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Thursday, October 24, 2013


Twist Theatre Development Projects has been provided with a lifeline through a new grant agreement signed with the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) for the 2013-2014 project cycle.

Twist’s outstanding work in the field of community theatre development since 2009 has been warmly welcomed by the professional arts community as well as in the communities in KwaZulu-Natal in which it works. Dr Emma Durden, the manager of the project, comments: “It is wonderful for us to receive this boost at a time when arts funding is hard to find. We are delighted that the NLDTF has come on board, and look forward to an exciting period of working with new community theatre groups around the province”.

This agreement with the NLDTF has allowed Twist to recruit four groups for the new programme cycle, which will span two years. These groups were selected after a month of meetings with different theatre groups around the KZN province. Experienced theatre actor, Bhekani Shabalala, who was on the provincial tour commented: “you can see that some of these groups have spent little time with people who have knowledge of the theatre scene but they are still able to present brilliant, powerful pieces. The groups who go to the local community theatre festivals share ideas, see where other groups are at, and raise the bar for their next performances.  It is so important that they get continued exposure to others so that they can continue to grow”.

The Twist programme bring together these selected community groups in ten projects each year , which exposes them to range of community festivals, professional festivals and skills-building workshops that focus on both artistic and administrative skills. “Without administrative and management skills, even the most outstanding performers and performances will struggle to survive,” comments Emma Durden. “Most of the eight groups that we have worked with in the past have grown to be able to carve a place for themselves on the local theatre landscape, and we are so pleased that we can offer this opportunity to four new groups”.

The groups in the 2013/2014 Twist programme include Afri Bulletin Arts Organisation from Hlabisa, Lashona Ilanga Youth Arts Creation from Mariannhill, Siyathuthuka Theatre Company from Lindelani north of Durban, and Izwi Youth Movement based at Mpophomeni near Howick. The new groups are looking forward to embarking on this journey with Twist, on a path to developing new skills, and building themselves into more sustainable, lasting organisations.

The first part of the new Twist cycle starts at the end of October, where the groups will come together in Durban for an induction workshop, and a session on workshopping new plays, led by the award-winning theatre-maker, Neil Coppen.

The groups will then participate in a skills exchange and sharing programme with the Stut Community Theatre group from the Netherlands, who will be performing in Durban courtesy of funding from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The NLDTF relies on funds from the proceeds of the National Lottery. The Lotteries Act and regulations guide the way in which NLDTF funding may be allocated. The NLDTF wants the grants to make a difference to the lives of all South Africans, especially those more vulnerable, and to improve the sustainability of the beneficiary organisations. Available funds are distributed to registered and qualifying non-profit organisations in the fields of charities; arts, culture and national heritage; and sport and recreation. By placing its emphasis on areas of greatest need and potential, the NLDTF contributes to South Africa’s development.