22 April 2022

Festival presents great learning experience for up-and-coming performing artists

by Gerrit Bester

The second instalment of the New Works Reading Festival (NWRF) will be staged at TUT’s Rostrum Theatre on its Arts Campus on Freedom Day, 27 April (10:00 – 13:00).  Presented by the Department of Performing Arts, in partnership with The Writers Lab, the Festival celebrates innovative work that is asking questions and evolving theatre as we know it. 

The New Works Reading Festival will mount three staged readings of in-progress plays and four monologues by student writers. Each reading will be followed by a brief talkback with the playwright, director, cast, and audience. 

Speaking about the idea behind the Festival, Dr Refiloe Lepere, Scriptwriting Lecturer at the Department of Performing Arts and mentor of the Festival, says: “Student scriptwriters write, directors direct, and actors act in the staged readings. This is a great opportunity for Scriptwriting majors to have their works presented before an audience, in a play-reading scenario, by a cast, and to receive feedback.” 

“The Festival is a perfect opportunity for student artists to interact with new works and professional writers. Student writers gain a lot from hearing from peers and other industry professionals about their work and growing voice,” she adds.

Curated by Dr Lepere and Nasiphi Nkumbesi, a Writing student, the first instalment was showcased online in 2021 with eight productions. It was a huge success, even though Zoom posed unique challenges in duet scenes. The online platform also allowed for a broader audience to engage with the works. Students interacted with industry leaders and writers, such as Eddie Thaba (TV and Film Scriptwriter), Sibongile Fisher (Playwright and Author), and Katlego Chale (Writers Lab Founder, Actor, and Playwright).

This year's New Works Reading Festival is being co-curated with postgraduate student, Sinovuyo Nqwili, and will be staged live with a limited audience. Attendance is free but booking is essential. 

All social distancing protocols will be observed.

For more information, contact Dr Lepere at leperer@tut.ac.za 


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