Theatre: What can theatre become in this new world? Amy Louise Wilson’s Anotherkind at NAF 2021

What: Something’s Got To Die First, in Anotherkind by Amy Louise Wilson at The National Arts Festival 2021

Platform: – three live sessions on Zoom on the festival’s platform

Direct booking links to Anotherkind:

July 15: at 7pm
July 16: at 7pm
July 17: at 7pm

Cost: R40 per single ticket or buy a Festival Pass – R1000 – which gives access to all content on the Curated Programme and AnotherKind is on that platform so if you have a Festival Pass, all you have to do is register for the Zoom sessions. If buying single tickets, you also need to register for each session.      

Award winning play by Amy Louise Wilson – to be curated and staged live via livestream at NAF

South African performer and writer Amy Louise Wilson won the 2020 Distell National Playwright Competition for her play, Another Kind of Dying. The competition is an annual event. Part of the prize was having her play staged at the National Arts Festival (NAF) in Makhanda. The festival went online in 2020, due to Covid and the national lockdown. In 2020, Wilson staged a vignette from the play online. The hope was that she would be able to stage the play, live in Makhanda for 2021 with an audience-in-attendance. That plan went asunder, with the surge in Covid, increased lockdown restrictions. The NAF has risen to the challenge of retaining the immediacy and potency of live performance, via live stream sessions on Zoom, via the NAF platform. To realise “her dream of bringing” the play to this year’s National Arts Festival Amy Louise Wilson has “had to reimagine her prize”. She is presenting an adaption of her play in three Zoom sessions on the NAF website – June 15, 16 and 17, 2021. The process is about “live-curating and streaming” her play – adapted for the medium of online live.  She explains: “From the death of conventional theatre staging imposed by Covid regulations, we conceived a live-curated work for streaming via this year’s festival’s digital channels.” Wilson invited collaborators to work with her – actors to directors to collage and sound artists. They participated in a six-week creative lab “to bring the story to life in an experimental process which spanned multiple media and disciplines. The result is AnotherKind – three sessions at the NAF on Zoom. This information supplied:

Wilson says that AnotherKind is the adaptation of her original script, Another Kind of Dying. “In one way, it’s intended as a funeral for a play that could never be staged. But it’s also an exciting celebration. It marks the birth of a new, multi-media, hybrid experience which asks the questions: ‘what can theatre become in this new world?’ and ‘how can we make sure storytelling survives?’”

Another Kind of Dying, which was written for and with actor Aphiwe Livi, tells the story of Silumko, who moves from the rural Eastern Cape to Johannesburg after the death of his father.  “It’s a coming-of-age story about identity, perceptions of patriarchy and masculinity in South Africa and the burdens they impose.  But it is as much about a shedding of expectations and the joy that emerges from living a new life on your own terms. We have tried to mirror that in the way the new work has been created.”

Wilson’s NAF work builds on and breaks apart the original script across a series of short, filmed performance and sound pieces. “The online archive for this process will be activated through a series of live-streamed performances,” she says. “These part-scripted/part improvised performances are to be presented as a live-typed essay that frames the narrative and provides context on the process – basically a ‘scrolling tour’ through the archive of filmed pieces.”

She adds: “For me, it’s a thrilling way of giving audiences an intimate view into ‘another kind’ of process – a meeting of textual fragments, recorded rehearsals, as well as performance and sound experiments. The project has transformed the script from a single-authored work to a co-created story told by multiple voices. The idea is to challenge and extend the formal limits of live collaboration and theatre.”

AnotherKind brings together Aphiwe as lead actor, with scenography and art design by Francois Knoetze; creative and performance direction by Joanna Evans; sound design and original composition by Gugulethu Duma; playlist curation by Zara Julius & KONJO; and collage art by Duduetsang Lamola (blk banaana). The website archive has been designed by Francis Burger. The choral work is performed by Iman Isaacs, Nhlanhla Nkwanazi, Buhle Ngaba, Babalwa Makwetu with performance appearances by Kathleen Stephens, Thembekile Komani and Phamela Manzi.

Wilson is honoured that Distell and NAF have given her the chance to reconceive her script. “They have been generous and courageous in allowing me to re-imagine my script in this new, experimental format.”  

Booking links are in the box above. You can either buy a pass to the festival- R1000 – or buy tickets as singles. Either way, you need to register for each session and a link will be sent to you.

What can theatre become in this new world? South African performer and writer Amy Louise Wilson won the 2020 Distell National Playwright Competition for her play, Another Kind of Dying. For the 2021 NAF, Wilson has adapted her play as Anotherkind and it will go out, in collaboration with creatives – on July 15, 16 and 17,2021, at 7pm. Three sessions. Register for each session.

About Distell

Distell, rooted in South Africa, is considered Africa’s leading producer and marketer of alcohol beverages including spirits, wines, ciders and ready-to-drinks (RTDs). The company has been investing in in arts and culture for over half a century and remains as committed as ever to developing new talent.

Says Phumza Rengqe of Distell’s corporate marketing division; “Funding arts and culture is investing in our future. Distell fully recognises how much our cultural life contributes to the health of our communities. We see our role as supporting the arts by showcasing new and diverse talent to build better cross-cultural understanding and accommodation, upliftment, economic opportunity and tourism too.” 

Distell workshops at the NAF

The NAF, with the support of Distell, will also be presenting a series of writing workshops during the festival period, from July 8-18 2021. The programme appears below. 

Writing for Healing – online wotkshops at the National Arts Festival 2021  

Vangile Gantsho is a healer, poet and co-founder of impepho press. She is dedicated to creating and/or supporting spaces which encourage (black) feminine healing. *This workshop is aimed at those with or without experience in writing. *Potential option of a second workshop, depending on demand. 14 July at 16:00 2 hours, 15 pax Ticket price: Free

Poetry and Self-Publishing: Flow Wellington, is an author, publisher, and founder of Poetree Publications. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of getting your work onto the page. *This workshop is aimed at those who have experience in writing. *Potential option of a second workshop, depending on demand. 15 July at 19:00 1 hour, 20 pax Ticket price: Free  

Scriptwriting 101: Facilitated by Danile Mohlamme of Writers’ Guild SA, this workshop in two parts will cover everything from concept to pitching. Please note that you will need to be available for both sessions to participate in this workshop. *This workshop is aimed at those who have experience in writing. *This workshop is a once-off. 17 July; 10:00 to 14:30 2 x 2 hours, 20 pax Ticket price: R30   For further information, go to  

ABOUT THE DISTELL NATIONAL PLAYWRIGHT COMPETITION   The competition is a partnership between Distell and the National Arts Festival that aims to discover and foster new South African scriptwriting voices while also promoting diversity and social cohesion. It was founded in honour of Adam and Rosalie Small, whose work in literature and education helped to shape South African culture.        

Follow National Arts Festival:

Twitter @artsfestival Instagram http://@nationalartsfestival and Facebook @nationalartsfestivalmakhanda
Follow Distell

Twitter @DistellGroup Facebook @DistellGroup and Youtube @DistellGroup  

Join the conversation and use the hashtags: #NAF2021 and #DistellNewVoices2021  

❇ Sponsored content. Featured image of Amy Louise Wilson and other images – supplied.