Theatre alert: Exciting new writers’ collective launched in South Africa, by How Now Brown Cow Theatre Productions, Jan 2021

What: The Writers’ Collective Producer: How Now Brown Cow Productions, South Africa Launch date: January 2021Website: Instagram: hownowbrowncow_productions

Here we are in January 2021, with the pandemic still on the boil and live theatre performance is for the most part on pause. On-stage may be on pause but the creative process and planning is very much on the go. Great news is that How Now Brown Cow Productions, South Africa has launched The Writers’ Collective – to fast-track the creation of twelve new plays. This is fantastic news and is testament to the vision of Julie-Anne McDowell Hegarty and Daniel Galloway of How Now Brown Cow– a theatre production company launched last year [2021]. The writers will receive a monthly stipend as they develop their plays. Read on for information, as supplied and check back with TheCapeRobyn for updates as to how this exciting project will roll out:


A new writing programme, launched by theatre production company HOW NOW BROWN COW,will encourage the creation of twelve new works by South African playwrights.

The company has announced an exciting initiative, THE WRITERS’ COLLECTIVE, which will present the opportunity for three groups of writers to work with a mentor over a period of four months each and have the platform to each present a first draft of a new stage play which may be considered for production in time to come.

Every block of four writers, over the initial 12-month period, will work with a different, expert mentor and they will receive a monthly stipend to enable their efforts in delivering new ideas and scripts.

The inaugural group of writers will be mentored by BAFTA winner and double Academy Award nominee William Nicholson, who revised the Book and Additional Lyrics for the iconic South African hit musical KING KONG, which was presented at The Fugard Theatre in 2017, winning eight awards.

The participants for the first instalment of THE WRITERS’ COLLECTIVE, which startsfrom 1 February, are: Amy Jephta (THE ELLEN PAKKIES STORY, TRACKERS); Karen Jeynes (EVERYBODY ELSE (IS F*UCKING PERFECT), KISS KISS); Koleka Putuma (COLLECTIVE AMNESIA, NO EASTER SUNDAY FOR QUEERS) and Greg Homann (A VOICE I CANNOT SILENCE, IN OUR SKIN).

The second group of writers will start from 1 June and will be selected by a process of proposal submissions to the team at HOW NOW BROWN COW. Additional information in this regard shall be shared in time.

We are striving to reinvest in the grassroots of theatre and storytelling by empowering writers during this very difficult time.  We are nothing, we have nothing, without stories in the theatre, so we hope that out of this initiative will come some contemporary South African stories that reflect our society and people today,” says Julie-Anne McDowell Hegarty.

“As we enter another potentially challenging and unpredictable year for the arts, we must find ways to continue to inspire creativity, sustain hope and celebrate the talent we have in our country. Writing a play, especially in lockdown, can be a solitary process and so we are delighted to be able to present an opportunity to provide feedback and mentorship with THE WRITERS’ COLLECTIVE, in preparation for the time when we can take a play from page to stage,” says Daniel Galloway.

HOW NOW BROWN COW was founded last year by actress, writer, and publicist Julie-Anne McDowell Hegarty. Daniel Galloway, former Managing Director and Producer of The Fugard Theatre, acts as General Manager and Associate Producer alongside Julie-Anne. Based in South Africa, this professional theatre production company is committed to presenting a range of world-class productions which aims to commission, enable and empower South African theatre practitioners.

HOW NOW BROWN COW can be followed on the following social media platforms:


Facebook:    How Now Brown Cow Productions

Instagram:   hownowbrowncow_productions

LinkedIn:     How Now Brown Cow Productions

For all press related queries, please contact Christine Skinner on 082 855 7277 or

Julie-Anne McDowell (HOW NOW BROWN COW Founder and Producer)

Julie-Annestudied Classical Ballet and Speech and Drama through RADA, and then went on to perform in numerous musical theatre productions around Northern Ireland. She performed with The Lyric Theatre, The Ulster Opera House and The Ulster Hall and toured Ireland and the USA in several productions with the Belvoir Players.

Her television experience includes In Cold Blood, Tree Story, A Knight in Shining Armour, The Head Case and Farm. Theatre experience includes The Crucible, The Beaux Stratagem, Oedipus Rex, The Memory of Water, Beauty,winning Best Supporting Actress at the N.I Arts Festival, Me and My Best Friend, winning Best Actress at the N.I Arts Festival, Continental Quilt and Becca in The Rabbit Hole. She made her South African stage debut in the acclaimed two hander Couplet that ran at the Theatre on The Square, POPArt and Grahamstown [now named Makhanda] in 2017.  Then followed in 2018 and 2019 with the award-winning production of The Revlon Girl playing Marilyn which earned her a Best Supporting Actress Nomination at the 2019 Naledi Theatre Awards.  The Revlon Girl performed at POPArt, Grahamstown, a five-week run at the Theatre On The Square and at the Hilton Arts Festival. In July 2019, she participated in a Shakespeare Workshop with The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, UK, playing Viola in Twelfth Night directed by Andrew Normington.

