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SA Shorts :: 2-11 August 2012

SA SHORTS, a compilation of short and powerful plays, returns to UJ after a successful premiere at the National Arts Festival’s Student Theatre Festival.​

Nothing beats the excitement of local talent being developed, promoted and premiered.

Presented by UJ Arts & Culture, SA SHORTS is an exciting and fresh theatre collaboration featuring a collection of short plays, written by playwrights who have been given the opportunity to have their stories heard and their talent discovered.

“It is a laboratory for new voices and fresh ideas”, says director Alby Michaels. Works were selected from an open call for playwrights to submit previously unpublished and unproduced short plays. The works selected are ambitious, fresh, playful, engaging, energising, provocative and powerful.

In addition to bringing new, imaginative and fresh plays to life in performance, SA SHORTS can also be found on bookshelves. Junkets Publisher, an independent publishing venture headed up by the leading South African educational writer and compiler, Robin Malan has published the collection in association with UJ Arts & Culture.

SA SHORTS is deeply rooted in a passion for South African theatre – whether from our young playwrights, who each bring their own spice to the mix, or the director, Michaels, who combines forces with assistant directors, Motlatji Ditodi and Rethabile Mothobi, something has been created that will convince audiences once again that theatre is alive now more than ever.

Ashraf Johaardien, who conceptualised SA SHORTS recalls: “The first production I saw at the UJ Arts Centre as the new Head of Arts & Culture, less than a year ago, was Far Off Off-Broadway, uncomfortably truncated to the unintelligible acronym FOOB; basically an evening of short new American plays presented as a production.” Johaardien explains that the American connection felt tenuous despite a good relationship that had been built with the OOB (Off Off-Broadway) organisers through the UJ Arts & Culture collaboration with them on the project. “But I saw in FOOB, the unique opportunity to create a platform for new, emerging and established South African playwrights, without the pressure of commercial constraints or the box-office bottom line,” he says. And that was the genesis of SA SHORTS which premiered at the National Arts Festival’s Student Theatre Festival in Grahamstown, the expanded version of which comes home to the UJ Arts Centre Theatre.

SA SHORTS premiered four plays, Dance the Dance by Tristan Jacobs, Kill Me,Please! by Rhea MacCallum, Metaphorically Speaking by Zanandi Botes and The Opening by Rob K Baum at the National Arts Festival. A further two plays, Losing the Plot by Anthony Akerman and The Wave by Renos Spanoudes, will be added to the production which opens at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre, Kingsway Campus in August. Performances are from 2 August to 11 August 2012 and bookings are at Computicket.​