The power of South African Theatre and story-telling

The origins of South African theatre can be found in the rich and ancient oral tradition of indigenous South Africans.

The folk tales around the fires, with their drama, and an audience ranging from the very young to the very old.

READ: Meet John Kani, a legend of South African theatre

Performances on stage came much later.

The formal South African theatre tradition dates as far back as the 1830s when Andrew Geddes Bains’s Kaatje Kekkelbek or Life among the Hottentots was performed in 1838 by the Grahamstown Amateur Company.

Originally, the white South African theatre was heavily influenced by 20th-century missionaries, who made an important contribution to a tradition of theatre when they introduced drama in education.

Their themes were not only staged versions of biblical teachings but also didactic plays located in South Africa.

To discuss the history, Eusebius McKaiser spoke to Actress and Director Dorothy Ann Gould who says South African theatre is alive and well.

But it is something that none of us can put our finger on why one show will do well amazingly and another not.

Dorothy Ann Gould, Actress and Director

She adds that in ancient Greece, citizens were fined if they didn't go to the theatre as it was deemed so important. She says the play she is in deals with grieve and loss.

All the plays I have been to see recently are extremely important for us to control, manage and understand what is happening in our environment.

Dorothy Ann Gould, Actress and Director

Listen below to hear why Dorothy Ann Gould says South African theatre is important...


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