by Ursula Rani Sarma, and transposing the Spanish play into the remote and rural countryside of a Southern African village.


Vlaanderen. Jaargang 17. Christelijk Vlaams Kunstenaarsverbond, Roeselare 1968[2]

J.C. Kannemeyer, "Rykdom van Lorca se Yerma voer Krige dadelik mee" in Die Burger, 14 January, 2002.

CAPAB theatre programme 1967

PACOFS theatre programme, 1979.

Yerma Theatre programmes, 1955 and 2001.

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