UCT Drama gradute, performer and theatre maker Asanda Phewa is the latest recipient of the Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary – made possible by a partnership between the Baxter Theatre Centre, Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts, and Theatre Arts Admin Collective. This unique initiative is a response to the lack of opportunities emerging theatre directors face in the performing arts, and aims to empower its candidates in a supportive environment by offering rehearsal and performance space, financial assistance to cover production costs, mentorship and the handling of publicity for the project.
For the Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursary, Phewa has created Enter the Maids, an interwoven adaption of Jean Genet’s play The Maids with her own Under the Pigeon Coop, written under the mentorship of Nadia Davids.
Phewa says about her production: “I think that Jean Genet’s play, The Maids is a great choice for me. I’ve been dying to work on it and a lot of my inspiration for Under the pigeon coop came from it.” Enter The Maids, an interjection of Jean Genet’s 1952 play The Maids, is a dark and mysterious piece of theatre tackles hard issues of identity, slavery, womanhood and sexuality, and challenges the boxes that society so often is comfortable leaving untouched. While slavery brought about some of the most atrocious acts against humanity, it also brought Christianity and a whole Diaspora of people that we otherwise might not have had.
Asanda Phewa remained on the Deans Merit list throughout her studies at UCT and received the Proffesor Mavis Taylor Memorial Award for UCT’s best theatre maker in 2008. Besides collecting awards, Phewa spread her academic interests to physical theatre – a route that saw her receive rave reviews in The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown 2009 for an original piece of work she created and performed in, called a face like mine, currently on tour in the /UK. She was also awarded an internship in the Netherlands with renowned Dutch theatre company, Toneelgroep. Since graduating from UCT, she has served as assistant director to one of South Africa’s most acclaimed theatre directors, Lara Foot, during the Jazzart production, partly god which featured at Artscape in October 2009. She also directed the controversial production, Reclaiming the P word and then went on to write and direct Scars which performed at Artscape earlier this year.
Enter the Maids is performed at the Central Methodist Mission Church, Greenmarket Square, from 22-27 November 2010 with Jill Levenburg and Chuma Sopotela. Tickets are R40; for bookings contact 021 447 3683 or firstname.lastname@example.org.