Entries for the 2020 Distell National Playwright Competition close at the end of September 2019, but you don’t have to have a finished script to get your idea in the running. The scriptwriting competition is managed by the National Arts Festival and sees one winner not only having their play produced and staged at the National Arts Festival but also taking home R25 000. Four other finalists each receive R 5000 and all five winners receive mentorship to see their script through from idea to completion.
Says National Arts Festival’s Executive Producer, Nobesuthu Rayi, ‘We are looking for big ideas – and ideas that resonate around the theme of social justice, diversity and inclusivity. Entrants only have to give us a plot outline and a writing sample of ten pages. If they become a finalist they will be assigned a mentor to help them complete their script.’ Rayi goes on to say that it is critical for South African Theatre that new plays are being produced and staged.
Koleka Putuma won the 2019 Distell National Playwright Competition with her debut play No Easter Sunday for Queers, which recently enjoyed acclaim at The Market Theatre. One of the finalists, Morapeleng Molekoa has also staged (and directed) his play Scott – the story of a gardener who realises his employee values her pet dog more than him.
The competition is only open to South African citizens who are over 18 and scripts can be in any South African language. The competition is for first-time scriptwriters only. Head to https://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/distell2020/ for all the T&C’s and entry details.