A winner of numerous awards, Mandla MBOTHWE has for the past two decades been a writer, researcher, stage director, performance teacher and creative arts practitioner. For eight years he was a lecturer and researcher in the Department of Drama at the University of Cape Town, while also functioning as managing and artistic co-director of Magnet Theatre, where he now serves as a board member. From 2011 to 2013 he was the Artistic Director for the Steve Biko Centre (King Williamstown); he is currently the Creative Manager for the Artscape Theatre Centre there. He holds a MA in Theatre and Performance from University of Cape Town.
THE DISAPPOINTMENT by Keith Josef Adkins: An African-American family is faced with the burden of reconciling the tension between the obligation of kinship and a history of heartache.
SICAWA STREET by Katori Hall: On election day in Cape Town, April 27, 1994, a mother and her son share a meal and a conversation.
INVISIBLE EDEN by Mandla Mbothwe: A short play about family, music, time, pain, and living.
BLOOD PASTORAL by Wessel Pretorius: Young Dawid Russouw takes and misses a series of phone calls.
WAITING FOR MARCEL by Peter Ullian: At the height of the Nazi occupation of France, with the Gestapo on their heels, a couple takes a moment to consider themselves, their work, and a new acquaintance.
WHAT WE WISH FOR by Mike van Graan: Together, a mother, a father, and a son experience the intersection between life and death.
Commissioned Writers (South Africa):
Performer Wessel PRETORIUS obtained a B.A. in drama at The University of Pretoria and Honours in Acting at The University of Stellenbosch. In 2010, he represented the Stellenbosch Drama Department in Den Haag at De Appel. That year he debuted at Aardklop with Korte Mette Met die Versamelde Werke Van William Shakespeare. Other highlights include Yasmina Reza’s Art, Christiaan Olwagen’s ‘Politik Trilogie’: Woza Andries?, Vagina Dentata and Ubu and the Secrecy Bill, P.G. du Plessis’ ‘n Seder val in Waterkloof, N is vir Neurose (Olwagen), his self-penned solo show Ont-, Boetie Dis Tyd Vir Bid As ‘n Seekoeikoei Op Jou Skoot Kom Sit ,David Greig’s Die Monster In Die Gang, Saartjie Botha’s Balbesit and Albee’s Wie’s Bang Vir Virginia Woolf? He has further appeared in Richard III at the Maynardville Open Air Theatre, in Boesman, My Seun and in Waterpas, which he also wrote. Pretorius is a member of the award-winning theatre collective POLONY.
Mike VAN GRAAN is the executive director of the Cape Town-based African Arts Institute (AFAI). The founding Secretary General of Arterial Network, a pan-African network of artists, cultural activists, and creative enterprises, he also serves on UNESCO’s 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and on the board of directors of Kuns Onbeperk. He is the Associate Playwright of Artscape – a state-subsidized theatre in South Africa - and has garnered a number of awards for his plays that interrogate the post-apartheid condition. He is a Honorary Associate Professor in the Drama Department of the University of Cape Town.
Commissioned Writers (United States):
Keith Josef ADKINS’ plays include Pitbulls (2014, Rattlestick Theater, NYC), Safe House (2015 Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, 2014 Cincinnati Playhouse), The Last Saint On Sugar Hill (l 2013 National Black Theatre NYC, 2012 MPAACT Theater, Chicago), The People Before The Park, and Sugar and Needles, among others. The Last Saint earned a 2012 Jeff nomination for Best New Work in Chicago. Other awards include two NYSCA commissions, the National Black Theatre’s Trailblazer Award and the 2013-14 Project Residency at the Lark Playwright Development Center. He is artistic director of The New Black Fest, a festival of new playwriting and discussion from the Diaspora; he has also worked as a writer for the cable TV comedy Girlfriends. A former culture blogger for TheRoot.com, Adkins has taught playwriting at Columbia University and blogs regularly for HowlRound, an online theater journal. He earned his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa.
Katori HALL is a playwright/performer. Her plays include The Mountaintop (2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play), Hurt Village (2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize), Children of Killers (National Theatre, UK and Castillo Theatre, NYC), Hoodoo Love (Cherry Lane Theatre), Remembrance (Women’s Project), Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, WHADDABLOODCLOT!!! (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Our Lady of Kibeho (Signature Theatre) and Pussy Valley (Mixed Blood). Among her many awards are the Lark Play Development Center Playwrights of New York, two Lecomte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, a NYFA Fellowship, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the Columbia University John Jay Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement and the Otto Rene Castillo Award for Political Theatre. Her journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, Essence, and elsewhere; her collected plays have been published by Methuen Drama. Currently a member of the Residency Five at Signature Theatre Company in New York City, Katori will make her directing debut with a film adaptation of Hurt Village. Her website is www.katorihall.com.
The work of Peter ULLIAN for the stage, produced throughout the United States and the UK, includes Flight of the Lawnchair Man, Eliot Ness in Cleveland, and Hester Street Hideaway: A Lower East Side Love Story. He has received awards from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays and the Gilman & Gonzalez-Falla Musical Theater Foundation, and commissions for new work from the Iowa Cultural Council, En Garde Arts, the Prince Music Theatre, the Denver Theatre Center, The Directors Company, and Snap Two Productions. He has written screenplays for independent and major motion picture studios; his fiction – Signs of Life: A Tale of Terezin among other titles -- is widely published. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop.