Allowing Authors To Give Voice To Vision

Guy Willoughby

LAST year, in a ground-breaking effort to attract new writing to radio drama, a competition was launched by Radio South Africa in conjunction with the Congress of South African Writers (Cosaw). This year, Soundscapes: New Voices of the ’90s again appeals to local writers to explore the medium of sound — “the theatre of the mind”.

The Soundscapes competition attracted 188 entries countrywide in 1993, several of which have subsequently been aired by Radio South Africa. The winner was Julie Frederikse, whose play The People’s Voice was broadcast in April, directed by Jerry Mofokeng and Nigel Vermaas.

Soundscapes signals the desire of Radio South Africa to reposition itself, as the public service station for all South African English-speakers. The competition is open to writers who have not previously had a radio drama broadcast: as the convenors put it, “in a changing South Africa, the competition aims at encouraging local authors to give voice to their vision”.

First prize is a generous R10 000 (sponsored by the Foundation for the Creative Arts), with second and third prizes of R5 000 and R3 000 respectively. In addition, a maximum of 10 runners-up will be invited to take part in a workshop early next year, at which writers can hone their scripts to a level of broadcast quality.

In February this year, a finely eclectic mix of writers from all over the country got together at Auckland Park, and during five heady days exchanged techniques and ideas at the first post-competition workshop.

Closing date for entries is September 30, and the winners will be announced in the press on November 30. To obtain entry forms and for further information, telephone Julia Anne Malone of Radio South Africa’s drama department at (011) 714- 2752.

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