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Wednesday, January 23, 2013


(Back: Roel Twijnstra: theatre judge and representing Twist; Gisele Turner: theatre judge and representing Going Places; Everson Ndlovu: winner: Musho management special mention award for Best Performer: Allegations; Mandisa Tshiqi: PANSA administrator; Lindi Drummond: sponsor LTJ Travel; Emma Durden: festival director and Fiona Suliman: sponsor: Suliman Selection

Front: Jemma Kahn: performer: The Epicine Butcher and other stories for consenting adults -Winner of Judges Award for Best Original Script (sponsored by Going Places) and joint winner of The Audience Favourite Award : Main (sponsored by Pansa) Nkosinathi Gaar: theatre judge and Siphesihle Cele: winner: Judges Award for outstanding performer in a fringe production)

The eighth annual PANSA Musho! Theatre festival of one and two person theatre, held at the Catalina Theatre in Durban from January 16 to 20, has been judged a “fantastic and startling success” – with full, enthusiastic houses, excellent new theatre and wonderful feedback from participants and audiences.

Musho! is extreme sport for theatre – a major festival held in Durban in January under rigorous conditions: Some 18 productions held in one venue over five days. Saturday sees nine productions held back-to-back: which is a challenge for the technical team, but fabulous for the audience to be able to watch virtually a continuous stream of back-to-back theatre.

This year saw two excellent productions from Zimbabwe looking at a country in crisis (Allegations and Half Empty / Half Full) and a topical production from London (Sometimes I Laugh like my Sister) which took a personal look at the death of journalists in the line of duty. The international productions shared the stage with pieces from throughout South Africa.

The festival comprise the Main festival; a New Voices programme; a children’s show (Fishy Fippers) two productions from the Twist Development programme; a show that was signed for the hearing impaired (The Spinster) and a Master-class for industry practitioners on Puppetry.

“Musho is a wonderful asset for Durban. It is very special and the range of work is quite incredible. In fact (as a performer from Johannesburg) I am quite jealous!” said Musho judge, Johannesburg theatre-maker, Nkosinathi Gaar.

Gaar joined Dutch / Durban writer / director Roel Twijnstra from Twist and Pansa KZN exec member and respected theatre practitioner and writer Gisele Turner. The judges looked at the festival pieces critically to provide professional feedback and affirmation.

The judges’ awards complement the audience vote in which every audience member participates in selecting the best productions.

“January is a great time to be doing this festival – it is an invigorating start to the year. Musho! helps new works by giving the companies’ constructive feedback in the form of peer reviews which are posted onto the Musho! website, and production photographs, and an awards system. It is useful in the development of new work, for the companies to be able to stage shows before a live audience,” says Musho Director, Emma Durden.

This year the productions covered a myriad of topics – from land-grabbing in Zimbabwe to contemplating the end of the world; from love to sibling rivalry; from super-heroes to poets; from justice to corruption; from birth to death; from racism to spinsterhood. There was also a touch of the whimsy in the form of mask theatre, puppetry and Japanese paper-play.

It was an intense, beautiful, challenging, and thought provoking five days.

Musho Awards:

Judges Award for outstanding performer in a fringe production: Siphesihle Cele in Fikile

Judges Award from Best Fringe Production: Mob Feel

Judges Award for Best performer (sponsored by LTJ travel): Cobus van Heerden – Le Chop TV

Judges Award for Best Original Script (sponsored by Going Places): The Epicene Butcher and Other Stories for Consenting Adults

The Suliman Family Selection Award: Le Chop TV - with Special Mention to The Spinster and The Epicene Butcher and Other Stories for Consenting Adult

The Audience Favourite Award: Fringe (sponsored by Pansa): Looking into the Abyss

The Audience Favourite Award: Main (sponsored by Pansa): A tie between Fishy Flippers and The Epicene Butcher and Other Stories for Consenting Adults

The Musho management special mention award for best performer: Everson Ndlovu from Zimbabwe production, Allegations.

The festival is organised by PANSA KZN, the Performing Arts Network of South Africa, with support from The Daily News, Ethekwini Municipality, KZN Department of Arts and Culture, Business and Arts South Africa, Twist, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Pro-Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

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