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Teksmark awaits your theatre script ideas

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All established and emerging playwrights are invited to submit their ideas and scripts for the seventh Teksmark taking place from 22 to 27 August at the Baxter Theatre Centre in Cape Town.

“Good theatre starts with a good script. And a good script starts with a good idea that resonates with the times. With Teksmark, playwrights first present their ideas and from there the writing process begins. Various scripts from this project have been developed with huge success, as well as scripts that are in long term development. I’m excited to see what playwrights have in store for us this year. Our writers are leading the way in the times we live in.” These are the words of Hugo Theart, Artistic Director of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK).

Teksmark is a project of the KKNK, in collaboration with the Nasionale Afrikaanse Teaterinisiatief (NATi) and the Baxter Theatre Centre, where ideas and scripts are shared with interested parties in the industry for possible further development.

Theart further says that many Teksmark scripts have already received prizes and nominations. “Ten Teksmark scripts have been developed into full-fledged productions, some have been published and the latest success stories from this project are Karatara and Agulhasvlakte. Both were presented during Teksmark in 2019 and debuted at this year’s KKNK, where Karatara received the Kanna for Best Debut.” Die halwe huis was also submitted to Teksmark and an excerpt was presented during the Oudtshoorn Teksmark in 2021, after which it was developed to debut at this year’s KKNK.

Script ideas are considered in all genres, but comedy, satirical scripts and scripts aimed at children and young adults are especially encouraged. Similarly, proposals in all official South African languages are considered and multilingual productions are encouraged. Only scripts by South African citizens that have never been professionally performed, are considered.

Cornelia Faasen, CEO of NATi, says that Teksmark  has become a kind of consolation for the industry in the last two years in a sad time of almost no live theatre, and the latest Teksmark returns to the original roots of this project.

“Now that we know we can make theatre again, we need writers and scripts with new ideas and a fresh approach. The world has changed so much over the last two years. Our writers need to help us make sense of this and remind us that theatre and the stage are exactly where we can experiment with ideas. That is why we want to challenge playwrights to seize the opportunity, to surprise us, entertain us, and above all to make us think, as befits good theatre,” she says.

According to Lara Foot, CEO and Artistic Director of the Baxter Theatre Centre, the arts and storytelling remain resilient, relevant and vital now, more than ever before, to serve its meaningful purpose of healing our society and communities, as we continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

Teksmark has made it to its seventh year and its growth has been heart-warming for the sector and for artists, in particular. I am delighted to welcome the team, the artists and guests back to The Baxter this year for Teksmark 2022. Nurturing young artists, writers and theatre-makers will always be a fundamental part of what we do at The Baxter and that is why this partnership with Teksmark is crucial. To cultivate stories which are told in their mother tongue and the indigenous language that best serves the work, must inspire us all to do more.”

The process works as follows: During Teksmark, playwrights present their script idea, followed by an excerpt presented as play reading, followed by a discussion with input from role-players and the audience. The audience includes invited theatre and festival representatives, as well as potential investors and producers.

There are limited time slots available and as a result, an independent panel selects only a number of scripts. Professional directors and actors are appointed, in consultation with the playwright, to perform excerpts.

Excerpts from scripts by playwrights in the Jong Sterre project (a project of NATi, the Jakes Gerwel Foundation and the Suidoosterfees) will be included in Teksmark again this year, as well as scripts from the Premièrefees of Stellenbosch University’s drama department, and script ideas from Tekstmarkt (an international collaboration project with the Netherlands).

A complete list of guidelines for proposals is available on the KKNK’s website at  https://bit.ly/Teksmark22, where proposals can also be submitted on an easy electronic form. The closing date for proposals is Monday 27 June 2022 at midnight.

For enquiries contact Lizané Basson on 044 203 8600, or by e-mail at teksmark@kunste.org.za.