Applications open for Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary 2017


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The Theatre Arts Admin Collective (TAAC) is calling for applications for the 2017 Emerging Theatre Directors Bursary – in partnership with the Distell Foundation.

Ameera Conrad (director). Photo by Jesse Kramer
Ameera Conrad (director). Photo by Jesse Kramer

This year, TAAC are offering two bursaries to emerging Cape Town-based black women directors. Students at both an undergraduate and post-graduate level will not be considered.

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As Caroline Calburn, director of TAAC, explains; “Young black women directors represent a small percentage of the overall profile of the Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary (ETDB) winners over the last seven years. This has to change. There are so many astounding and highly talented black women with the potential to be groundbreaking directors. All they need is opportunity. May this bursary be the springboard to realise that.”

In Wag Van - Jason Jacobs directing Gerswin Mias and Courtney Smith - Photo by Jesse Kramer
In Wag Van – Jason Jacobs directing Gerswin Mias and Courtney Smith – Photo by Jesse Kramer

The bursary was pioneered in 2010 and has since provided opportunities to nineteen young directors, most of whom are prolific directors making a wide range of work and winning numerous awards.

Notable winners include, Kim Kerfoot who won the Fleur du Cap Best Young Director for Statements After An Arrest Under the Immorality Act in 2013, Nicola Elliott who went on to win the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance, Khayelihle Dom Gumede who won the Naledi Award for Best Director in 2016 for Crepuscule, and Jason Jacobs, a 2016 winner, who has been named the Featured Young Artist for KKNK for 2017.

Previous winners of this bursary also include Amy Jephta, Tara Louise Notcutt, Pusetso Thibedi, Thando Doni, Alan Parker, Phala Ookeditse Phala, Bulelani Mabutyana, Mahlatsi Mokgonyana, Wynne Bredenkamp and Ameera Conrad.

My Children My Africa - Sihle Mnqwazana, Kate Pinchuck, Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi Mahlatsi Mokgonyana (director). Photo by Jesse Kramer
My Children My Africa – Sihle Mnqwazana, Kate Pinchuck, Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi Mahlatsi Mokgonyana (director). Photo by Jesse Kramer

The Bursary offers emerging theatre directors a mentor, a small budget, a month’s rehearsal space, and a week of performance at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective. It is recommended that directors work with already existing scripts as the month-long period has proved insufficient for devised work.

Amy Jephta, the first recipient of the bursary in 2010 says the following about the opportunity; “It offers a new, young voice the chance to explore and create in an environment where there is no worrying about where the money will come from, which space will be used, or how the product will be sold. What I found most encouraging was the fact that, from day one of receiving this bursary, I was given free reign of the decision making process which would bring my play to life…. I was able to learn the nuts and bolts of the production process.”

TAAC is a busy and thriving centre where diversity is supported and celebrated. The same day could see a meeting with a distinguished veteran of the arts to a young director ploughing hard at her trade. This melting pot extends not only to experience but to culture and form too. The rehearsal spaces pulsate with variety – from dance and performance provocation to musicals.

“The Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary is the only opportunity of its kind in South Africa, and for a young/emerging director that makes it exceptionally valuable,” says Kim Kerfoot, one of the 2011 winners. “It is a wonderful environment in which to find yourself, full of people that want you and your work to succeed, and are willing to do everything within their power to make that happen,” he adds.

The Bursary is specifically designed for emerging theatre directors who have had some experience in directing and who dream of a career as a theatre director.

The bursaries will take place between April and July 2017.

If you are an emerging black woman director and would like to seize this opportunity please submit a 1-page creative proposal, your CV (including two references with contact details), and an indication of your preferred date to by Friday 10 March 2017.  The bursary winners will be announced on Wednesday 22 March 2017. For enquiries call Caroline on 021 447 3683.

TAAC are hoping that during the course of the year, they will have raised sufficient funds for a further two bursaries. These will be opened up nationally to all emerging theatre directors.

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