Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Fugard mss., 1918–1997, consist of journals, correspondence, memorabilia, and drafts and manuscripts of writings of South African playwright Athol Fugard. Fugard was born June 11, 1932 in Middelburg, Cape Province, South Africa. He began writing in 1950, at first short stories and a novel that he subsequently destroyed, and then as a journalist. Fugard attended institutions in South Africa that include Port Elizabeth Technical College from 1946–1950 and the University of Cape Town from 1950–1953. He left the university in 1953, however, to join the crew of a British tramp steamer from Sudan and completed a round–the–world voyage in 1954. He wrote freelance articles in Port Elizabeth, South Africa for the Evening Post, and was a reporter for the South African Broadcasting Corporation in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town from 1955–1957. In 1956 he married South African actress Sheila Meiring and developed an interest in writing plays. Together they founded the Circle Players, a theatre workshop, in Cape Town and the performance of his first play, Klaas and The Devil, which is unpublished, took place there also in 1956. Between 1958–1989 many of his plays were performed by various theatrical organizations that he co–founded, including New Africa Group, Serpent Players, Ijingle Company in London, and the Space Experimental Theatre in Cape Town. His plays have been performed internationally from Cape Town, South Africa, to London, New York, Los Angeles, and Brazil. Most have been published and a few have been adapted for BBC Television and for film. His works often illustrate the political and social dilemmas of living under the apartheid system in South Africa. Theater took on new direction through Fugard as he directed, acted, wrote, and composed plays with the actors who performed in them.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence and memorabilia (1918–1997); II. Journals, diaries and notebooks (1960–1997); III. Writings, including notes, drafts, and final scripts arranged alphabetically by title, as well as some unpublished short stories, and an article written for the New York Times on theatre in Africa.

Correspondents in the collection include: Lindsay Gordon Anderson, Geraldine Aron, Mary Benson, Sidney Bernstein, John Berry, Anthony Charles Fleischer, Athol Fugard, Sheila Fugard, Margie Goldsmith, Nadine Gordimer, Alan Bede Griffiths, Ben Kingsley, Leon Major, Edris Makward, Robin Midgley, Yvonne Mitchell, Zakes Mokae, John Nassivera, Maurice Podbrey, Irving Schneider, Paul Scofield, Leslie James Seth–Smith, Maria Tucci, Dennis Walder, Gerald Clifford Weales, and Liza Williams.

The writings represented by notes, drafts, outlines, or occasionally final scripts are: Blood Knot; Boesman and Lena ; The Captain's Tiger; The Coat; Cousins, A Memoir; Dialogue With a Madonna; Dimetos; Drivers; The Drummer; The Guest: An Episode in the Life of Eugene Nielen Marais ; Hello and Goodbye ; The Island; A Lesson From Aloes; Marigolds in August; Master Harold...and the Boys; Mille Miglia; My Children! My Africa!; My Life ; Nongogo; The Occupation; Orestes; People Are Living There; A Place with the Pigs; Playland; The Road to Mecca; Sizwe Banzi is Dead ; Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act ; Tsotsi (a novel); Valley Song; and short stories "Father is a Thorn Tree," "Night–Call," "Pavane to a Dead Princess," and "The Two Friends."

A finding aid is available.

Purchase. Howard Woolmer. Revere, PA 1999.

Collection size: 1,200 items

Related manuscripts: Fugard mss. II, Fugard mss. III

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.