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Saturday, April 2, 2016


(2014 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre, Greg Homann.  Pic by Timmy Henny)

Twist Theatre Development Projects is hosting a series of free interactive In Conversation With sessions in KZN to launch The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary South African Theatre – possibly the most definitive book which looks at the history, status and context of South African Contemporary Theatre, written by Greg Homann.

Homann explains, “The aim of the book is to give a comprehensive introduction and survey of South African plays with a weighting towards work from approximately 1990 to the present”. The book is the fourth volume in the international Methuen Drama series.

Homann will be in Durban to conduct a series of In Conversation With sessions to consider some of the themes, issues, trends and anecdotes unearthed while researching the book. He will be at the Courtyard Theatre, at DUT at 10h00 on April 6 and in the afternoon at 13h30 at the Hexagon Theatre in Pietermaritzburg hosted by UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus Drama Dept.

Homann will present an informal “lounge lecture” at UKZN Durban Drama and Performance Studies Dept on April 6 in the departmental library at 18h00. Participants are warmly invited to thereafter attend the public performance of Homeland at 19h30 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Homeland is Flatfoot Dance Company’s new production of work by Lliane Loots and Sbonakaliso Ndaba which looks at the concept of “Home”.

The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary South African Theatre is written by Greg Homann and co-edited by Homann with Prof Martin Middeke and Peter Paul Schnierer.

Prof Martin Middeke, who is the Chair of English Literature at Augsburg University in Germany, said, “This is the fourth volume in a series I have been involved in for Methuen Drama, two volumes on Irish and British Contemporary Playwrights were published in 2010 and 2011, the third one on Contemporary American playwrights was published in 2014.”

The book is published by Methuen Drama in London and New York and has 384 pages, 20 chapters, in which more than a hundred South African plays are discussed in detail, while referencing many more.

It starts with a concise introduction by Prof Martin Middeke, Peter Paul Schnierer, and Greg Homann and is followed by contributions from Sarah Roberts, Jane Taylor, Yvette Hutchison, Robyn Sassen, Emma Durden, Veronica Baxter, Dennis Walder, Anton Krueger, Adrienne Sichel, Kene Igweonu, Loren A Kruger, Brent Meersman, Michael Titlestad, Muff Andersson, Kevin J Wetmore Jr, Mervyn McMurtry, Miki Flockeman, Rolf Solberg, Marcia Blumberg, and Greg Homann.

The volume includes overview essays on the “Pioneers” (Gcina Mhlophe, Gibson Kente, Barney Simon, Mbongeni Ngema; Phyllis Klotz); Contemporary Collaborators such as William Kentridge, Handspring Puppet Company, and Magnet Theatre; Physical Theatre (Andrew Buckland, Sylvaine Strike, Robyn Orlin, Athena Mazarakis, Janine Collocott; Gerard Bester, Craig Morris, Roberto Pombo); Popular Community Theatre (Emuhle All Artists and Umsindo Theatre Projects); Theatre Makers in One-Person Format (Phillip M Dikotla, Omphile Molusi, Rajesh Gopie, Greig Coetzee).

Individual playwrights discussed include Athol Fugard, Reza de Wet, Paul Slabolepszy, Zakes Mda, Lara Foot, Mike van Graan, Craig Higginson, Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom, Brett Bailey, Pieter-Dirk Uys, Fatima Dike, Yaël Farber, as well as the work of new emerging playwrights and theatre-makers (Amy Jephta, Napo Masheane, Mongi Mthombeni, Genna Gardini, Neil Coppen, Juliet Jenkins, Tara Notcutt.).

The volume concludes with an interview with the artistic director of the South African State Theatre, Aubrey Sekhabi.

Homann is most well-known for his work as a theatre director across a broad range of styles and forms, but he is also an academic, actor, and playwright. He has a BA Dramatic Art degree from Wits and an MA in Text and Performance Studies with distinction from The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and King’s College London.When not directing, Greg works as academic and lecturer, and is a resident dramaturge at the SA State Theatre where he assists with the development of new local plays.

The launch sessions of The Methuen Drama Guide to Contemporary South African Theatre take place on April 6: Courtyard Theatre, DUT (10h00), Hexagon Theatre, UKZN Pietermaritzburg (13h30) and Drama Dept Library, UKZN Durban (18h00)

For more details contact Roel Twijnstra on 079 261 9986 or email: Entry is free and all are welcome to the sessions.