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PLAYWRITING WORKSHOP COURSE (article first published : 2006-12-15)

Sancta (South African National Community Theatre Association) has received a grant of R50,000 from The Arts and Culture Trust for a playwriting educational project aimed at developing emerging writers.

Over the last two years an increasing number of community groups have been presenting original plays with South African themes. This has been particularly apparent at the annual Sancta One Act Play Festivals. While some scripts have been newly written, several have been developed from a workshop process.

The adjudicators of both the Sancta festival and the new annual SA One-Act Playwriting Competition have endorsed Sancta's commitment to assist these emerging dramatists to develop properly structured scripts, which inevitably will result in better developed productions. Actors, directors and technical crew will also benefit from a polished script.

A panel of judges will select six scripts to be developed over three months to be ready in time for the 28th Sancta festival in 2008. The various workshops will be conducted by people with expertise in their fields both from within and outside Sancta's ranks.

Sancta is calling for applications for this workshop project from prospective writers who are South African citizens.

The work must be a new South African original work and should not have been published or performed before. If a production has been performed before, full details must be provided and Sancta and the judging panel will have the final say on whether it can be accepted.

Sancta will have first option on producing and publishing the play (either singly or in a collection). The finished production will not be allowed to be produced at all prior to the 28th Sancta festival - probably July/August 2007. Should this happen it will be immediately disqualified for production.

An initial draft script of 15 minutes must be presented to the panel of judges, to which writers may attach a half-page annexure with any further details on the proposed script. This script will ultimately be developed into a production running a maximum of 45 minutes. There must be at least two speaking parts and the script must have a distinct storyline. The use of music and dance is permissible, but may not exceed more than half the length of the production. The scripts must be primarily in English/Afrikaans, but the use of additional languages for emphasis/effect is permissible.

Scripts must preferably be typed, loose leaf with all pages numbered. Handwritten scripts will be considered if the writer advises the circumstances as to why it could not be typed. Full name, address, age and contact details (tel/fax/e-mail) should be provided.

As the workshops will be held in Johannesburg, writers must have the means to reach and pay for their accommodation in Johannesburg over a weekend. The cost of the course will be R150, payable in advance (or in monthly instalments as arranged with Sancta). Sancta will sponsor the balance of the cost of the course with the grant money from ACT.

Scripts must be submitted to The National Vice Chair, Sancta, PO Box 659 Allensnek, 1737, by December 20 2006. Entries that do not meet, or exceed the requirements as outlined above or arrive later than December 20 will not be considered. Scripts will not be returned and only successful applicants will be advised. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Sancta and the judging panel will choose a number of scripts for the initial three-month phase, during which they will be further developed in various drafts to a 30-minute script at weekly/bi-monthly sessions as required. This will include stage and technical directions. At the end of the initial stage, up to six scripts will be chosen to be finally developed for a further three months into plays with a maximum running time of up to 45 minutes in all aspects of the production, so that they will be ready to be staged at the 28th Sancta Annual Festival in July/August 2007.

All enquiries and script applications to Noel Mc Donald, PO Box 659, Allensnek 1737 or 873 Bokspoor Return, Allensnek, Roodepoort, 1725. Contact details phone 011 475 3584 (h) or 083 309 4315 or fax 086 673 3193 or email: sanata@artslink.co.za or visit www.sancta.org.za




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