Daniel Galloway (HOW NOW BROWN COW General Manager and Associate Producer)

Daniel fell in love with theatre by accident, while trying to be an opening bowler for South Africa and has not been able to get away from it for the last 22 years. With a Degree in Drama and Linguistics from Rhodes University and following eight years at the University of Cape Town as resident Production Manager and Lighting Designer, Daniel was asked to join the brand new, purpose built Fugard Theatre in Cape Town as Managing Director and Producer in 2010. There he worked alongside Producer Eric Abraham leading a formidable team which established The Fugard as one of the premiere theatre destinations in South Africa.

Daniel, in his career, has produced over 150 productions both locally and internationally, which collectively have received over 220 Award Nominations.  

​After almost a decade at the helm of The Fugard Theatre, Daniel now offers his Executive Management experience, Mentorship & Training, Consultancy Services and Lighting Design to the theatre industry, among others. 

William Nicholson (Writer and HOW NOW BROWN COW mentor)

William Nicholson’s career began with his television screenplays Shadowlands and Life Story, both of which won the BAFTA Best Television Drama award. His first play, an adaptation of Shadowlands for the stage, went on to a Tony Award-winning run on Broadway. He was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay of the film version, which was directed by Richard Attenborough and starred Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. His play The Retreat from Moscow ran for five months on Broadway and received three Tony Award nominations. Among his movie screenwriting credits are Sarafina, Nell, Firelight and Gladiator, (as co-writer, for which he received a second Oscar nomination), Les Miserables and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. In 2017 he wrote the revised book and five new songs for the revival of the South African musical King Kong at The Fugard Theatre in Cape Town. His second film as writer and director, Hope Gap was completed in 2018 for release in 2019 and is now available on Netflix. William has also written numerous fantasy novels, love and sex novels for teens and various novels for adults.

Thirteen Lives, his screenplay of the ordeal of the Thai boys’ football team trapped in a cave, is now in production in Australia with Ron Howard directing.

Amy Jephta (playwright)

Amy Jephta hails from Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town and works variously as a filmmaker, playwright, screenwriter, director and academic.

An alumni of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab in New York, Amy has worked as a mentor to community-based theatre groups as part of the Twist Theatre project, has been a voice and acting lecturer at CityVarsity in Cape Town and the Woodward School for Contemporary Art in Vancouver and an invited lecturer at Queens College, New York. She has held fellowships at the Orchard Project Episodic Lab (New York), the AfroVibes Festival (Amsterdam) and the Edinburgh International Festival. As a playwright, her work has been published in South Africa, performed at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town, the Riksteatern in Stockholm, and at the Bush Theatre, Theatre 503 and the Jermyn Street Theatres in London. In 2015 and 2017, her writing was directed by Danny Boyle and performed by James McAvoy as part of The Children’s Monologues at the Royal Court (London) and at Carnegie Hall (New York).

As a screenwriter, Amy has three feature film credits to her name including the LGBT drama While You Weren’t Looking (2015: Out in Africa) and the biopic Ellen: The Ellen Pakkies Story (2018: Moving Billboard Pictures). Ellen premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, was selected as the opening film for the Toronto Black Film Festival and was screened at the Afrykamera Festival (Poland), Seattle International Film Festival and Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles) before its national cinema release. Ellen was South Africa’s official submission to the 2018 Golden Globes for best Foreign Language Film. Amy’s short film, Soldaat (2017), won the Best Script and Best Short Film categories at the KykNet Silwerskermfees. She has staffed on several shows including Trackers (M-Net Channels/CINEMAX) and an African sci-fi series for SHOWMAX, is developing a feature film with God’s Own Country producer, Jack Tarling, and has completed a crime drama pilot for eOne. In 2019, Amy developed an hour-long original drama pilot as part of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Impact program. The Park is currently attached to be produced by Imagine Entertainment.

Amy’s outreach work includes having served as chairperson for Women Playwrights International (WPI), a global NPO that aims to create opportunities and space for women playwrights and currently operates in over 40 territories worldwide. She sits on the advisory board for CASA, an annual award for women playwrights that facilitates connections between writers in Canada and South Africa. In 2015, she co-founded the African Women Playwrights Network, a two year digital networking project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council. She has edited a collection called Contemporary Plays by African Women, released in 2019 by Methuen.

Amy has previously been named as one of the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Top Young South Africans, is the 2017 recipient of the national Eugene Marais Prize for Drama, the 2019 recipient of one of South Africa’s highest art accolades, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Theatre and the 2020 recipient of the Baumi Prize (presented by Pandora Film and the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, Germany). She now focuses on producing for film and television via her production company, Nagvlug Films, and is in post for her directorial feature debut, Barakat, due for theatrical release in 2020.

Amy is repped by 3Arts and CAA in the US, UK and Europe.

Koleka Putuma (playwright)

Koleka Putuma is an award-winning poet, playwright and theatre director.

