We are thrilled to announce that Time to Dream, a short documentary film celebrating The CASA Award, is being released on 8 March 2023 for International Women’s Day.
This film, directed by South African filmmaker Dominique Jossie, explores the inspirations and challenges South African women playwrights face, as told through the stories of three of our CASA Award winning playwrights: Rehane Abrahams, Tamara Guhrs Schulz, and Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni.
This documentary marks the final year of The CASA Award, a CAnadian/South African collaboration supporting women playwrights in South Africa.
CASA is a CAnadian and South African partnership. In 2015, Rebecca Burton, Beverley Cooper, Marcia Johnson, Sally Stubbs, and Colleen Wagner were part of a Canadian delegation that attended the Women Playwrights International (WPI) Conference in Cape Town. During this time, they formed a partnership with Amy Jephta, then President of WPI, in order to find funding opportunities for South African women (cis or trans) and non-binary playwrights living in South Africa. In 2017, the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Women’s Caucus, along with the African Women Playwrights Network (AWPN), launched the CASA Award, a $5000 cash prize that funds women playwrights in South Africa who lack support and time to write. The award winners have also received mentorship from both an experienced Canadian dramaturge and a South African theatre director, as well as collection of Canadian plays, generously donated by Playwrights Canada Press and Scirocco Drama.
Since 2017, we have awarded and supported seven extraordinary and gifted women: Rehane Abrahams, Genna Gardini, Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni, Kela Griot (formerly Maswabi), Koleka Putuma, Tamara Guhrs Schulz, and Philisiwe Twijnstra.
We also facilitated a “Pen-Pal” exchange program – a peer-to-peer matching of Canadian and African women playwrights. One of these exchanges directly led to CASA aiding a Zimbabwean playwright, censored because of her writing work, to find refuge in Canada. To make this happen, we coordinated with PEN Canada, PEN International, and Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) of PEN America, St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church in Vancouver, Protect Defenders EU, and some truly extraordinary people at the University of Victoria, BC.
CASA established partnerships with South African organizations and individuals, and brought practical assistance to our South African colleagues. In turn, we have all benefitted. Playwrights have grown and achieved successes, strong relationships have been built, and hearts have opened on both sides of the hemisphere.
Kela Griot (formerly Maswabi)
Canadian Mentor: Marcia Johnson; South African Mentor: Mwenya Kabwe
Kela Griot is a mother, writer, activist, creative entrepreneur, and co-founder of Juiced. BET Africa featured her poetry on Human Rights Day. Her collaboration with indigenous instrumentalist Farai Machingambi closed off the African Centre for BioDiversity’s Seed Dialogue at the Constitution Hill, and she was a part of L7 Sativa’s Ensemble at Oppikoppi Nomakanjani. Kela is currently working on Juiced: a podcast series, as well an anthology named Inzilo which will be staged as a play.
CASA play: Birth of a Wounded Womb
The play is set on a township street plagued by rape. The oracle attempts to ground irrevocable healing by severing and healing a generational wounding.
Running Time: 50 minutes
Cast of Four: Olebogeng – Female; Charlie – Young man; Mme Mapula – Old woman; Ous Minah – Woman.
Social Media Handles:
@KelaGriot on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn
@Juiced on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
@TheHempireMedia on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn
Canadian Mentor: Diane Flacks; South African Mentor: Mwenya Kabwe
Koleka Putuma is a multi-award-winning theatre practitioner, writer, and poet. Her poetry tackles themes such as homophobia, womanhood, race, and the dynamics of relationships, religion, and politics. Her poetry is sharp and thought-provoking, unique in its form, language, and structure; every line, a powerful statement of what she stands for. Her debut collection of poems, Collective Amnesia, was published in 2017. It was awarded the Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, named book of the year by the City Press, and one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times and Quartz Africa. Collective Amnesia has been translated into eight languages.
In 2021, Manyano Media published her sophomore collection of poems, Hullo, Bu-Bye, Koko, Come In. In 2022, Putuma was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award – a first time award for Poetry. Koleka is a Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative finalist for theatre, a Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 Honoree, recipient of the Imbewu Trust Scribe Playwriting Award, Mbokodo Rising Light award, and the Distell Playwriting Award for her play No Easter Sunday for Queers.
She is the Founder and Director of Manyano Media, a multidisciplinary creative company that empowers and produces stories and works by black queer women.
