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National Arts Festival is calling all emerging South African writers

Art & Design

National Arts Festival is calling all emerging South African writers

The National Arts Festival and Distell have joined forces to seek out and showcase fresh storytellers and new voices.

Both have launched the Distell National Playwright Competition for debut playwrights who haven’t staged their work before, is run in honour of Adam and Rosalie Small, the husband and wife duo who made a significant impact on South Africa’s literary, philosophical and educational landscape.

The winning writer will receive a cash prize and see their work produced at the 2019 National Arts Festival, the country’s premier arts showcase and a shop-window for producers and theatres from across the world.



The Call to Enter
It’s time to shine. Writers and storytellers who’ve been looking for an opportunity to level up and put their skills to the test should get into action. The competition calls for powerful stories that promote diversity and inclusivity – in any of our 11 official languages. This is a celebration of talent, but also of transformation – in the internal and external sense of the word.


The Details
This competition is open to all South Africans over the age of 18 years;
Artists need to submit a synopsis of a play and a ten-page writing sample. This doesn’t need to be a completed play;
All ideas must be original, unpublished and unproduced;
To be eligible for consideration, the work needs to have a strong focus on inclusivity and social cohesion.


What to expect
After submissions are in and the adjudication process is complete, five plays will be selected for a process of development, which includes workshops, masterclasses and/or mentorships. The winning play will be announced and awarded a production budget, which will see it present as a premiere on the Main Programme or Arena at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda in June 2019.

The deadline for submissions is 17h00 on 30 November 2018 and the shortlisted scripts will be announced and go into the incubation process in early 2019.

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