Opportunity for coloured or black female writers


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PlayLab is a brand-new playwriting residency funded and made possible by the Baxter Theatre Centre. This experimental laboratory space will test ideas and extend support for the creation of a new script by a black or coloured female writer. Three residencies (one per year) will be awarded from 2017 to 2019.

The Baxter Theatre foyer
The Baxter Theatre Foyer

The selected playwright will be paired with a dramaturg and undergo a guided process to develop a full-length play. The eight-month long process includes detailed feedback sessions and two workshops during the writing process to test and develop the script with actors and a director. PlayLab will culminate in a staged reading open to the public. Consideration will be given for ongoing artistic support from the Baxter Theatre after completion of the residency.

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PlayLab aims to instil a culture of long-term script development, extend ongoing support to black women playwrights by enabling access to resources and create a body of new South African plays that speak to what’s happening, now. The selected playwright will receive a small stipend, space to write and work, as well as access to the Baxter Theatre resources, facilities and staff.

Submissions can be in the idea stage, in first draft form or with a few scenes already written. The main criteria is that the play be unproduced, contemporary and speak to themes relevant to South Africa or Africa. We are looking for bold, original writing with a keen sense of theatricality and a unique take on the country and the continent. We’re particularly interested in stories outside the mainstream – whether those stories be personal, political, or both. While we are open to submissions from new writers, black and coloured female playwrights with a track record that includes one or more previously written, produced or self-produced works in any context are strongly encouraged to apply.


  • You must be resident in Cape Town between 31 March and 25 November 2017 and be able to travel to the Baxter Theatre Centre for scheduled sessions.
  • You must be able to commit to the agreed submission deadlines and regular meetings with your dramaturg.
  • You must be fully available for the two PlayLab workshops, which last five days each.
  • Adaptations or translations of existing work, screenplays, one-act plays or historical plays will not be considered.
  • Your play can include a maximum of five actors.
  • Your submission must not have been previously produced, either as a full production or in reading.
  • Your play can include multiple languages, but must be predominantly in English.
  • You do not need to have had any formal training to apply for the residency.


Send the following information in one PDF document with your name and full contact details on the first page:

  • A CV/Resume
  • A 250-word synopsis of the play you wish to develop, including the proposed title – what is the story and what happens?
  • A 250-word conceptual statement about the play (i.e. Why do you want to write this play? Why is it urgent or necessary? Why is your particular take unique or original? What do you want to say and to whom do you want to say it?)
  • A character list with short character descriptions
  • A scene sample, maximum three pages, from the script or idea you are proposing

E-mail your proposal to playlab2017@gmail.com by 18:00 on 13 March 2017. The successful candidates for the residency will be announced on 31 March 2017.


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