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Sunday, July 13, 2014


Twist Theatre Development Projects hosted the fifth edition of The Novel-Script project as part of the National Arts Festival which closes today (July 13).

In a dynamic professional writers’ development programme, the project brought together selected writers from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the Netherlands.

The starting point for the project was the novel, Sleepwalking Land by the acclaimed Mozambiquan author, Mia Couto, and writers developed theatre scripts inspired by this novel over an intensive week-long workshop. The finished scripts were presented at a free public performance.

The Project was presented in partnership with the National Arts Festival, and with funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF).

South African writers included multi Musho! Festival award-winning writer, Samson Mlambo, as well as Johannesburg-based Jessica Richards and scriptwriter and director, Ntshieng Mokgoro. Popular Dutch theatre writer and novelist, Roland Colastica, joined from the Dutch Antilles and experienced Dutch director, Roel Twijnstra, also joined the programme. Emma Durden was the South African director working on the project, which was mentored by the acclaimed poet and dramaturge Kobus Moolman.

Additional funding through Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) covered participation in the programme of Zimbabwean theatre director Daniel Maposa, the award-winning film, television and theatre writer, Leonard Matsa and exciting young writer Rudo Mutangadure, all of whom hail from Harare. This funding also allowed for the inclusion of the published Mozambiquan poet and short-story writer Rogério Manjate and the young director Maria Cambane from Maputo.

At the outset of this unique project, Emma Durden commented: “It is a rare opportunity to bring writers from different countries and different perspectives together to hone their craft and to work from a common starting point. We look forward to the creation of some exciting new theatre scripts and to nurturing cross-border collaborations that last long into the future.”

The public performance of the new work was brought to life by a strong team of actors including Michael Gritten, Bheki Khabela, Bhekani Shabalala and Pranesh Maharaj. Many of these actors are Grahamstown festival veterans with Ovation Awards under their belts, as well as being The Mercury Durban Theatre Award winners.

In addition to this exciting project, the four community groups from KwaZulu-Natal who are involved in the Twist programme also took part in the Festival’s Remix-Lab programme, a ten day immersion into the festival in Grahamstown, attending a host of workshops, performances and discussions. For many, this was their first experience of a large arts festival.

More information on Twist from Emma Durden on 031 201 5594 or 082 673 6662.