|(back fltr) Mr. G. Hauptfleisch, Adv. D. Bosman
(front fltr) Mr. A. Maritz, Mrs. A. Ferns, Dr. J.C. de Villiers
Since the origin of the Klein Libertas Theatre it has been established as one of Stellenbosch’s cultural pillars and this role was expanded in the nineties into a strong community-oriented role. Presently it is not only known as an established music and theatre venue, but also as a reliable institution for the producing of educational productions for all ages that tours throughout the province. Looking back on the theatre’s history it shows remarkable growth, development and triumphs.
With funding from the Western Cape Department of Culture and Sport and the Stellenbosch Municipality several drama groups were established in Kayamandi and Khayelitsha. These groups increased from 3 in 2005 to 16 in 2011 and an annual drama festival is held where they can participate to showcase their work. Amateurs and interested parties are accommodated in productions and projects as far as possible - especially with the amateur/professional production, Ebenezer Pennieknyper, which ran during December 2012 for the third consecutive year as the Klein Libertas Theatre’s Christmas Season production. This is a true community production in which amateurs from the general public can participate. The Klein Libertas Theatre also offers a platform for the annual SR Drama Festival from the University of Stellenbosch and the Klein Libertas Teaterkoor is a community choir consisting of the broader Stellenbosch community that already have a successful year behind them. With their first annual concert, the choir received a standing ovation!
As usual the Klein Libertas Theatre also excelled at professional level during the past two years. Last year, Oom Anton by die see, directed by Juanita Swanepoel, was awarded the WOORDtroFee by an independent team of judges for best drama production at the US Woordfees. This production was made possible with financial support from the US Woordfees. Due to the very large cast this production could not be invited to other festivals. Die Ryk Weduwee was invited to play at the Innibosfees 2011 (Mpumalanga) after sold out performances at the Volksblad Festival and Aardklop Festival in 2010. Die Francois Toerien Show that also took shape at the KLT under Juanita Swanepoel's direction, is currently televised on KYKNET.
Audiomatik is responsible for the music performances at Klein Libertas Theatre and provides opportunities for emerging and established groups to perform at the theatre. The very successful RAMFEST (Real Alternative Music Festival) also took shape here and recently had its 6th successful festival in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth. During these festivals, in addition to the approximately 40 national bands acts in different genres, international groups are also invited. Audiomatik ensures a regular income for the theatre with the bands that regularly perform at the theatre.
During the past 18 months a lot of time and finances were spent to upgrade the theatre:
- tiles on the lobby floor
- insulation of the theatre
- sound proofing of the theatre
- enlarging the stage
- upgrading of the sound system
- a new roof for the outdoor stage
Final plans for the construction of a rehearsal room, sound studio and storage space is already approved and construction will begin soon.
Once the improvements to the theatre are finished, not only stage training but also training for radio work and the technical aspects of theatre will commence. The extra rehearsal space will make it possible to accommodate more productions and more rehearsals.
Finally, on behalf of the Section 21 company, a word of thanks to the loyal staff that manage the Klein Libertas Theatre. They are all always willing to go the extra mile and make the highly acclaimed activities for which the theatre is so well known, possible.
The Klein Libertas Theatre was founded on 5 April 1960 and is a section 21 company (registration number 2007/017484/08) since 2007. The theatre hosts several community projects, do informal training and produces 3-5 professional shows every year which are not only staged at the Klein Libertas Theatre but also perform at arts festivals (Volksblad, Aardklop, Innibos, Cederberg, Woordfees, Suidoosterfees, KKNK). These productions create an income for professional and amateur actors. Because of its quality and high standard of work, the KKNK appointed the Klein Libertas Theatre to produce children’s theatre shows as well as secondary school productions in the past.
Various national awards have been awarded to the theatre’s resident director, Juanita Swanepoel, amongst others a Kanna award (for direction) and Fleur du Cap. Numerous actors under her direction received nominations and awards for their acting and the theatre is known for its high-quality professional drama productions. In 2011 the theatre received a Fleur du Cap award for innovation in theatre.
Klein Libertas Theatre Mission
The Klein Libertas Theatre strives to serve the Stellenbosch community and surrounding area with cultural activities and the best in performing arts. The theatre would like to offer an opportunity to young, upcoming actors and theatre practitioners to become involved and establish meaningful contact with the wider theatre world.
It is the vision of the KLT
- That the theatre will play a leading role in all the different sections on which it is functioning namely the community-, children & youth -, amateur and professional theatre.
- To provide training in drama and theatre to the previously disadvantaged communities.
- To provide jobs to actors, directors and producers.
- To provide a facility where artists will feel secure and where they can come to develop their talents.