The Adam Small Theatre Complex at Stellenbosch University (SU) was officially opened at a renaming ceremony on the Stellenbosch campus on Friday (23 November 2018). The University's renovated and expanded theatre complex was renamed after the late Adam Small, an award-winning poet and playwright. This name change forms part of a process of visual redress and renewal of public spaces, symbols, buildings and facilities at SU.
Small received an honorary doctorate from SU in 2015.
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The Adam Small Theatre complex is a multifunctional facility that includes the large auditorium in the complex (until now known as the HB Thom Theatre), a seminar room and a smaller laboratory theatre. Although the name HB Thom Theatre will no longer be used, it will be contextualised in the refurbished building. The adjacent Drama Department will now for the first time functionally join the theatre complex.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor, said the renaming was about recognition, redress and reconciliation.
“We are naming this theatre complex after Adam Small to recognise him as one of our greatest thinkers and authors, to right some of the wrongs done to him and other victims of apartheid, and to heal the wounds of the past … to bring together again those torn asunder by what Adam Small himself called an 'evil system'".
Small wanted to study at SU, but couldn't do so because of Apartheid.
Describing Small as someone with a moral conscience and a critical voice during Apartheid, De Villiers said SU was grateful and proud to be associated with his rich legacy.
“We would like to see the vision of human dignity and healing justice realised," he added.
After the renaming ceremony, guests were treated to musical performances by artists Natalia Da Rocha and members of the Applauz Arts Initiative. They paid tribute to Adam Small using some of his published and unpublished poems. Guests also had the opportunity to take a walkabout through the theatre complex.