“…want die teater is die barometer van ’n gemeenskap…”

Carel Trichardt has one of those rare and enviable qualities of being liked. He is personable and caring. As such he not only honed his skills as an actor, but he has also taken time to help others: teaching students at the University of Pretoria… eventually becoming Head of Department. He has campaigned for actor’s rights, becoming an active member of and later chairman of the South African Film and Theatre Union. For some years he also chaired the Theatre Benevolent Fund.

Essentially, he is an actor and has the distinction of being the first and only actor at NAPAC when the Performing Arts Councils established their Natal arm. He had been through the rigours of Prof. Elizabeth Sneddon’s training at the University of Natal and then auditioned for NAPAC. He got the job! The only job! It was in Natal too that he met his wife Petru Wessels who has shared his life for more than half a century.

Carel has stories reaching back to the early formative years of Afrikaans theatre, of when Hendrik Hanekom toured the country playing the role of Paul Kruger; of the days when actors travelled to every dorp, coast to coast, sleeping under the stars but telling those who asked, “We’ll be staying in the Royal Hotel,” because in those days, every dorp had a Royal Hotel. Carel has been directed by Anna Neethling Pohl, by Francois Swart, cast in P.G. du Plessis first play; played alongside the finest in Afrikaans theatre history, names like Cobus Rossouw and James Noval.

His story is engaging and a valuable chronicle of the life of a highly regarded professional South African theatre man.

In this interview all questions are answered in Afrikaans.