Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom

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Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom ("Cosmo") (1975-), writer and director for stage, film and television.

(Not to be confused with the actor Mbulelo Grootboom).


Paul was born in 1975 in Meadowlands, Soweto.


After school he registered for a BSc at University of Witwatersrand but soon decided to embark on a career that straddled his passions for film and writing instead. While at university he met Percy Langa, playwright and television director and producer, who taught him to write film scripts. While under Langa’s wing, he was introduced to John Rogers, who trained him to write for television. His next mentors were Aubrey Sekhabi and Barney Simon.


He was appointed to the position of Development Officer at the State Theatre in 2002.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

His first work for the stage, Enigma, was commissioned by the North West Arts Council.

As playwright, titles include: Not With My Gun co-written with Aubrey Sekhabi (1998), Urban Reality (1998), Cards, a re-writing of Mothusi Mokoto’s script (2002 & 2004), Relativity: Township Stories (2005), Telling Stories(2007), Interracial co-written with Aubrey Sekhabi (2007), Maru, an adaptation of the Bessie Head novel (2008), Foreplay ,an adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler’s Der Reigen/La Ronde (2008) and Welcome to Rocksburg (2009).

As theatre director productions include: Urban Reality (1998), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2001), King Lear (2002), Cards (2002–2008), Hamlet (2003), Julius Caesar (2003), In this Life (2004), later re-directed and re-titled Relativity (2005), Township Stories for a tour in the UK (2006), Telling Stories (2007), Interracial (2007), Maru(2008), Foreplay (2008), and Welcome To Rocksburg (2009).

Television writing includes episodes in: Young Vision(1994), Suburban Bliss(1995), Isidingo(2000), Soul City(2000), Orlando(2001), Mponeng (2005) and Healside (2005).

Awards, etc

Vita Award (Gauteng region), best play Not With My Gun 1999; Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Drama (2005). Naledi Award for Best Director, for Relativity : Township Stories (2006). Herald Angel Award for Best Fringe Production at the Edinburgh Theatre Festival (2006). Naledi Award for Best Director, for Foreplay (2009). Naledi Award for Best Script, for Rivonia Trial, co-written with Aubrey Sekhabi and Mandla Dube (2012).


Various entries in the NELM catalogue.

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