Tonight Reporter

ENTRIES open at the end of next month for the third SCrIBE Scriptwriting Competition run by the Imbewu Trust. Entries open on March 31 and the closing date is July 31.

This year the top five scripts will be selected for a week-long staged reading in October, with the opportunity for feedback from the public and members of the theatre industry.

SCrIBE Competition co-founder Sam de Romijn says last year’s stage readings turned out to be very useful.

“The writers learned where their scripts could be furthered and developed and the audience got involved on a first-hand level,” she said.

“How do you make audiences go to contemporary theatre productions when they’ve got Sound of Music as competition?

By getting the audience actively involved.”

This year there is a three-tier award system. The first level is the staged readings, and the second level is choosing a script that will be produced for a 2015 run in a local theatre by a professional team.

The third tier is selecting a scriptwriter who shows promise but needs further development.

“We’re quite spoilt in the Western Cape. We’ve got so much theatre on all the time, it’s a selective market,” says De Romijn.

“Sometimes a play will run three times and that’s it. This competition is about nurturing scripts and giving them legs.”

“The third tier is about identifying a writer, the idea is to let them spend time with a mentor and develop their skill.”

This mentor would be identified once the writer was chosen, to best match the needs of the writer.

For this year’s SCrIBE Scriptwriting Competition, Imbewu Trust is looking for new works of outstanding quality and original content which represent the range of the South African theatre landscape. The scripts must be in English, no longer than 40 pages or 80 minutes, with no more than five cast members.

The Imbewu Trust’s other initiatives include the Imbewu Showcase in New York, which presented Neil Coppen’s Tin Bucket Drum in 2012 to great acclaim.

De Romijn said the next showcase was planned for mid-2015 but in the meantime the trust was thinking of putting out a call to tertiary institutions in the Western Cape at the end of this year for a bursary towards students taking a production to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

“It’s expensive to attend and most people end up running at a loss on The Fringe, so it’s an opportunity for students,” she said.

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