(Twist’s Roel Twijnstra presents the first ever Game Changer Award to Xolani Dlongolo. Pic by Mbuso Nkosi)
Twist Theatre Development Projects, the respected and pro-active KZN-based organisation that works on bridging the gap between community theatre and the theatre industry, awarded their first ever Game Changer Award to Xolani Dlongolo at a function at DUT Courtyard Theatre on Saturday evening (March 25).
The inaugural Twist Game Changer Award acknowledges a person who dedicates themselves to the development of community arts and changes the way that theatre happens in the province.
The award was presented to a delighted Xolani Dlongolo - previous co-founder and director of Umsindo Theatre Productions, and current director or Ithuba Arts Development.
“Xolani constantly gives of his time to young and emerging theatre groups, assisting them both artistically and administratively, and giving guidance in organising and registering themselves. He has worked as a writer, director and stage manager around South Africa, Swaziland and the Netherlands. Although Xolani has never had formal arts training - he shares his knowledge built over more than fifteen years in the industry with all he comes into contact with. He is one of the unsung heroes of theatre!” enthused Twist co-director Emma Durden.
Dlongolo was awarded a specially created handcarved soapstone trophy.
At the Saturday evening function, Twist Theatre Development Projects also launched a new compilation of 11 theatre scripts in English and isiZulu.
The scripts are the result of collaborations between four community-based theatre groups and a team of professional theatre writers, directors and mentors. The groups hail from Manguzi in the far north of KZN, Mariannhill near Pinetown, and Pietermaritzburg; and have been part of the Twist development programme over the past 18 months.
Through a series of different projects, they have worked with experienced South African theatre mentors including 2017 Standard Bank Young Artist of the year Monageng 'Vice' Motshabi, Prince Lamla, Ntshieng Mokgoro and Zwai Mgijima. They have also had extensive mentoring with Dutch theatre director and director of Twist Projects, Roel Twijnstra, with visiting Dutch street theatre artists, and Durban-based acting teachers Bhekani Shabalala, Musa Ntuli, Mtho Zulu and Philisiwe Twijnstra.
The groups co-created new productions with these mentors, and performed them at a range of festivals around KZN and in their own home communities, in a programme that sees a revitalisation of exciting content and forms for theatre. These are written into scripts in English and Zulu which are compiled into the New South African Playscripts book that were launched in Durban on March 25.
This book makes contemporary theatre scripts available free of charge to educational institutions and organisations for use in writing, directing and performance projects. Twist co-director, Emma Durden, comments: "There are not many formally published play-scripts in South Africa, and we are very excited to release this collection of eleven new plays. The opportunity to publish in both English and Zulu promotes greater access to written theatre work and we are delighted to be able to facilitate this".
The new book was launched alongside a smaller compilation of short plays from the annual Novel-Script Project, which includes scripts created by South African, Mozambiquan, Zambian and Zimbabwean writers. The launch coincides with the graduation of 21 emerging theatre practitioners who have been part of the Twist programme over the past year and a half, and the inaugural Twist Game-Changer Award; awarded to an individual who has made a difference to access and education in the theatre landscape of KZN.
The publishing of these script compilations is funded by the National Lotteries Commission.