Call­ing all emerg­ing South African writ­ers

Grocott's Mail - - ARTSLIFE -

The Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val and Distell have joined forces to seek out and show­case fresh sto­ry­tellers and new voices with the launch of the Distell Na­tional Play­wright Com­pe­ti­tion. The Com­pe­ti­tion, for de­but play­wrights who haven’t staged their work be­fore, is run in hon­our of Adam and Ros­alie Small, the hus­band and wife duo who made a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on South Africa’s lit­er­ary, philo­soph­i­cal and ed­u­ca­tional land­scape. The win­ning writer will re­ceive a cash prize and see their work pro­duced at the 2019 Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val, the coun­try’s pre­mier arts show­case and a shop-win­dow for pro­duc­ers and the­atres from across the world.

The Call to En­ter

It’s time to shine. Writ­ers and sto­ry­tellers who’ve been look­ing for an op­por­tu­nity to level up and put their skills to the test should get into ac­tion. The com­pe­ti­tion calls for pow­er­ful sto­ries that pro­mote di­ver­sity and in­clu­siv­ity – in any of our 11 of­fi­cial lan­guages. This is a cel­e­bra­tion of tal­ent, but also of trans­for­ma­tion – in the in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal sense of the word.

“South Africa is en­dowed with great tal­ent in the Arts and we see this ini­tia­tive as an op­por­tu­nity to recog­nise tal­ent, start con­ver­sa­tions, en­cour­age free­dom of thought and imag­i­na­tion. Im­por­tantly, and par­tic­u­larly given our his­tory as a coun­try, we see this com­pe­ti­tion as a ve­hi­cle to bring peo­ple to­gether by over­com­ing and pro­mot­ing our rich cul­tural di­ver­sity,” says Bridgitte Back­man, Cor­po­rate Photo: Jef­frey Abra­hams

and Reg­u­la­tory Af­fairs Di­rec­tor at Distell.

The De­tails

• This com­pe­ti­tion is open to all South Africans over the age of 18 years;

• Artists need to sub­mit a syn­op­sis of a play and a ten­page writ­ing sam­ple. This doesn’t need to be a com­pleted play;

• All ideas must be orig­i­nal, un­pub­lished and un­pro­duced;

• To be el­i­gi­ble for con­sid­er­a­tion, the work needs to have a strong fo­cus on in­clu­siv­ity and so­cial co­he­sion.

Says Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val Ex­ec­u­tive Pro­ducer, Ashraf Jo­haar­dien, “an in­te­gral part of the vi­sion for this award is to pro­vide sup­port in the space that ex­ists be­tween the idea for a play and the fi­nal draft of that play for pro­duc­tion. In this way, the com­pe­ti­tion is in­tended as a re­source for both new writ­ers and the­atres in­ter­ested in de­vel­op­ing and pro­gram­ming con­tem­po­rary South African work.”

What to ex­pect

Af­ter sub­mis­sions are in and the ad­ju­di­ca­tion process is com­plete, five plays will be se­lected for a process of de­vel­op­ment, which in­cludes work­shops, mas­ter­classes and/ or men­tor­ships. The win­ning play will be an­nounced and awarded a pro­duc­tion bud­get, which will see it present as a pre­miere on the Main Pro­gramme or Arena at the Na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val in Makhanda in June 2019.

The dead­line for sub­mis­sions is 5pm on 30 Novem­ber 2018 and the short­listed scripts will be an­nounced and go into the in­cu­ba­tion process in early 2019.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit­tion­alarts­fes­ti­­pe­ti­tion/

En­quiries: dis­[email protected]­tion­alarts­fes­ti­


Distell, Africa’s lead­ing pro­ducer of spir­its, wines, ciders and ready-to-drinks (RTDS), sup­ports a wide range of com­mu­nity projects that in­clude al­co­hol harm re­duc­tion and so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit

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