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SEVERAL professional artists will help improve amateur productions that have been selected for the yearly Stop Crime Drama Festival in Mafikeng in North West over three days from March 26.
The artists have experience as actors, authors and directors on film and stage productions. Some of them are Chief Siboa, Duma Mnembe, Ntshieng Sithe, Monde Mayephu, Kere Nyawo.
For more than a decade, Stop Crime Drama Festival founders Martin Koboekae and Julian Mokoto of Dramatists Against Crime have been roping in professional artists in a project that is helping to curb crime.
According to the founders, this project puts emphasis on easing the social, spiritual and economical burdens that are often blamed when youths get involved in crime.
The projects is supported by the North West Sports, Arts and Culture Department, National Arts Council, Absa Foundation, Sowetan and Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation. It cares for youths' opinions and possible anti-crime solutions.
Youngsters are invited to stage anti-crime theme plays that they direct, act in, do the lighting for and even handle their own stage management chores.
In this way the youngsters are given the space and time to express their views on the futility and folly of crime and criminality through music, drama, dance, poetry and prose.
l Siboa, a protege of Moalusi Ledwaba, will help fine-tune Case Number 619.
l Mnembe, who cut his teeth working with enigmatic theatre guru Gibson Kente, will realign the play Obakeng.
l Sithe, winner of the 2009 Young Artist Award, will help to mould the stage show Girls of the Street.
l Mayephu, author of the popular professional stage production, The Pen, will help improve the standard of the novice play Tlokwe This.
l Nyawo, who plays the funny character, Popeye, in the SABC1 drama Zone 14, will help raise the content, presentation and overall aesthetics of Bokamoso.
"The process of pairing professional artists with the up and coming ones is to strengthen the plays," project director Martin Koboekae said this week.
"After the process, participants including the director would have gained invaluable knowledge about theatre aspects such as improvisation, miming, movement, directing, plotting, stage time management and managing rehearsal."
These productions will compete for prizes in categories such as best production, script, director, actor and most promising production. The winner will also feature in the Limpopo edition of this festival in June.
Also competing are Jackie Moshane's Kuzekubenini, which topped during the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund-sponsored leg of the same festival that was held in Thaba Nchu, Free State last December. Veteran Soweto playwright, director and tutor Jerry Raletebele's The Loot will also be staged.
This year the guest productions are Heart To Soul by Selaelo Maredi and Diary of a Mad Society by Danny Jason.
Siboa, Mnembe, Sithe, Mayephu and Nyawo will be joined by several veteran stage and TV personalities such as Keketso Semoko and Darlington Michaels from SABC3's Isidingo, Connie Chiume from SABC1's Zone 14 and stage, movie and TV drama actors Boiki Motlhamme and Mabutho "Kid" Sithole, who are expected to conductmotivational talks, workers' rights workshops and informal mentoring and coaching stints.