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AMATEUR actors, playwrights, directors and stage hands have a warm home in the yearly Stop Crime Drama Festival, Presley Chweneyagae, the star of the movie Tsotsi, said this week.
Adapted for the giant screen from Athol Fugard's novel of the same name, Tsotsi won an Academy Award in the best foreign language film category and helped catapult Chweneyagae's acting career.
But the Stop Crime Drama Festival - which is the brainchild of theatre personalities Martin Koboekae and Julian Seleke Mokoto - has helped show Chweneyagae's talent as a playwright.
The festival is presented by the North West department of sports, arts and culture, Absa Foundation, Business Arts SA, Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation.
Chweneyagae's Cell Number 4, which became the best play at the 2009 leg of the Stop Crime Drama Festival in Mmabatho, North West, stars Segomotso Modise and Gaolatlhe Mathenyana.
They portray two prisoners who are crazy about the forthcoming Soccer World Cup and convince the prison authorities to organise giant television screens for inmates to share in the spectacle with the rest of the nation.
"I feel that the Stop Crime Drama Festival provides a good opportunity for beginners to try out their various talents, matched against their peers while professional artists help them in the right direction," Chweneyagae says.
l Auditions for the Stop Crime Drama Festival take place in Potchefstroom on February 18 at 2pm; Taung on February 19, also at 2pm; Mmabatho on February 20 at 11am; and in Rustenburg on February 21 at 10am. Audition pieces must be five-man plays running for at least 15 minutes, and conveying anti-crime messages.