The CASA Award is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 playwriting award is actor/director/playwright Rehane Abrahams of Cape Town, South Africa. The Jury, consisting of South African theatrical powerhouses Amy Jeptha, Sara Matchett, and Jennie Reznek, along with Canadian Chair and celebrated playwright/actor Marcia Johnson, had this to say about the winner:
“Rehane presented a strong idea based on focused and significantly developed research. Her play, centered around the experiences of women of colour in the state-run obstetrics system, is relevant and challenging. Her demonstrable track record as an actress and director, as well as her compelling voice as a playwright, has made her a worthy recipient of this award.”
Rehane will receive financial support ($5000 CAN) giving her time and a place to write. She will be mentored by both a senior woman-identified Canadian playwright as well as a South African theatre-maker.
Only in its second year, CASA is thrilled with the excellence of this year’s applications. The Jury noted:
“This year we received a high calibre of applications from a number of South African women playwrights. The subject matters these writers broached are provocative, brave and engaging, and the high quality of work is indicative of a trend amongst women playwrights to take on controversial and contemporary subject matter in new, exhilarating ways. It was especially encouraging to note how many younger (first and second time) writers applied. The applications that particularly stood out as commendable on the jurors’ shortlist were from playwrights Ameera Patel, Genna Gardini, Napo Masheane and Qondiswa James.”
CASA is a CAnadian and South African partnership. In 2015, Canadian playwrights Beverley Cooper, Marcia Johnson, Sally Stubbs and Colleen Wagner attended the Women Playwrights International (WPI) Conference in Cape Town and during this time formed a partnership with Amy Jephta, then President of WPI, in order to find funding opportunities for women playwrights in South Africa, who lack support and time to write.
CASA is a partnership between The Playwrights Guild of Canada Women’s Caucus and The African Women Playwrights Network. The Canadian committee consists of Beverley Cooper, Cheryl Foggo, Marcia Johnson, Natalie Meisner, Sally Stubbs, Colleen Wagner and Deborah Williams, with PGC advisors Rebecca Burton, Monique Renaud, and Robin Sokoloski. South African partnering organizations are the Theatre Arts Admin Collective and the Hillbrow Theatre.
CASA wishes to thank all the individuals and organizations who have donated funds or space for the first year of CASA, particularly ARC Theatre Co., Gailey Road Productions, Green Thumb Theatre, PTC, Factory Theatre, and Wet Ink Collective. Because of the kind and generous donation of two anonymous benefactors, CASA is fully funded through to 2022.
CASA recipient Rehane Abrahams is an award-winning theatre maker, playwright, and actor. She holds an MA from the University of Cape Town where she also trained as an actor. Her work spans theatre, film, and television. She has lived and worked as a performer, theatre-maker and director in San Francisco, the UK, Java, and Bali, Indonesia, as well as her native South Africa. Rehane’s most recent one-hander Womb of Fire, was seen at the 2018 Afrovibes Festival in The Netherlands and selected for the 2018 International Theatre Festival of Kerala in India. In 2018, it also enjoyed a run at the Baxter Studio and the USWoordfees, where it won awards for Best Play, Best Actor, and Best Director. Rehane’s play What the Water Gave Me is published in the New South African plays 2006 Aurora Metro publications. She is also co-founder of The Mothertongue Project, a women’s arts collective, which has been active for 17 years (mothertongue.co.za). Her recent film work includes Bhai’s Café, which will be released in February 2019. She can currently be seen on TV, playing Wendy Newman, the primary antagonist, in Kyknet en kie’s Arendsvlei.
The CASA Project is a charitable arm of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, initiated by PGC’s Women’s Caucus. The goal of the project is to create meaningful connections between Canadian and African women-identified playwrights.
Playwrights Guild of Canada is a registered national arts service association mandated to advance the creative rights and interests of professional Canadian playwrights, promote Canadian plays nationally and internationally, and foster an active, evolving community of writers for the stage.