NLDTF/PANSA Festival of Reading of New Writing

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The NLDTF/PANSA Festival of Reading of New Writing is an annual festival of new writing open to writers throughout South Africa, begun in 2008 as a national project of the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PANSA) in conjuction with the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF). At times the festival is also referred to unofficially as the PANSA Festival of Reading of New Writing or the PANSA Festival of New Writing.

The project

The project consists of a number of regional events which aim to encourage innovative new scriptwriting and generate original South African theatre works, to provide a platform for these works to reach the attention of theatre producers, and to work towards full-scale productions of the winning plays. The events take place annually in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

The scripts are entered in one of the following categories: Comedy, Drama, 1 or 2 Hander, and a panel of judges selects the five best scripts for participation in each regional Festival.

Each of the selected scripts are given a basic subsidy to fund reading rehearsals and S&T as required, and the productions are then formally read (not staged) by actors under the guidance of a professional director, with the focus on the script being showcased most effectively, without being overwhelmed by elaborate staging, sets, costumes, lighting, performances and direction.

The winning scripts in each region - Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban - are then re-read in the national final and are up for a Grand Prize of R30 000. A panel of carefully chosen industry leaders are the judges of the competition who critically adjudicate the scripts.

The impact

The festivals have been a success over the years, with most of the winning scripts (and numerous of those not winning as well) going on to full scale productions at a variety of theatres and festivals, both locally and internationally. Winning plays include Salaam Stories by Ashraf Johaardien, Bungee Writing Finals by Finuala Dowling, Church Full of Light by Guy Willoughby, Green Man Flashing and Two to Tango by Mike van Graan, Stone Angel by Kobus Moolman and London Road by Nicholas Spagnoletti (Jury Runner up winner 2007), Hinterland by Duncan Buwalda (three awards, 2012).


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