PANSA KZN had another fabulous Musho! International Theatre Festival, their eleventh festival of one and two person productions, which took place from 13 to 18 January at the Catalina Theatre in Durban’s Wilson’s Wharf.
Once more the standard of the productions was remarkably high and the selection of productions covered a diverse range of subjects: friendships, families and love in all its guises; finding a humane face to the horrors of war; ghosts and zombies; paramedics and bird-lovers; funerals, death, and dying; satire, comedy…. and the quirky and whimsical.
Productions came from the Netherlands (courtesy of Twist Projects) and Mozambique (courtesy of Pro Helvetia and the Swiss Development Council) and from closer to home – from Johannesburg, the Mozambique border and a strong contingent from Pietermaritzburg.
“The work this year was of an exceptionally high standard, and this reflected in the audience’s response to the performances and the number of people that came back to the theatre, for show after show. The festival continues to grow and we were delighted to offer such a variety of work this year that showcased engaging concepts, writing and performance. It was an inspiring week for those of us who worked on the festival, as well as those who came to watch,” said Emma Durden, Musho! festival director.
Typically, the Performing Arts Network of South Africa: PANSA, jumps into the new year with vigour by staging a busy festival which showcase smaller theatrical works, all featuring either one or two actors.
Each production was staged for one performance only in a packed programme of 18 shows over five days; ending with a full day of two master-classes for theatre practitioners and drama students – hosted by Dutch actress Saskia Driessen looking at personal narratives as theatre, and Gerard Oldhaar, a Dutch performer looking at street theatre as a genre.
Embedded in the festival were two sessions of Musho! with a Twist – showcasing four productions which has been created through the Twist Development initiative which is sponsored by the NLC (National Lotteries Commission) presented as two compact double bills.
Musho! Festival offers a selection of awards to festival participants. These include trophies and cash prizes for the winners. Donors for the awards included Ailsa Windsor from Going Places website and marketing specialists; theatre regulars Tony Thoms and Lindi Drummond from LTJ travel and a handful of anonymous donors.
In the emerging artists category, the Audience Favourite went to the two-hander about the life of paramedics: Burn-Out (JC Zondi and Simphiwe Ngcobo); the Audience Favourite runner up went to The Toilet (Ubizo Theatre Company) and a special mention award went to Beyond Trust (Thandimpilo Theatre Group).
In the Professional theatre category, the Audience Favourite went to Termite (Written by Greig Coetzee, directed by Peter Mitchell); the Audience Favourite runner up went to a charming show for very young audiences: Sunshine Babies (written and directed by Gisele Turner) and a Special Mention Award went to Sweetie Darling (written and directed by Clinton Marius).
The Suliman Selection Trophy –given to the Suliman family’s favourite show of the festival, judged this year by Devaksha Moodley and Tash Reddy – went to Sweetie Darling.
The ArtSmart Trophy for best behind the scenes contributor went to Motaung Koalane.
For photos, reviews and festival information, visit the Musho! website: www.mushofestival.co.za