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Wednesday, May 9, 2012


The drama studies department of the Durban University of Technology (DUT) is currently presenting a New Playwright’s Festival which runs until May 10.

“After founding the New Director’s Festival Phase I & II in 2001 and seeing the enormous strides this has undergone, I’m delighted by the prospect of a third year to present The New Playwrights Festival – a platform for new works by young unpublished playwrights,” says the festival’s founder, co-ordinator, and artistic director, Professor Debbie Lutge. “This New Playwright’s Festival I hope to see grow through the engagement and interaction of young first time writers with their public, their peers, academics, and industry practitioners.”

In this festival, actors carry scripts and read these manuscripts, sans costumes and elaborate sets, frequently merely seated, with the writer reading the stage directions. The audience is expected to visualize and therefore participate. It is the written text rather than the performance text, design elements or direction that holds the key.

“This forum aims to encourage new works by the youth and allows new South African works a voice,” continues Lutge. “The plays are short 15 minute pieces with the option to grow these plays to full one-act plays in the future. All the festival plays are potential short theatre scripts in their initial stages and still retain their draft format status, awaiting critical engagement to turn them into masterpieces.”

The audience is invited to feel free to share their response to these works in order to strengthen the artistic notions of potential future artistic leaders. Each play time is allocated 15 - 20 minutes with a 10 minute feedback session.

Productions are scheduled as follows:

May 8: Teakshania Chetty’s 05978321 (18h00 to 18h30); Lungelwa Radebe’s Broken Commandments (18h30 to 19h00); Charles Zulu’s Umemulo (19h00 to 19h30); Mbaliyethu Sithole’s Eish! (19h30 to 20h00). Critics Feedback (20h00 to 20h30)

May 9: Ndumiso Mhlongo’s Wandile (18h00 to 18h30); Zinhle Khanyile’s Invisible Companion ( 18h30 to 19h00); Phakama Dladla’s The Secret (19h00 to 19h30). Critics Feedback (19h30 to 20h00)

May 10: Sifanelesibonge Mtshali’s The Silence (18h00 to 18h30); Noluvuyo Solakhe’s As the World Turns (18h30 to 19h00); Professor Thembalethu Nqumako’s The Door (19h00 to 19h30). Critics Feedback (19h30 to 20h00)

The Playwright’s Festival takes place from May 8 to 10 in the Courtyard Theatre at DUT. Entrance is free.