08 July 2021 | Story Rulanzen Martin | Photo Supplied
For Prof Anthea van Jaarsveld, the balance between science, theoretical and practical experience is important for a balanced industry.

Her unique approach to Drama and Theatre Arts makes Prof Anthea van Jaarsveld the most suitable person to take over the reins as Head of the UFS Department of Drama and Theatre Arts. Prof Van Jaarsveld was officially appointed as head of this special department this year. 

The Department of Drama at the UFS is one of the biggest in the country, and according to Prof Van Jaarsveld it is also the best, because the department produces some of the finest in the industry. Her main goal as head of department is to bring about a subtle change in emphasis that will ultimately make a real contribution to employability, a greater variety of job opportunities, and practice-orientated research. “My ultimate goal is therefore an approach within which academy and practice will find each other for the benefit of both,” says Prof Van Jaarsveld.

Science, theatre and drama collide 

Prof Van Jaarsveld has a scientific approach to drama and theatre arts. She never acted professionally. It is precisely from a scientific perspective that her knowledge of the theorising and contextualisation of drama text, theatre concepts, and the film industry is applied in order to maintain a balance in a profession where the emphasis on practical experience is overwhelming.  

She studied Drama at the UFS and was also employed as Drama teacher at Eunice Girls’ School. Following this, she started working as lecturer in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch. “There I focused on the Drama genre in Afrikaans; therefore, I never actually left drama and theatre,” says Prof Van Jaarsveld. In 2018, she returned to the Department of Drama. 

Upon her return to the department where she started her studies, her aim is to ensure that the department again complies with the total package of the UFS and to make sure “that our students are prepared for a multifaceted and dynamic industry on a practical level”. 

Prof Van Jaarsveld took over from Prof Nico Luwes who retired in 2019. 

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