Setting a Stage for the Community: Integrating Community Outreach with the Formal Stage

Johan Esterhuizen
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Using a number of illustrations from community theatre work done beyond the confines of the University but subsequently presented in the H.B.Thom Theatre Complex, the paper will explore the positive experience of this integrated approach. The apartheid history of the Institution and consequently its theatre has made this integration all the more important in redressing past injustices. It could also serve as a model for a greater sense of mobility between community based work and the utilisation of formal theatre spaces.

Keywords: Formal theatre spaces, Integrating the community
Stream: Art in Communities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Setting a Stage for the Community

Johan Esterhuizen

Director: H.B. Thom Theatre, Department of Drama, University of Stellenbosch
South Africa

I am lecturer in the Drama Department charged largely with planning and co-ordination of the practical theatre arts course. This ranges from stage acting and directing to the electronic media course and theatre administration for both under and post-graduate students. I am also Director of the 430-seat University theatre complex. I have spent a career in the theatre, apart from a teaching stint at Forest School, London in the 70's. Before joining the University I was Head of Drama at the Cape Performing Arts Board. Although I still frequantly direct for the stage - and was awarded the Sanlam Best Director Award in 2004 - my passion lies in inter-active and community based theatre. I am part of a "seminar squad" which has met in various African countries since 1999 and is sponsored by DAAD and the Bayreuth African Insitute. I enjoy discussion forums immensely and try sharing my experiences with fellow academics, students and a range of theatre practitioners.

Ref: A06P0144