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​An intensive three-month directors course at the Market Theatre has ended with 30 students ready to show off their new skills.
TWELVE weeks of gruelling work at the Gauteng Organisation of Community Arts and Culture Centres (GOMACC) in Joburg has unearthed 30 new theatre directors.

Woza Albert Trainee directors will get to see the play Woza Albert These enthusiastic trainees completed their course and will soon be attending the Woza Albert performance, on 22 January at the Market Theatre, directed by Prince Lamla as part of the closing of their three-month Directors Training Course.

Having learned how to direct their own plays, as well as gaining behind the scenes knowledge of stage management and design, lighting, sound, costumes and props, these new directors will get a chance to direct a play for next year’s GOMACC theatre festival.

“This is an exciting time for everyone who took part in the training,” said Jerry Mabuza, the GOMACC operations and festival manager. “The directors really underwent an intensive all inclusive training course, which encompassed research on text books for content from the luminaries within the literary and theatre fraternities, direction, stage management and design, lighting, sound, costumes and props.”

It was an interactive course, which meant that the students engaged with the players and their mentors. “Thirty plays were showcased for 20 minutes at the Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein.”

Some of the participants were Sello Maseko, Junior Mathibela, Mphakamiswa Thondlana, Mosoeu Ketlele, Rachere Jeremiah Khupane and Sicelo Xaba.

Maseko, who hails from Soshanguve in Pretoria, was inspired by his late grandfather, a playwright. He studied drama through Sofa Sonke Theatre Group, under the supervision of the stage veteran, Kagiso Senkge; at the Market Theatre Laboratory, where he was mentored by Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom of the State Theatre; and was cast in many professional plays locally and abroad.

Mathibela, an aspiring director, has participated in community development initiatives to strengthen his leadership skills. He has performed on stage and television; and has written short film scripts on topical issues such as drug abuse, violence and teenage pregnancy.

Thondlana has been a community leader since 2007. His major aim is to develop the youth in his community through the arts. Thondlana has written and directed a few plays, such as Mara Why, which was staged at at the Joburg Theatre and earned him an award in 2010.

Ketlele, another talented creative, has worked with his community as a leader and mentor. His career highlights include being part of the first voter education project in South Africa. He has performed with the Arepp Educational Trust’s puppetry shows, worked in theatre locally, and performed in Europe for two years with What are you doing here, a dance outfit.

His skills include dance, music, acting, storytelling and writing for the theatre. His strong focus is education through the arts.

Khupane has worked in the areas of youth development, acting, artistic direction, co-ordinating and choreographing, organising and programme management. His artistic career started in 1997. He wrote and directed African Widow, which was nominated for best script, and he obtained the most promising production award for 2010/2011 from the Gauteng Ishashalazi Theatre Festival.

Xaba is a choreographer, a self-taught researcher and wrote the musical, Ibhathu/The Shoe. He facilitated workshops for Step Africa International Festival by the Soweto Dance Theatre, Home of Peace Youth Society and Kagiso Boys Town. His performances have taken him to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown and the Tourism Indaba in Durban, and he performed at the closing ceremony for the football World Cup in 2010.

Using its lottery funding, GOMACC will host two festivals in each region of the province. The winning groups will compete in a festival running over two days at the Soweto Theatre in May. It is at these festivals that the budding directors will get the chance to demonstrate their newly acquired skills.

“It is difficult to explain how hard it is for someone outside of the industry to break through and be noticed. Training like this will afford a group of very talented, yet disadvantaged people, to take the next step and follow their dreams,” said Mabuza.

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