The aims of this annual festival, run with the support of the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF), are to generate original South African theatre works, to provide a platform for these works to reach the attention of theatre producers, and to work towards full-scale productions of the winning plays.

Productions will be formally read (not staged) by actors under the guidance of a professional director, with the focus on the script being showcased most effectively, without being overwhelmed by elaborate staging, sets, costumes, lighting, performances and direction.

Regional festivals will be in held in Cape Town at the Magnet Theatre on 18 and 19 May for all works of comedy, in Johannesburg (at the University of Johannesburg) on 25 and 26 May for all small pieces of one and two handers, and then in Durban at the Catalina Theatre on 1 and 2 June for all dramas. The national finals will be in Durban on Sunday, 3 June.

The festivals have been a resounding success in previous years with most of the winning scripts (and many of those that did not win as well) going on to full-scale productions at a variety of theatres and festivals, both locally and internationally. Winning plays include Salaam Stories by Ashraf Johaardien, Bungi Writing Finals by Finuala Dowling, Guy Willoughby’s Church Full of Light, and Mike van Graan’s Green Man Flashing and Two to Tango. More recent winners Kobus Moolman’s Stone Angel and Nicholas Spagnoletti’s London Road (jury runner-up winner in 2007) are still currently enjoying runs in theatres and festivals nationally.

The winning scripts in each region - Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban - are re-read in the national final and are up for a grand prize of R30 000. A panel of carefully chosen industry leaders are the judges of the competition, and critically adjudicate the scripts.

The festival is a national project of PANSA: the Performing Arts Network of South Africa, which is a civic national network of individuals, NGOs, service providers and mainstream institutions that are engaged in the practice or support of the performing arts (performing arts in all forms - dance, music, theatre, opera, musical theatre). The national office is in Cape Town, with regional offices in Durban and North West, and active volunteers throughout the country.

Ticket prices are R30 per reading (R100 if you buy for all four readings in each region). The national final event is R30, or free with a stub from at least one regional performance. Tickets in all instances are available at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance for Cape Town (Magnet Theatre - 021 448 3513) and Durban (Catalina Theatre - 031 305 6889).

Plays in the comedy category to be read in Cape Town on 18 and 19 May are written by Karen Jeynes, Peter Hayes, Megan Furniss and Fred Benbow-Hebbert. One and two handers to be read at Johannesburg University of Johannesburg on 25 and 26 May are scripted by Chris Smit, Mzwanele Mgijima, Renos Nico Spanoudes and Ashwin Singh. Scripts in the drama category to be read in Durban at the Catalina Theatre on 1 and 2 June are by Anton Kruger, Duncan Buwalda, Ingrid Wylde and Craig Eisenstein. The winner of each regional competition festival will be presented at the national finals at Catalina Theatre on 3 June

For national enquiries, call 021 448 3513 or email For regional enquiries in Johannesburg and Cape Town, contact and in Durban email Alternatively, contact the PANSA national office on 021 448 3513, email or visit