Mentoring project for aspirant theatre writers

THERE is excitement among young writers who have been chosen to be mentored as theatre writers at the coming Grahamstown National Arts Festival in Eastern Cape, which runs from June 20 to July 4.

THERE is excitement among young writers who have been chosen to be mentored as theatre writers at the coming Grahamstown National Arts Festival in Eastern Cape, which runs from June 20 to July 4.

This script-writing programme, called So You Think You Can Write, which is the initiative of the National Arts Council, will host mentors Bongi Ndaba, Mncedisi Shabangu, Susan Santos, Thami Mbongo, Jenine Collocott and Bongani Madondo, who have written the scripts of The Rollercoaster, Colourless City, Making Mandela and Me, Friend en Van en Sit.

The four first-time writers will have an opportunity to have their work critiqued and developed by a team of theatre professionals during a month-long programme which culminates into a week-long programme in Grahamstown from June 26 to July 3, during the National Arts Festival.

Ndaba is an actress and writer whose last theatre project, Shreds and Dreams, did a full run at the Market Theatre in 2004 and was back by public demand in 2005.

She is a senior writer for Generations, South Africa's most watched and loved TV soapie.

In 2009 Ndaba was nominated for a Safta for her role in an adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear, Izingane Zobaba, which premiered at the South African silver screens in 2008, and this year her short film, Father Christmas Doesn't Come Around Here, won Best Narrative Short at New York's Tribeca Film Festival.

Mncedisi Shabangu, award-winning playwright, actor, director and winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award, has also worked as associate artistic director for the Market Theatre.

In 1998 Shabangu attended the Royal National Theatre's studio summer acting school in London, an honour awarded to very few artists around the world.

The NAC has also outsourced the coordination of the programme to project manager and fundraiser Eugene Marillier-Malotana.

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