Dust off that script!

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By STAFF REPORTER

Entries of previously unpublished or commercially unproduced scripts are open for the Distell National Playwright competition from now until 28 February 2022.

The announcement comes after the earlier postponement of the competition, brought on by the pandemic, making it impossible to rehearse or stage the winning script. Now that Covid constraints have been eased, the project is back on stream.

A panel will choose five finalists, all of whom will receive a cash prize of R5 000 and the opportunity to develop their script for final adjudication, working closely with an established industry mentor. The 2022 finalists will be announced next April.

In September 2022, one of the five finalists will be identified as the winner. They will receive a further R10 000, finesse their work, and prepare it for staging. The work is scheduled for pre-production in October and will debut at the 2023 National Arts Festival in Makhanda. After that, it would be available to theatres across the country.

CEO of the National Arts Foundation (NAF), Monica Newton, said: “South Africa is rich in story-telling talent, in writers whose work is ideal for theatrical adaptation in ways that can bring novel and compelling insights to audiences. Contestants can choose the issues they want to explore in their submissions, from every day to the exceptional, the joyful to the heart-rending, the provocative to the evocative. We want to give that talent a chance.”

The judges will recognise and reward new local talent and promote diversity and inclusivity. Scriptwriters are encouraged to submit their concepts, narrative outlines, and examples of their writing for appraisal.

The 2019 Distell National Playwright winner was Koleka Putuma, and in 2020, Rhodes University graduate Amy Louise Wilson.

Koleka Putuma, winner of the 2019 Distell National Playwright award. Photo: Leafrinique.co.za

Founded by Distell in 2018 and managed by the National Arts Festival, the award honours the legacy of Adam and Rosalie Small for their contribution to South African literature, philosophy and education, and their advocacy against social injustice.

For competition rules and regulations, and the entry form, visit https://nationalartsfestival.formstack.com/forms/distell

Competition queries can be directed to: distellaward@nationalartsfestival.co.za

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