Play about Whoonga drug crisis wins big at 2016 Durban Theatre Awards

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Ulwembu, a play which examines the Whoonga drug problem in KwaZulu-Natal, won five prizes at the Mercury Durban Theatre Awards. Photo: File

ULWEMBU, a play which tackles the serious consequences of the Whoonga (low grade heroin) drug problem in Durban, was one of the big winners at this year’s Mercury Durban Theatre Awards.

Over the course of 2015, award-winning playwright and director Neil Coppen (Tin Bucket Drum, Tree Boy, Abnormal Loads and Animal Farm), actress Mpume Mtombeni, KwaMashu-based community-theatre group, The Big Brotherhood, and educational sociologist, Dylan McGarry, set about exploring the crisis.

The result of the two-year research/play-making process was a powerful new theatre production, which gave audiences the opportunity to walk in the shoes of users, dealers, police officers, social-workers and parents of drug users. Continue reading