Durban Womxn Playwrights

It’s no secret that theatre in Durban isn’t exactly thriving, but this local collective of womxn playwrights have teamed up to change that by building each other up whilst taking on the patriarchy with their art. Leah Jasmine paid them a visit to find out more.

 

 

When last did you go to the theatre? Even I have to admit it’s been a while, and it’s something I love most in the world. It might feel like theatre is a dying art, but as it turns out, there’s a revival taking place in the very heart of our city.

 

Philisiwe Twijnstra and Sbonelo Mgilane got in touch with us via Durban is Ours, and I was taken completely by surprise when they told me about their project, Durban Womxn Playwrights. They’re a collective of womxn in Durban who meet a few times a year to read manuscripts, give feedback, and support playwrights in getting their work to the stage.

 

Most industries are still male-dominated, and South African theatre is no different. With the recent exposure of “The Hollywood Situation” it’s hard to imagine the performing arts being a safe space for anyone, but in Durban that’s starting to change. Philisiwe (aka Zulu Blue) has opened up her private home to around 30 womxn playwrights who hope to see their work on stage. How it works is that each playwright works independently on their own material, and three times a year Philisiwe hosts the group in her home to have their plays read by actors. The womxn in the group are able to give each other feedback on their work, and Philisiwe and Sbonelo use their experience and contacts in the industry to assist with getting the best works to publishing and production.

 

 

The women of the group are telling the untold stories of Durban Womxn, ranging from their own life experiences to openly speaking about things like sex, love, politics and religion. Most importantly, their work challenges patriarchal norms within theatre and society at large, finally providing the stage with the kind of representation necessary to move forward from patriarchy into an equal society.

 

 

When we met with them they were seeking a more official venue to host their readings, and we’re delighted to announce their event this weekend. Join Durban Womxn Playwrights at South Vinyl Store for 10 Minute Plays this Saturday, 2 December.

 

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