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Wednesday, May 29, 2019


(Thayalan Reddy, Neil Coppen, Prof Owen Seda, Dolly Reddy & Cedric Sissing of Adams Books)

Award-winning South African playwright, director and designer, Neil Coppen, recently received The Olive Schreiner Prize for his play Tin Bucket Drum.

The Olive Schreiner Prize, which is handled by the English Academy of Southern Africa, rotates from Drama to Prose to an Anthology of Poetry by a single author, published by a South African publisher and for a South African citizen, over a three year cycle. It is the longest standing award presented by the English Academy of Southern Africa (awarded annually since 1964) and its aim is to encourage quality creative writing by not yet established writers.

Coppen is based between the cities of Durban and Johannesburg. In 2011, he was named the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Drama, which was followed by the ISPA fellowship award to New York in 2012. Also in 2011, he was included in The Mail & Guardian's list of the 200 most influential Young South Africans.

Coppen currently serves as Artistic Director for the company Think Theatre Productions and has written, directed and designed several award-winning productions under the company’s banner. As a playwright and designer Coppen’s works include Tin Bucket Drum (2005-2013), Suicidal Pigeons (2005), Abnormal Loads (2011, awarded the 2012 Naledi Award for Best New South African Script), Tree Boy (directed by Libby Allen), Animal Farm (2016), Ulwembu (2017), and Buite Land/Newfoundland (2017).

The evening was hosted by Thayalan Reddy; Vice-President of the English Academy of Southern Africa. Professor Owen Seda of the Department of Performing Arts, University of Pretoria, gave the Citation and presented the award.

Copies of Neil Coppen's play Tin Bucket Drum (Wits University Press) and Ulwembu by the Empatheatre Collective and the Big Brotherhood were on sale, courtesy of Cedric Sissing of Adams Books.