CASA Play: No Easter Sunday for Queers
No Easter Sunday for Queers follows the hate crime murder/love story of Napo and Mimi. The lovers, through the spirit, subconscious, Easter Sunday sermon, return on the anniversary of their wedding death crucifixion to make the church pastor perpetrator Father reconcile and reckon with the present, the past, and a sacrifice crucifixion he must account for.
Running Time: 45 minutes
Cast of Three: Male – mid 50s; Female – age 22; Female – 32; plus a choir of 20 non-gendered people
Canadian Mentor: Natalie Meisner; South African Mentor: Lara Bye
Philisiwe Twijnstra holds an MA degree in Creative Writing from Rhodes University. Her newest plays, The Blue Blue and The Road, are touring Europe. Twijnstra is an AWPN-Ghana recipient 2022. Her short story, The girl named Uku/pha/za/mi/se/ka, was published by Catalyst Press in 2021. Twijnstra, with her co- founded film company, is in development with a new short film script. Her current play, Horny &, is in consideration for an international publication. Twijnstra is also working on a collection of erotic & speculative short stories, while also completing her novel Sleeping Gods.
CASA Play: Not Enough Buses in Spring
Not Enough Buses in Spring is about a young woman who wants to be released from her demons, because running is no longer an option.
Running Time: one hour.
Cast of Two: Pimrose – 26-30 Black Woman, pharmacist, emotional, smart; and Vincent – 24-30 Black Man, street smart, township gangsta.
Winner: Rehane Abrahams
Canadian Mentor: Kelley Jo Burke; South African Mentor: Sara Matchett
Rehane Abrahams is an award-winning theatre maker, playwright, and actor. She holds an MA from the University of Cape Town. Her work spans theatre, film, and television and has toured to San Francisco, the UK, The Netherlands, and Indonesia, as well as in her native South Africa. Rehane’s plays include the award winning one-hander Womb of Fire. Her play, What the Water Gave Me, is published in New South African Plays 2006. She is co-founder of The Mothertongue Project, a women’s arts collective, which has been active for seventeen years. She has also appeared in numerous films and television shows, including Bhai’s Café and Arendsvlei. Rehane is currently working on her PhD.
CASA Play: The Beginnings
The play is centered around the experiences of women of colour and their stories of different forms of abuse, both past and present, in the state-run South African obstetric system.
Running Time: 60 minutes
Cast: The number of cast members is dependent on the production.
Winner: Tamara Guhrs Schulz
Canadian Mentor: Patti Flather; South African Mentor: Tshego Khutsoane
Tamara Guhrs Schulz grew up alongside elephants and tall trees in the Luangwa Valley in Zambia. She is a writer, educator, and theatre-maker whose work is deeply concerned with ecology and colonial hauntings. She now lives in Johannesburg where she runs Flying House, a non-profit arts organization. Tamara is currently working on a project that combines scenography and nature writing to explore relationships between ancestry, migration, and ecological entanglements in Southern Africa.
CASA Play: Thin Air
Kestral lives in a hollow baobab tree, estranged from family, haunted by tragedy. She summons her childhood friend Moyo, and sets in motion a long-overdue reckoning.
Running Time: 80 minutes
Cast of Five: Two Male; Two Female, and Child (who can be played non-gendered).
Winner: Genna Gardini
Canadian Mentor: Erin Shields; South African Mentor: Mwenya Kabwe
Genna Gardini is a South African writer and educator. She is currently a PhD candidate in Drama at Queen Mary University of London. Genna writes across many different forms—plays, poetry, short fiction, and critical writing. She has taught Drama and Creating Writing at Queen Mary and CityVarsity Cape Town. Genna is working on her second poetry collection and hoping to have her play, Many Scars, produced in the future.
CASA Play: Many Scars
Many Scars is a play about multiple sclerosis, ice-skating medieval saints, zombies, medical aids, purgatory, and much more. But mostly, multiple sclerosis. Many Scars is a four-act play.
Running Time: About three and half hours with an interval.
