Scriptwrit­ers’ chance of a life­time

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KARISHMA DIPA

ARE you a bud­ding scriptwriter whose play is des­tined to set the stage alight?

Then a lo­cal com­pe­ti­tion in search of the coun­try’s next big writ­ing sen­sa­tion is look­ing for you.

After a five-year break, the Fes­ti­val of Read­ing of New Writ­ing is mak­ing its re­turn.

The fes­ti­val, which is the brain­child of the Per­for­mance Arts Network of South­ern Africa (Pansa), is once again hop­ing to pro­vide a plat­form for new, emerg­ing or ex­pe­ri­enced writ­ers.

Al­though only one scriptwriter will be crowned the win­ner and will re­ceive a lu­cra­tive sub­sidy to take their play for­ward, Pansa’s na­tional ad­min­is­tra­tor Michael Brit­ton said oth­ers who en­ter also had a chance of be­ing dis­cov­ered by prospec­tive pro­duc­ers.

He ex­plained that an­other en­trant, Ni­cholas Spag­no­letti, didn’t win the contest, but he was scouted dur­ing one of the phases of the com­pe­ti­tion and his play Lon­don Road went on a lo­cal as well as in­ter­na­tional tour.

“The ex­po­sure from this pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion can set off the ca­reers of many scriptwrit­ers,” he added.

Brit­ton ex­plained that the first phase of the com­pe­ti­tion in­volves South African-based scriptwrit­ers sub­mit­ting their en­tries by Fe­bru­ary 12, 2017.

The script must be an orig­i­nal work for the stage and must not have been pre­vi­ously pro­duced in any form.

Brit­ton said the scripts would be judged by a panel that would use strin­gent cri­te­ria to se­lect the best writ­ing.

Those who ex­cel in this stage will be in­vited to a re­gional read­ing where a win­ner in the re­gion will be se­lected.

Brit­ton said th­ese read­ings were usu­ally held in four prov­inces across the coun­try, namely Gaut­eng, KwaZu­luNatal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

He ex­plained that the rea­son for this was be­cause this was where they usu­ally got the most en­tries from and where they would have re­sources to host a func­tion and co-or­di­nate the event.

The re­gional win­ners will each re­ceive prize money, in­clud­ing R20 000 for the best writer, R10 000 for the run­ner-up and R5 000 for an hon­ourable men­tion.

Th­ese win­ners will then bat­tle it out in the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion where the over­all win­ner will re­ceive a R75 000 sub­sidy for the full pro­duc­tion of the win­ning script.

This year’s com­pe­ti­tion will be fi­nanced through a grant of R1.8 mil­lion from the Na­tional Lotteries Com­mis­sion.

Those who are in­ter­ested in en­ter­ing should do so by down­load­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion form and read­ing through the com­pe­ti­tion rules on www.­pe­ti­tion

Brit­ton said that al­though the Fes­ti­val of Read­ing of New Writ­ing is be­ing run for the sixth time this year, it had been run­ning for the past 16 years.

He said this was be­cause they didn’t al­ways have the fi­nances to host the com­pe­ti­tion.

Mean­while, Pansa is also invit­ing writ­ers to at­tend a scriptwrit­ing work­shop which is de­signed to as­sist writ­ers to de­velop and hone their craft.

Those want­ing to en­ter are urged to do so by Mon­day.

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