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The works of young directors, trained by the Gauteng Organisation of Community Arts and Culture Centre, will compete in a special Directors Showcase.
WITH International Theatre Day on 27 March done and dusted, the Gauteng Organisation of Community Arts and Culture Centre (GOMACC) plans to continue promoting performing arts by taking its Directors Showcase to Uncle Tom’s Community Centre in Soweto on 21 April.

Mpho MolepoJudging the directors: Mpho Molepo“The directors have been hard at work putting together their shows. It promises to be a day filled with excellent entertainment,” says Jerry Mabuza, GOMACC’s chairperson.

“These [performances] are made for the communities, by people who live in the communities, and tell the stories of the communities. It affords an opportunity for both the directors to tell the stories and for the communities to see them come alive on stage,” he says.

The work of newly trained directors from GOMACC, these plays will go head-to-head competing with each other to top honours. “We have a well-known and experienced panel of judges who will set the bar high. These include Magi-Noninzi Williams, Vuyisile Ishmael Boy Bangala, Mpho Molepo and Napo Masheane,” says Mabuza.

Williams is an actress, writer and director, and the founding member of Inkaba Players. She is an award-winning artist who has travelled with her work to Sweden, Britain and the United States, where her work premiered at Lincoln Center in New York.

Bangala is an academic, writer and director with over 30 years of experience. He organises and hosts community theatre festivals, plays, dances, puppetry shows and musicals.

Molepo is an actor, activist, arts administrator and producer. He has been the deputy chairperson of the National Community Theatre for Development Network for the past 10 years. He is also a founding member of the Southern Africa Theatre Initiative and sits on the National Arts Council theatre panel. In addition, he is the deputy chairperson of the National Arts Festival.

“Theatre is the mirror of a society, and it is the pulse of the people. Through theatre we empower, educate and reflect on society,” says Molepo, adding that theatre is about communication and is central to the development of society.

Napo MasheanePoet, playwright and actress Napo MasheaneA poet, playwright and actress, Masheane is the founding member of Feela Sista Spoken Word Collective as well as the co-director of Colour of the Diaspora, an international collective of black woman from the United States and South Africa. In addition, she is the founder of Kalaneng Arts Track, a youth theatre organisation created to empower emerging artists.

In addition to being performed at Uncle Tom’s on 21 April, the Directors Showcase will move to other parts of the province before a grand finale mid-year. The grand finale will bring together the two top finalists of each region.

Uncle Tom’s Community Centre is close to the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum and in walking distance of the Mandela Museum and Archbishop Tutu’s home.

It played a large role in the political struggle against apartheid, serving as a meeting place for activists and artists. Now it is used for many different events by artists and community groups, as well as for funerals, weddings, performances, conferences and seminars.

Uncle Tom’s Community Centre is at 8288 Maseko Street, Orlando West, Soweto. It’s open from Mondays to Fridays, from 7.30am to 4pm.

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