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Saturday, March 16, 2013


(Identical twins Bongamusa and Musawenkosi Shabalala appear in “Up In The Sky”)

A vibrant line-up of live stage shows is on offer when Stable Theatre presents its annual Phambili Festival from March 22 to 24.

Six exciting productions share the limelight next weekend, along with a major book launch when Stable Theatre, in conjunction with the Twist Theatre development initiative, presents its Phambili Theatre Festival 2013.

The festival opens at Stable Theatre on March 22 at 17h00 with the launch of a new publication, New South African Playscripts 2012/2013, a compilation of two plays, Fikile and Save My Soul, created by the Twist group in association with professional writers, Neil Coppen and Themba Mkhoma.

This is the only publication in the country that includes scripts in English and isiZulu. This annual publication is shared freely with universities, drama schools, theatre groups and other interested parties. It is published by Twist Projects, and sponsored by the KZN Department of Arts and Culture and the National Arts Council.

The book launch will be followed immediately by a performance of Fikile at 18h00. Emuhle All Artists have been working with Neil Coppen on this new work, which sees a recent graduate returning home to honour a marriage proposal made by her sweetheart several years ago. We follow her journey home, where she is confronted by a series of choices which will shape her future.

She must learn to navigate the tricky terrain of traditional values, family affairs as well as past loves and secrets that are re-awoken with her arrival back into the community. Directed by Bongani Baai and stage-managed by Londiwe Ngwazi, the play is performed by Pretty Ncayiyane, Londiwe Cele, Nomathemba Kawula, Sanelisiwe Mabine, Philile Mbili, Siphesihle Cele, Mzamo Mkhombe and S’fiso Chiliza.

A Twist information session fills the first theatre slot on March 23 from 10h00 to 12h00. Twist Theatre Development Projects is a Section 21 company and registered Not for Profit Organisation (NPO). It works with many Community Theatre Groups and this session is open to all such groups who would like to know more about Twist projects and its future plans.

Next up on the programme on March 23 at 14h00 is Footsteps, an exciting dance musical. This PACOFS production depicts two people deeply in love but who have to find a way of living together and overcoming family opposition to their relationship.

Up In The Sky, a Wushwini production created and performed by identical twins Bongamusa and Musawenkosi Shabalala with directorial support from Jerry Pooe takes the Stable Theatre’s festival stage on March 23 at 15h30. Separated by their father’s preference of - and support for - one to the detriment of the other, the brothers have lost the deep connection they had with each other. Decisions have to be made how to find each other again.

The last slot on March 23 at 17h00 is filled by Save My Soul . Performed by Dumisani Kubheka, Siphesihle Mazibuko, Nkululeko Buthelezi, Sifiso Shoba, Njabulo Sokhela, Sindisiwe Kheswa, Ntombifikile Mazibuko, Mandi Ndaba, Snethemba Mazibuko and Nqobile Hadebe, this piece depicts a death-row prisoner who is approached by a nun who aims to save his soul before his sad story of abuse and slavery unfolds before her. Conceived by Siyakha Performing Artists and mentored by Themba Mkhoma, the play has been directed by Dumisani Kubeka.

The final day’s programme (March 24) opens with a performance of the Intuba Art Development production, The Legend will Never Die at 12h30. This is a story which revolves around the life and time of the late SACP commander Chris Thembisile Hani. It shows how he was involved with the Mk soldiers in Angola where Mk soldiers talk about the great hero till he was assassinated. This powerful story is told through monologues and original songs. Written and Directed by Xolani Dlongolo.

The next item on the bill on March 24 is The Blue Jacket at 14h00. This K-Cap production deals with the story of two half-brothers from different fathers. One is from Angola and the other is from South Africa. The two men meet after attending their mother’s funeral in order for them to decide about each other’s fate. The production is performed by Lucky Simayile and Ngcebo Cele, and runs for 45 minutes. It is written by David Stein and is based on the concept by LNCS.

The Phambili Festival ends with a reprisal of the dance musical, Footsteps, on Sunday at 15h30. Admission to Phambili Festival productions is on a Pay-What-You-Can basis. All are welcome. More information from Stable Theatre on 031 309 2513.

Stable Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of Ethekwini Municipality and the KZN Department of Arts and Culture.

March 22 at 17h00: New South African Playscripts 2012/2013, a compilation of two plays, Fikile and Save My Soul.
March 22 at 18h00: Fikile (Emuhle All Artists)
March 23 from 10h00 to 12h00: Twist information session
March 23 at 14h00: Footsteps (PACOFS)
March 23 at 15h30: Up In The Sky (Wushwini production)
March 23 at 17h00: Save My Soul (Siyakha Performing Artists)
March 24 at 12h30: The Legend will Never Die Intuba Art Development
March 24 at 14h00: The Blue Jacket (K-Cap)