Cast of Seven: Five Women; One Non-binary/ Trans-masculine Person; One Man
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Winner Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni
Canadian Mentor: Joanna Falck; South African Mentor: Jemma Kahn
Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni is a South African theatre-maker who has been described as a ‘theatre prodigy’ in the Cape Times. She strives to make provocative content focused on themes of social politics, history, and violence in contemporary society. Her award-winning and critically acclaimed works include Sainthood and Delela/Disrespectful. Tiisetso is preparing to bring her latest play, Delela/Disrespectful to Cape Town after debuting last year, and she is starting the groundwork to get lamb v. slaughterhouse into production.
CASA Play: lamb v. slaughterhouse
Five influential people meet to discuss an impossible choice of ‘suffer or submit’ in the face of being colonized by a colony of violent men.
Running Time: 70 minutes
Cast of Five: All the roles are open to cisgender women, transgender women, and/or non-binary actors. The characters are not of a particular age, racial identity, or nationality.
Social Media Handles:
A short documentary film celebrating The CASA Award
by South African filmmaker, Dominique Jossie
About Dominique Jossie
Dominique Jossie is an award-winning filmmaker with ten years of experience working across documentary, fictional film, and television series. With roots in theatre, she studied Film, Media and Drama at the University of Cape Town (2009). After working for the local broadcaster, e.tv, Dominique directed the short film Rooilug, which premiered at the Silwerskerm Film Festival (2019) and was nominated for eight awards, including best short film and best director. Thereafter, Dominique produced the SAFTA award-winning short film, Address Unknown, and line produced the South African feature, Barakat (2020). The highlight of her career was being selected as one of six writers for the first ever Realness Netflix Episodic Lab. As a writer, Dominique is drawn to themes of womanhood and generational stories about her mixed heritage.
For more information and links please visit: https://linktr.ee/DominiqueJossie
A Time to Dream Film Credits:
Director and Producer: Dominique Jossie
Cinematographer: Zaheer Banderker
Gaffer: Waseem Vallie
Sound: Michael Snyman
Sound: Junaid Banderker
Editor: Janine Minnaar
Sound and Design & Final Mix: Zaheer Banderker
Art Director: Dewan Tieling
Featuring: Rehane Abrahams, Tamara Guhrs Schulz, Tiisetso Mashifane wa Noni, and Amy Jephta
Actors: Skye Russel, Karley Lotz, and Crystal Donna Roberts
South African CASA Team:
South African Coordinator: Amy Jephta
African Women’s Playwright Network: Yvette Hutchinson
South African Partners: Gerard Bester (Outreach Centre/Johannesburg); Caroline Calburn (Theatre Arts/Cape Town)
Canadian CASA Team:
Canadian Coordinator: Beverley Cooper
Playwrights Guild of Canada: Rebecca Burton, Nancy Morgan, and Robin Sokoloski
CASA Committee Members: Rebecca Burton, Marcia Johnson, and Sally Stubbs,
with Cheryl Foggo, Tara Goldstein, Rachel Kennedy, Conni Massing, Hope McIntyre, Natalie Meisner, Monique Renaud, and Colleen Wagner
ARC Theatre, Deborah Drakeford
Canadian Stage, Brendan Healy
Greenthumb and PTC/Vancouver Fundraising Team
Factory Theatre, Nina Lee Aquino
OISE, Tara Goldstein
CASA Jury Members: 2017-2021
Mari Bortslap, Caroline Calburn, Nadia Davids, Amy Jephta, Janice L. Honeyman, Marcia Johnson (Chair), Mwenya Kabwe, Sara Matchett, Lieketso Mohoto, Jennie Reznek, Jacqui Singer, Sally Stubbs (Chair) and Philisiwe Twijnstra.
Each year the CASA jury reviewed many excellent applications by South African womxn who were bravely engaging with challenging and personal subject matter. We would like to also celebrate the following playwrights, who the jury singled out for their excellent submissions:
Iman Isaacs, Qondiswa James, Mercy Kannemeyer, Daisy ‘Dmapz’ Maphathe, Campbell-Jessica Meas, Bongumusa Mnisi, Napo Masheane, Ameera Patel, Nwabisa Plaatjie, and Sanalisiwe Yekani.
This documentary celebrates the final year of the CASA Award and all of its recipients.
CASA simply wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of three anonymous donors and many, many others who gave money or their time towards this project. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We also wish to thank our South African team, led by the amazing Amy Jeptha, along with Gerard Bester in Johannesburg, and Caroline Calburne of Theatre Arts in Cape Town.
For further information about CASA please contact:
Beverley Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org