Plays to heal a nation

A LONG-RUNNING anti-crime youth development campaign has received a boost from several veteran stage and TV personalities.

A LONG-RUNNING anti-crime youth development campaign has received a boost from several veteran stage and TV personalities.

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 are among the luminaries who will grace the yearly Stop Crime Drama Festival that will take place at the Mmabana Cultural Centre in Mmabatho in North West over three days from March 26.

They will take part in workshops dealing with performers' rights, acting, writing, directing and stage management - all activities aimed at motivating the aspirant actors and actresses.

The festival is the brainchild of Dramatists Against Crime, whose directors are the versatile artists Martin Koboekae and Julian Seleke-Mokoto.

Its sponsors include the Absa Foundation, Sowetan and North West's department of arts and culture.

This year's productions will share the stage with professional actors, who are set to perform in the guest productions Heart To Soul and Diary of a Mad Society by veteran playwrights and directors Selaelo Maredi and Danny Jason.

These productions were chosen to form part of the festival after auditions in Potchefstroom, Taung, Mmabatho and Rustenburg last month:

l Bokamoso was directed by Nancy Marule of Wolmaranstad, and deals with a group of young girls, one of whom gets raped by a stepfather;

lConfusion is a play by a Potchefstroom youth group called Tlokwe. It is set in prison and looks at xenophobic attacks;

lCase 619 was produced by Stanley Letebele. It is a court drama in which a perpetrator of heinous crimes is made to account for his misdeeds;

lObakeng, directed by Rapula Khumalo, looks at fathers who abandon their children and examines the turmoil of a girl who searches for her father;

lRice is directed by Ohentse Bodibe from Galeshewe, Kimberley. It profiles two ambitious men who dream big and yet see things differently.

These groups will compete for prizes in categories including best production, script, director, actor and most promising production. The winner will also feature in the Limpopo edition of this festival in June.

The professional artists are expected to help to improve the content, acting, stage lighting and management of the productions before the plays are staged.

The festival will be opened with a community anti-crime march led by the local SAPS brass band.