GIPCA calls for presentation proposalsThe Famous Idea Trading Company
The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) will present a weekend event focussed on Plays and Playwrights, from 23-26 August 2012.
This will take place at Hiddingh Hall, University of Cape Town Hiddingh Campus, Orange Street, Cape Town.
Following the popularity of last year’s Directors and Directing symposium, the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) acknowledges the need for the existence of such a forum as an annual event: a space for theorists, professionals and students of the theatre to come together and talk about key issues facing those who work in or watch or write about the theatre. This year, the focus is on Playwrights and Writing for the Theatre.
The scarcity of playwrights writing for the stage is legend in contemporary South African theatrical discourse, in stark contrast to the consistently articulated perception of the potential for innumerable stories waiting to be told. However, in a country of multiple subjectivities, is there room for the singular voice of the playwright? Is the consistently criticized quality of contemporary theatre a result of an indulgence of multiple voices as opposed to the authority and craft of the singular? Is the role of the playwright weakened by post-colonial subjectivities and the rise of genres such as visual performance, live art, performance art, dance theatre, and workshop theatre? These questions connect to the consistent quest for agency and platform to speak, to be definitive, to speak for a constituency or freely say it as it is, as an individual unfettered and without being answerable to anybody.
Inside the darkened theatre, one may well ask: Whose text trumps whose? Writer, director, designer, producer, audience, critic?
Directors and Directing: Playwrights will include theatre visits, performances, and informal talks, but primarily will comprise a symposium with a variety of panels.
Some of the topics will include:
- Critical approaches to South African writing for theatre
- Multiple languages in the theatre
- The primacy of the written text
- The relevance of the literary text in a post-dramatic, post-colonial, post -Artaudian universe
- Oral Traditions and the Theatre
- Post 1994 writing
- Directors on Writers / Writers on Directors
- Young Playwrights
- Writers who direct their own text
- Whose text 1: Writer, director, producer, funder?
- Whose text 2: Can I tell your story if I have not experienced your life?
- Whose text 3: Multiple voices in workshop theatre and theatre making
- New forms
Interested applicants should send a topic and an abstract of no more than 350 words for a presentation of 10-15 minutes. Please include your name, email address, landline and mobile numbers, as well as a 100 word biography. Applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, contact the GIPCA office on 021 480 7156. The full call for presentations is available from the GIPCA website. Deadline for applications is Monday 25 June 2012.
Notes to Editors:
Several recent provocations have heralded a new wave of ideas around the historic and contemporary role of the playwright.
In his opening speech, chair for the Naledi Awards, Dali Tambo proclaimed that “Literature is the cornerstone of narrative theatre and every cultural renaissance or theatrical renaissance in history has begun with an explosion of literary zeal. South African playwrights are the Griots of our age”, thereby bringing the gaze once more on the playwright and it follows, the scarcity of the play text in contemporary South African theatre.
Zakes Mda made a swipe at what he saw as opportunistic social engineering referring to a period when political plays were uppermost in South African theatrical production, when “writers wrote purely for export, and designed their plays in a manner which they thought would be acceptable to overseas audiences.”
Athol Fugard recently said,” The truth is that the new South Africa needs committed playwrights who are prepared to bear witness to what is going on every bit as urgently as the old ones did,” an area of concern that Mda later added his voice to.
Fugard added, "With so many young playwrights, the true craft of writing for living voices is not what it used to be. They write for attention spans of 10 minutes between adverts." In response, an anonymous blogger shot back “I suppose young playwrights aren't sure how to be overtly political. Most people under 30 I know have taken drugs so they're hardly going to be condemning drug abuse outright... The trouble is - we grew up with the dark side of the left (even if no one talks about it) but we still think political equals ideal - so it's easier to comment on pop culture than launch into a radical polemic.”
It is these sorts of conversations that inspire the discourse GIPCA hopes to facilitate.
About GIPCA: The University of Cape Town’s Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) facilitates new collaborative and interdisciplinary creative research projects in the disciplines of Music, Dance, Fine Art, Drama, Creative Writing, Film and Media Studies. Interdisciplinarity is a key theme of the institute and projects are imbued with innovation, collaboration and dialogue with urbanism and community. GIPCA was launched in December 2008 with a substantial grant from Sir Donald Gordon, founder of Liberty Life. An Advisory Board comprising Heads of Departments of all Performing and Creative Arts Departments at UCT helps to shape contexts for the instigation and development of projects by students and staff, as well as a wide range of institutions and individuals outside the university. For more information on the 2012 GIPCA programme, visit www.gipca.uct.ac.za or phone 021 480 7156.
GIPCA Director: Associate Professor Jay Pather
GIPCA Project Manager: Adrienne van Eeden-Wharton
Chair of the GIPCA Board: Professor Paula Ensor
The Famous Idea
011 446 7061/46
082 820 8584
Web site: http://www.gipca.uct.ac.za
Hiddingh Hall, UCT's Hiddingh campus, Cape Town Western Cape South Africa