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FESTIVALS OF THEATRE READINGS (article first published : 2005-10-20)

The Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) has announced the finalists in this year’s NLDTF/PANSA Festivals of Contemporary Theatre Readings, which will take place in three cities over consecutive weekends in November.

The aims of the Festivals – sponsored by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and the Royal Netherlands Embassy (RNE) – are to generate original South African theatre works, to provide a platform for these works to reach the attention of theatre producers, and to work towards full-scale productions of the winning plays.

The finalists in the one and two-hander category are: Hans Pienaar (Gauteng) with Double Bill; Phillipa Yaa de Villiers-Venter (Gauteng) with Where the Children Live and Mike van Graan (W Cape) with his script, Mixed Metaphors. The panel of judges in KwaZulu-Natal comprises Veronica Baxter, Tamar Meskin and Edmund Mhlongo. This festival will take place at The Catalina Theatre, Wilson’s Wharf on November 12 and 13.

KwaZulu-Natal will also be represented in Western Cape where the judges - Saartjie Botha, Mandla Mbothwe and Malika Ndlovu – included among the finalists in the contemporary SA comedy/satirical drama category Ashwin Singh’s Duped. This festival takes place in Cape Town and will be hosted at The Intimate Theatre, UCT from November 18 to 20.

The Gauteng event takes place at The Actors Centre at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, Braamfontein from November 24 to 27.

The judges were impressed with the range of scripts received and stressed how important the project is to stimulate theatre literacy, audience development, partnerships and collaboration, as well as develop new writing for SA theatre. Each of the writers has been given a substantial subsidy to fund rehearsals, actors’ and directors’ fees and the general production of the playreadings.

An important component of the festivals is the discussions that follow the staged reading of each work. These encourage constructive feedback and debate around theatre aesthetics, functions and forms.

There is substantial prize money available for each festival– various awards will be presented and will be known as the NLDTF/PANSA awards: Best Writer (as selected by the panellists) will receive R30,000; runner-up will receive R15,000; Best Director will receive R10,000 and the Audience winners will receive R15,000 each.

A full schedule will be available shortly. All enquiries to the PANSA Office on 011 492 3211 or pansa@artslink.co.za




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