Makana Drama Development Festival

Ubom! Eastern Cape Drama Company organises and runs a Makana Drama Development Festival for community artists & schools. We facilitate workshops, rehearsals, staging and performances of six to eight theatre works per section, which are adjudicated in the Festival. 

Background and past successes: 
A Festival competition focusing on community drama works was initiated by Ubom! and has been held at the Rhodes University Theatre every year since 2003. Community Drama groups in the area are lobbied and invited to participate. A programme of theatre skills workshops is designed and implemented by Ubom! directors and performers and these aim to assist and boost skills of the groups who participate in the festival. 

We believe that the element of competition amongst the groups has raised the standard of the productions as well as making for good entertainment. The use of the University facilities exposes the groups to working with lighting and stage management resources. This festival has not only benefited the dramatists professionally, but has also assisted in creating an enduring alliance between the community artists and the University through which drama in our community can grow. We are proud to note, that over the last few years, the winners in the senior festival have gone on to perform as part of the Studio Project at the National Arts Festival (2006 – “Sinners”;  2007 – “Rest in Pieces”; 2008 – “The Warders”; 2009 – “The Maxim”). In 2010, the Studio Project was very sadly discontinued due to the National Arts Festival removing funding. However, the Remix programme continued and our winner in the senior MDDF was included in the 10 day programme.

Through the Makana Drama Development Festival, Ubom! is making a serious impact on both the community and the arts industry through the following:
  • Community actors benefit from the focused injection of skills through the workshop programmes.
  • Groups and their members benefit from the organised exposure of their work.
  • Access to and use of the Rhodes University Theatre is structured in such a way as to allow groups to gain knowledge in important areas of Lighting and Sound, stagecraft and backstage procedure. 
  • Community drama groups are not only guided to create works of quality but are also  encouraged to preserve their works in a scripted form.   The whole process invites creation and collaboration both of which are of the utmost importance in maintaining a thriving arts industry.
  • The Makana Drama Festival  contributes to the growth of artistic expression in the Eastern Cape, and this we believe serves the country both provincially and nationally.
  • The Drama Festival also develops an interested and committed audience in the Eastern Cape.
  • Besides the obvious spin off of “nation-building”, the interaction of disadvantaged and advantaged artists, and audiences, serves in the overall development of our emerging South African artistic identity.

Each group undergoes adjudication and a feedback session. Local Grahamstown businesses support awards for the winning actors, directors and script writers. The festival isn't simply a competition though; it positively reinforces unemployed youths and offers alternatives to those who don't have easy access to tertiary education or further formal study in the arts and theatre.  

See the gallery in the sidebar for photos from past and current Makana Drama Development festivals.
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