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Leopold Senakal and Pusetso Thibedi have been announced as the winners of the Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary, presented by the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA), the Theatre Arts Admin Collective and the Baxter Theatre Centre.

From the Press Release: “The Bursary is specifically designed for emerging theatre directors who have had some experience in directing, with a passion to launch a career as a theatre director. It offers an emerging theatre director a mentor, a small budget, a month’s rehearsal space and a week of performance at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective venue in Observatory. Senekal and Thibedi will be given a platform to write, direct, cast and perform their plays over these respective times, under the mentorship of the Theatre Arts Admin Collective, with technical assistance from the Baxter Theatre Centre. Senekal is taking up the first bursary. As the outcome, he will be directing the play Words, Words, Words, a short comedic play written by David Ives, to run at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective venue from 10 — 14 May, where after it will run at the Fugard Theatre Studio from 17 — 21 May. The cast include the seasoned Gahlia Phillips, Nelson Musonda and 2011 Fleur Du Cap winner for most promising Student De Klerk Oelofse. David Ives’ Words Words Words is the sixth act of All in the Timing, a short one act paradoxical comedy that is a bizarre look into the lives of three monkeys who are chosen for an experiment with the following premise: if three monkeys hitting keys at random on typewriters for an infinite amount of time will almost surely produce Hamlet (a variation on the infinite monkey theorem). The monkey characters confront and converse with each other in order to understand the purpose of the exercise put upon them. It promises to be a witty comedy, poking fun at the modern literary creative process, set in a surreal urban intellectual laboratory. Drawing visual inspiration from urban artists like Banksy, and Joseph Cornell, the play is fragmented, paradoxical, twisted, convoluted, and highly amusing. Senekal launched his professional career as Production Designer with the international hit The Mysteries in 2000 and also collaborated on the Opera The Silver Lake, West Side Story and Carmen for the Spier Arts Trust Festival. Senekal moved to the UK where he took up a teaching position at St. Benedicts Performing Arts Collage. During this time he was commissioned by the London Broom Hill Opera Company for their wildly successful Beggars Opera in 2003. In 2004 he was commissioned by the Urban Spaceman Company for their Edinburgh Festival Production of ROAD and the Scottish Ensemble for their National Tour. In recent years Senekal did various production designs and assistant directing for professional companies and educational institutions including The Maids, Sweeny Todd, Midsummer night’s Dream, Anne Frank, Cinderella and Tong en Taal. Back in South Africa, Senekal was commissioned by Jester Productions for Under the Fig Tree and he collaborated with the SBA for Kap Aan. He currently acts as Artistic Director for Good Call PDH. During 2010 Good Call PDH designed and executed various productions includingDisco Nights and the SA premiere of New Boy (New Space Theatre), Set and Costume Design for the SA premiere of Rossini’s Il Viaggio a Reim (Cape Town Opera), Aesop’s Fables for the Fugard Theatre and for Theatre Box the touring production of God of Carnage. Romeo’s Kiss(Bovim Ballet Company), the SA Premiere of It’s because I’m Jack under direction of Yvette Hardy and The Ragged Trousered Philanthropistsfor the Fugard Theatre. For the Baxter Theater he did set and costume design for Woyzeck, under direction of Lara Foot and also the Art Direction for Vallei van Sluiers II for KykNet. In 2011 he was awarded the Fleur du Cap for Best Design. Other current and future projects include Purgatorio by Ariel Dorfman for the Baxter Theatre, and Rakes Progress by Igor Stravinsky for UCT/CT Opera. Thibedi will take up the second bursary, which runs from 4 July to 6 August. More details of his project will be announced. Thibedi is an actor, writer, director and festival coordinator. As an actor he has worked with James Ngcobo, Leila Henriques and Vanessa Cooke. Most recently he performed in Woza Albert as part of the SA THEATRE Season, a festival he coordinated in August 2010. He wrote and directed a political satire Vote Tuna, in collaboration with Tshepiso Konopi and Broken Dreams, which was on at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown in 2010. Thibedi has also received the Percy Tucker award for the Best director and played a significant role in the 2010 Drama for Life Conference. “I am ready to share my knowledge and experience and learn new things in this journey of creativity,” said Thibedi about the Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary. Ticekts for Words, Words, Words at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective venue from 10 — 14 May cost R40 and bookings can be done by phoning 021 447 3683. Bookings for the run at the Fugard Theatre Studio from 17 — 21 May can be made by phoning 021 461 4554. Cost of entry is any donation that will be taken up at the door.

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