Her bestselling debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia is taking the South African literary scene by storm. Since its publication in April 2017, the book is in its 10th print run and is prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities and Gothenburg University in Sweden. The collection is the recipient of the 2018 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, named 2017 book of the year by the City Press and one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times and Quartz Africa. It is translated into Spanish (Flores Rara, 2019), German (Wunderhorn Publishing House, 2019), Danish (Rebel with a Cause, 2019), Dutch (Poeziecentrum, 2020), Swedish (Rámus förlag). Forthcoming translations: Portuguese (Editora Trinta Zero Nove), and  Italian (Arcipelago itaca). Her theatre works include UHM (2014) Woza Sarafina (2016), and Mbuzeni (2017/8).  Her theatre for young audiences include Ekhaya  (2 – 7 year olds), and SCOOP: Kitchen play for carers and babes, the first South African theatre work for audiences aged 0 – 12 months old.

Putuma was appointed as creative director for the 2019 Design Indaba Conference.  She was recently shortlisted as one of four finalists for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative for theatre. She is a Forbes Africa Under 30 Honoree, recipient of the Imbewu Trust Scribe Playwriting Award, Mbokodo Rising Light award, CASA playwriting award and the 2019 Distell Playwriting Award for her play No Easter Sunday for Queers, published by Junkets in February 2020, and played to sold out audiences at the Market theatre in 2019.

​Koleka Putuma is the Founder and Director of Manyano Media, a multidisciplinary creative company that produces and champions the work and stories of black queer artists and queer life. 

Karen Jeynes (playwright)

Karen Jeynes is a creator of things. Karen is head writer and producer in charge of development for Both Worlds Productions, where she oversaw ZANews: Puppet Nation (winner of 22 SAFTAs, two WGSA awards for Best TV Comedy, and two time International Emmy Nominee for Best TV Comedy) for four years, as well as Point of Order (SAFTA winner for Best Game Show in 2017), Comedy Central News, and Parlement Parlement, and other projects in development.

As well as her work with Both Worlds, Karen has extensive experience in theatre and television, both writing and producing. Her plays include the multi award-winning Everybody Else (is F*cking Perfect) (Best Comedy 2005), Kiss Kiss, I’ll Have What She’s Having, and Laying Blame, as well as Vaslav, nominated for three Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards. She served as head writer for 90 Plein Street, as well as writing for shows like Thabang Thabong, Vaya Mzansi, and Moferefere Lenyalong. She has written several films for Pixel Perfect Productions, many of them for Mzansi Magic, and has a new film in development with Ikasi Media. She is in demand as a script consultant, researcher, and advisor, working with local and international production companies and channels.

Her adaptation of Thomas Rapakgadi’s The Purse is Mine aired on Bush Radio, and Safm has featured her series Office Hours co-written with Nkuli Sibeko, as well as the radio version of sky too big. Her teenage novels, Jacques Attack (co-authored with Nkuli Sibeko) and Flipside, co-authored with Eeshaam September, were released by New Africa Books. She has a children’s story published in the anthology Metz and Bop and other stories. She studied Drama and Linguistics at UCT, and obtained her postgrad in The Art of Writing from UWC. She’s now studying towards an MA in Writing for the Screen at Falmouth University. She served on the board of Women Playwrights International, and was the President of the International Centre for Women Playwrights for six years.

Greg Homann (playwright)

Greg Homann is a multi-award winning South African-born theatre director, playwright, dramaturg, and academic now living in the UK. His practice is led by a playful and curious pursuit of innovative theatre forms and cutting-edge styles.

For over 15 years he worked in South Africa where he was associated with some of the most successful, hard-hitting and critically acclaimed work staged in that country in its recent past. He is a world expert on post-apartheid plays. He has designed and taught directing, playwriting and acting courses, and has lectured broadly on topics that include post-colonialism, theatre history and identity studies.

He has been lauded for his dramaturgy and directing of productions of new work, having directed ten premieres – six of them new South African plays. His playful and cheeky takes on world-classics are also a key feature of his portfolio.

Between 2013 and 2017, Greg headed up two of the foremost tertiary-level theatre and performance departments in Johannesburg. He has been extensively engaged in the delivery of outreach and community engagement programmes in school halls, community centres, and as Resident Dramaturg of The South African State Theatre. For three years he was part of the Artistic Committee of the National Arts Festival.

His theatre productions have enjoyed both box-office and critical success at almost every major theatre in South Africa, including The Market Theatre, The Fugard Theatre, Artscape, The Durban Playhouse, The Theatre on the Square and The South African State Theatre. His work has been a staple at the Hilton Arts Festival and the National Arts Festival. The productions he has directed and/or written have been nominated for over forty awards, winning twelve Naledi Theatre Awards including two for Best New Play and two for Best Cutting-Edge Production. In 2014 he was the recipient of South Africa’s highest accolade for theatre, the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award.

Greg’s most recent productions in the UK are Humans at Work at the Warwick Arts Centre, When Swallows Cry at the RADA Festival 2019, and a sharing of In Our Skin for Birmingham’s SHOUT Festival. He is currently writing and teaching (virtually) from Guildford.

The Writers’ Collective, South Africa: Clockwise from L-R: Greg Homann, William Nicholson (centre), Amy Jephta, Karen Jeynes and Koleka Putuma. Supplied.

❇ Promoted post.