Olive Schreiner Prize Presented To Neil Coppen’s Tin Buck Drum

Neil Coppen’s Tin Bucket Drum, wins English Academy of Southern Africa Olive Schreiner Prize
Wits University Press is delighted to announce that Neil Coppen’s play, Tin Bucket Drum, has won the English Academy of Southern Africa Olive Schreiner Prize for Drama (2018).
The Olive Schreiner Prize for drama forms part of a larger annual competition in creative writing of English expression, which includes prose and poetry. The award is named after Olive Schreiner, the South African author and activist. The award will be presented to Neil Coppen at an event still to be announced.
The competition’s adjudication panel was unanimous in its decision to score Tin Bucket Drum as the winning entry for the play’s “astounding content and contribution in breaking new ground, as well as its depth of thinking in addressing socio-political issues in contemporary South Africa.” The adjudication panel was also impressed by the play’s innovative use of the one-hander technique in line with Africa’s long tradition of storytelling using multimedia in a way that greatly enhanced the performability of the text.
Congratulating Coppen on winning the award, Roshan Cader, commissioning editor of Wits University Press said, “It is a prestigious award for a wonderful play and we hope it will now attract more readers.”
In Tin Bucket Drum, Neil Coppen weaves together elements of magical realism, shadow puppetry, Kabuki theatre and live percussion. Tin Bucket Drum offers a fresh twist on the traditional conventions of African story telling. Through his lyrical script and the creative use of lighting and sound, one woman, the Narrator, succeeds in evoking a host of characters as this allegorical tale of oppression and liberation plays itself out. It is a story that offers a host of lessons for many places and many times.
Neil Coppen is an award-winning playwright who lives between the cities of Durban and Johannesburg where he works as a writer, director and designer. He won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Drama in 2011 and nominated one of the 2011 Mail & Guardian’s 200 most influential Young South Africans. His play Abnormal Loads won the 2012 Naledi Award for Best South African Script. Other works include Tree Boy, NewFoundLand and Animal Farm.
Ismail Mahomed, former Artistic Director of the National Arts Festival, South Africa said about this play in 2016 when it was performed: “Tin Town is a metaphor for our current political situation. It could be the Zuma (…) compound, Nkandla, as much as it could be the rest of South Africa. The Censor could be the parliamentary Bill that seeks to control information. We, the citizens of South Africa, who have kept in office a president with so many human weaknesses, could be the apathetic Inhabitants of Tin Town. Could the rising young voices that are increasingly speaking out against the status quo be Neil Coppen’s young girl, Nomvula, whose passionate heartbeat cannot be silenced? Or could Tin Town be in Zimbabwe? Or in Syria? Israel? Pakistan? Tin Town is everywhere. It is a global village. As more youth-driven movements across the globe make their voices heard in the political landscape, Tin Town is a powerful and compelling reminder of the power of young people to change the world.”
Find more info on the play here – http://witspress.co.za/catalogue/tin-bucket-drum/
For the book cover, orders or media inquiries contact Corina van der Spoel, Marketing coordinator, Wits University Press – corina.vanderspoel@wits.ac.za or 011 717 8705
Neil Coppen is a writer, director, designer living in Durban, South Africa. He has won several awards for his writing, acting, design and direction work. In 2011 he was named the Standard Bank Young Artist for Drama. Coppen is also one of the six South African playwright’s to have been granted a staged reading of his work at The Royal Court Theatre in London in 2015. Coppen’s work has been performed as far afield as New York and his plays are taught in schools and Universities both nationally and internationally.
Some of Neil’s most acclaimed works include Tin Bucket Drum, Tree Boy, Abnormal Loads and Izipopolo. His, all-female cast, adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm toured the country for over five-years, playing to capacity houses in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and will embark on an international tour later this year. Coppen’s latest play NewFoundLand/ Buite_Land premiered at the 2017 KKNK festival and was awarded the Kana Award for Best Debut production. In early 2018 Coppen co-directed Tsotsi- The musical for Cape Town Opera.
Alongside Mpume Mthombeni and Dylan McGarry, Neil is one of the founding members of Empatheatre, a social-justice theatre company responsible for ground works such as Soil&Ash, Ulwembu, The Last Country, Whose Land? And Lalela ulwandle
Neil is currently working on a book focusing on the life of celebrated Portuguese Poet Fernando Pessoa while developing two exciting new feature film projects. Later this year he will be developing a new theatre piece for Red Sky Productions in Toronto.

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