Unisa Little Theatre


In March 1940, British citizen Norah Collough visited South Africa with the aim of developing a children’s art centre for the Department of Public Works. After a suitable venue was secured, Collough approached architect Norman Eaton to work on the design of the centre.

The first block of the building was completed according to the plans set out by Eaton in 1941. Discrepancies regarding the functionality and spatial requirements of the building delayed further construction until 1946. Meanwhile, in 1943, Mr Le Roux Smith became the new director of the centre and developed an extensive theatre development program.

In 1957, the theatre fell under the Jurisdiction of the Pretoria Teachers Training College. Due to lack of funds and similar discrepancies, the theatre complex was only fully completed in 1961. In the same year, the completed building was officially handed over to Dr Jordaan, Dean of the Pretoria Teachers Training College at the time, and the name of the theatre officially became the Kleinteater/Kunssentrum.
In 1993 plans by Maree and Els Architects concerning alterations with regards to maintenance and general upkeep were approved, and the alterations to both departments were completed by August 1994.

In 1995 Unisa attained ownership of the Kleinteater/ Kunssentrum. It was declared a provincial heritage site in 2004, and the official name was changed to the Unisa Little Theatre. Further alterations complying with the requirements of SAHRA (South African Heritage and Resources Agency) were made to the interior of the theatre.

Development initiatives

From January 2011 the Unisa Little Theatre has been mainly involved in the development of a theatre development plan for the historically disadvantaged. This ties in with the National Strategic Transformation Plan for 2015.

Providing amateur dramatic societies from disadvantaged communities with the opportunity to further develop their abilities, the theatre also assists students by employing freelance staff from the Drama and Arts departments of the Tshwane University of Technology, University of Pretoria and various private Performing Arts colleges.

Last modified: 2016/10/09