national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, March 24, 2014


The Writers’ Guild of South Africa (WGSA) continues its monthly gatherings in Durban tonight with a knowledge-share session entitled, Perspective: Techniques for Expanding the Writer’s Scope, conducted by Debbie Lutge.

Currently an Associate Professor in the Drama Studies Programme: Department of Drama and Production Studies, Lutge also serves as HOD of the Drama Studies Department. Under her leadership the department has become one of the most industrious and productive drama departments in the country.

As a theatre practitioner, Prof Lutge has worn many caps, including: published academic and poet, performed playwright, dancer, stage combat director and choreographer, professional acting coach, award-winning performer and director. She has served as a regional professional theatre judge for her 10th year, first as an FNB Vita Awards Regional Judge in KwaZulu-Natal (2001) until the demise of this forum, and currently serving as a Mercury Durban Theatre Awards Judge.

Lutge’s directing credits are numerous and cross genres in a diverse mix of works, many staged for the first time in South Africa. Beginning her career as a child model-turned dancer and actress, she went on to work in the industry as a writer, performer and director both in South Africa and in the USA. Her initial passion for performance changed direction as her focus turned to her work as playwright, poet and director.

She has a BA with distinction and BA (Hons) from the University of Natal, Durban as well as an MA & MFA (3.8 GPA) in Theatre Studies from Kent State University in the United States of America, both obtained within three years, where she was awarded the Performer of the Year Trophy in 1996, the Graduate Student Senate Creativity Award, and the Coach-House Theatre Award for performance excellence.

Other highlights of her sojourn to America included working as an Intercultural Educational Contributor on School Notes on The Dybbuk, staged at The Great Lakes Theatre Complex; performances at The Cleveland Playhouse, and working as Assistant Director under New York equity director Lenny Pinna on The Serpent. This was mounted to commemorate 25 years since the Kent State Shootings. Additionally, she was certified in stage combat in rapier and dagger, quarterstaff, and hand-to-hand stage combat with the American Society for Fight Directors in 1996.

After teaching for three years at Kent State University, Lutge returned to the Durban University of Technology to resume her place as a South African educator. She is credited with initiating Campus Street Theatre, with founding a biannual New Director’s Festival, a New Playwright’s Festival of Play Reading, and a Children’s Theatre Festival that links each year with the Celebrate Durban Week in September.

Debbie and Lance Lutge founded The Research in Theatre/Television Education (R.I.T.E.) Studio together as a means to encourage the entrepreneurial artistic spirit of young South African artists entering the professional arena. Further, she currently serves as a director for two section 21 companies RITE Studios and The Twist Company (a Dutch/South African Initiative) as well as being a board member of the latter.

The workshop will be presented this evening (Monday, March 24) at 18h00. at Ike’s Books, 48a Florida Road, Morningside, Durban. Bookings essential on email: Cover Charges: R20 to be paid at the door (WGSA Members / Students with valid student card / Affiliated organisation enter free).