Local Drama at its Best at Suidoosterfees
Local stories were shared and four talented community theatre groups were promoted on the professional stage at the Eden/ Cape Winelands Drama Festival finale held at the Artscape Arena Hall in Cape Town on 31 January 2014.
Hosted by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) and others, the festival is an annual showcase at Suidoosterfees for emerging talents to present their work on stage. The Ubumnandi Bethu Drama Group of Knysna was crowned Best Group for their script “Life After Hurt”. Thabiso Newman (21) of Ubumnandi Bethu and Samantha Pienaar (21) of Riversdale’s Little Legends Drama Group were crowned as Best Actor and Best Actress respectively. They are set to audition in Johannesburg this year for a role in the television series 7de Laan.
This event was preceded by two drama festivals in the Eden and Cape Winelands regions. Two winners from each district were chosen to represent their regions at this year’s Suidoosterfees. With drama opportunities often limited in rural areas, group performers used this festival to leave a mark. An emotional Pienaar, who is also the director of her group’s script “Recycle Voices”, said she didn’t expect to win. “I just wanted to be exposed to the professional stage and draw the positives from our play. I’m truly humbled by this experience and I look forward to many opportunities such as these.” Newman dedicated his achievement to his group members and those who have supported him in his acting career thus far.
DCAS and its partners are committed to promoting and developing local drama groups. DCAS Arts and Culture Director Ms Jane Moleleki said the groups made their communities proud. “Every group who performed on the stage can only grow to greater heights from here onwards. This is just the beginning of a promising acting career for many.”
Mr Thami Mbongo of the Baxter Theatre said he would invite all four groups to perform at the Zabalaza Festival next month. Ubumnandi Bethu will also perform its stage production “Life After Hurt” at the 2014 Absa Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunsteweek (KKNK) in Oudtshoorn. This will provide another opportunity for young, up-and-coming talent to perform on a professional stage.