Calling all aspiring directors...
South Africa - When the Youth Theatre Project, an innovative by PANSA, kicked off with a script writers course at the start of this year in the Eastern Cape, it was the start of a long list of other workshops, presented free of charge, to young people between the ages of 15 and 25.

The next upcoming course, a two day seminar on lighting, will be presented by David Limbert and Dave Whitehouse of DWR Distribution on 17 and 18 May 2014 at the Savoy Theatre in Adcockvale.

"A lot of work has gone into this project," said David Limbert, who is the head of the Eastern Cape Branch of the Performing Arts Network of South Africa (PASA) and who came up with this incentive which is funded by Africalia, a Belgium based theatre development organisation. "It could not have happened without lots and lots of people giving up their time and energy to make it possible. This is not just about one or two people heading an idea."

The workshops have been met with enthusiasm and some of the topics covered so far have included theatre photography, directing, acting, theatre make-up and hair, and stage management. "It's a very special project, but it's part of a bigger picture," said Limbert.

An enormous amount of top performing theatre practioners in South Africa are originally from the Eastern Cape. What Limbert is trying to do is create awareness and train people in the various aspects and disciplines of the performing arts, not solely concentrating on the performers. In this way he aims to create a level of competency, and while it is inevitable that talent and ability often open doors and take people away from home, there will still be those remaining and ensuring that the arts is kept alive and vibrant in the Eastern Cape.

"This phase of the project will end after this round of workshops, after which the second phase will begin," explained Limbert. "This will involve selected youth under mentorship from seasoned professionals producing a production comprising 5 short plays, created by attendees of the script writer's workshop." Every role in the production will be filled by a Youth member from director to marketing and everything in-between.

"This is good for youth development and to create awareness," commented Whitehouse from DWR who has been friends with Limbert for close to twenty years and who is delighted to be part of the project. "David Limbert used to be the production manager on lots of shows where I was the lighting designer and we always got on well. He has always been passionate about sharing his knowledge, we both are, and it's really cool to be working with him again after a few years break. I am very proud to be associated with a project that is attempting to raise the technical standard of theatre in the Eastern Cape."

The two day stage lighting design presented by Limbert and Whitehouse will include the current and future development of LED technology. He will discuss the pros and cons and will have a few Philips Selecon fixtures with him as a reference for those attending.

PANSA is a national network of individuals, NGO's, service providers and mainstream institutions that are engaged in the practice or support of the performing arts (all forms of dance, music, opera, musical theatre and theatre).PANSA acts as the pilot coordinator of the Youth Theatre Project, which is a unique and exciting for youth in the area to have an opportunity to work with some of the leaders in the field.

(Jim Evans)

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