The winners of the 2016 SCrIBE Scriptwriting Competition were announced at an awards ceremony on Friday (30 September).
Nokuzola Zoe Bikwana’s No Christmas For Us and Milton Schorr’s The Heroin Diaries were announced as the overall winners of the annual competition, following a week of professional staged readings featuring four finalists. The other finalists were Carla Lever for her script Food For Thought and Mark Tatham for Man Up.
Produced by the Imbewu Trust and now marking its fifth year, SCrIBE is a national competition which provides the opportunity for playwrights to develop their work.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, co-founder of the Imbewu Trust Samantha de Romijn said that the standard of the top plays this year had been especially high. “It’s hard to use the word ‘awards’ as we aim for all the finalists to take away with them a valuable experience of exchange and input about their script. As the SCrIBE competition has evolved, we have realised the importance of adapting the prizes for the maximum benefit to the recipients – whether that is a mentorship writing programme, script development opportunities or hosting a full production of the play.
“Nokuzola’s and Milton’s scripts were compelling stories, wonderfully told and with huge potential to be crafted into a theatrical experience,” says de Romijn. “We are delighted to announce that the Zabalaza team, who staged the reading of No Christmas for Us, has expressed interest in hosting the play, and the Imbewu Trust will be lending its support to the forthcoming run of The Heroin Diaries at Alexander Bar, directed by Fred Abrahamse.
Nokuzola Zoe Bikwana’s No Christmas For Us explores the events that took place in Nyanga in December 1976 which culminated in extreme violence between township residents and migrants, otherwise known as hostel dwellers. A reminder of the history of this part of the township that is seldom narrated, it makes us consider as a sad reminder the more recent parallels of the xenophobic attacks that still plague our nation.
Nokuzola Bikwana is an English teacher who was raised in Nyanga township in Cape Town. She started writing at the age of nine. She holds two Honours Degrees in History and Public Administration and has studied at UCT, UWC and Stellenbosch Universities.
“The script was based on my Honours history thesis about the events in Nyanga in 1976, which are less well known than, for example, the events in Soweto. I wanted to find a broader audience to talk about these important events, which have parallels that resonate with all South Africans, young and old. This was evident in the comments from the audience that attended the readings. We hope that this play will get South Africa talking and will help in the memorialisation of our histories as a nation,” says Bikwana. “I am feeling excited about being a winner and very positive about the comments I received to help shape the text.”
In Milton Schorr’s The Heroin Diaries we meet Craig, a heroin dealer. Thirty four years old, he’s been a using drug addict for twenty, and finally his lifestyle is catching up to him. He is planning to check out quietly, the way he always knew he would, by overdose. But when sixteen year old Leila arrives at his flat searching for her own oblivion, he is given one last chance to question the life he’s lead thus far, and perhaps to choose a different ending.
Milton Schorr is a writer and actor. With a background in theatre he continues to create plays, act, write scripts, stories, features, and travel. His favourite topics are alternative, from permaculture to hitchhiking to mixed martial arts.
“I found the feedback from the readings an invaluable experience and will take them in to consideration for my forthcoming run. I am thrilled to be a SCrIBE winner!” says Schorr.
The Imbewu Trust is a non-profit organisation which was established to promote the development of contemporary South African theatre and arts and to help showcase it on an international stage. It seeks to create an accessible community of varied voices that can flourish through collaboration, resourcefulness and innovation.
For further information visit www.imbewuarts.com
Notes to Editors
The Imbewu Trust
The Imbewu Trust is a non-profit organisation which was established to promote the development of contemporary South African theatre and arts. Imbewu seeks to create an accessible community of varied voices that can flourish through collaboration, resourcefulness and innovation, as well as showcase the best of South African theatre on an international platform and create opportunities for new theatre practitioners.
Now in its fifth year, the SCrIBE Script Writing Competition is an opportunity for South African playwrights to further develop their work. A staged reading is held for each of the finalist’s scripts, providing the chance for feedback from the industry and members of the public. An overall winner is announced at the end of the week, with the prize of having the play professionally mounted for a run at a Cape Town theatre. Another writer has the chance to win The Scribblers Dream, a prize to enable a writer to work alongside a mentor to develop his or her script and another writer has the chance to further workshop his or her play.
In 2012, the Trust also hosted the Imbewu Showcase in New York, USA, to create dialogue between US practitioners and Imbewu, and to develop South African arts through cultural exchange. The Imbewu Trust, in association with the Horse Trade Theatre Group in Manhattan’s East Village, presented Tin Bucket Drum, by Standard Bank Young Artist Neil Coppen, directed by Karen Logan and featuring Mpume Mthombeni. The production received rave reviews and was seen by a wide range of people.
The Fly Free Graduates Bursary has enabled graduates of the Waterfront Theatre School to produce work on the Fringe at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. This was won by Natasha Dryden and Angela Inglis in 2011 and their show Se—My-Alles did extremely well as part of the Fringe festival in Grahamstown. The 2012 winner was Trudi Conradie, whose performance of the Reza de Wet play; “Breathing In” won an Ovation award for its outstanding performance. The Trust is looking to open the bursary to all the tertiary education institutions in the Western Cape, allowing for greater scope and more opportunities for students across the board.
Long-term goals for the Imbewu Trust include establishing a sustainable bursary fund for tertiary education at an arts institution, and publishing a collection of scripts from the SCrIBE Scriptwriting Competition.
Comment from Zolani M Mahola, Brand Ambassador for the Imbewu Trust
“I was thrilled to be approached by Imbewu to stand as an ambassador for them and what really struck me was the passion and extreme care with which they approach their works. As a young South African myself, I agree with them that we have many important stories to share amongst ourselves as well as the rest of the world. Imbewu provides that platform, making room for exciting new voices to be heard across the seas. I am very excited to see the further growth and development of this initiative, perhaps you would too!”