The Baxter’s Best of the Zabalaza Theatre Festival production winner for 2016, Lauren Hannie’s TIP-ex, will be staged at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio, from Tuesday April 12 to Saturday April 23, at 7.30pm.
This is the first time that a woman writer and director has won the Best of Zabalaza award since the festival’s inception in 2011. Nominated in five categories, TIP-ex beat more than 17 productions to take this year’s top spot, also winning for Best Script. This is only Hannie’s second year as a participant.
“Winning this award means more to me than I can express in words,” says 27-year old Hannie from Kenwyn.
“Just thinking about my life so far and the challenges that I have had to deal with along the way, I can say with certainty that it has been worth it. It has restored my confidence so that I can push myself even harder to succeed.
“It was a big step for me to enter the Zabalaza Festival, having to allow myself the possibility to thrive and to stop being a behind-the-scenes, small-town girl. After years of yearning for this opportunity, I now feel that doors are starting to open for me. I would like to thank the Zabalaza and Baxter teams for helping to make my dreams come true.”
TIP-ex is a powerful three-hander which stars Hannie with Melissa Johannisen and Maxine Caesar. The central theme for the play focuses on gender issues and, in particular, so-called “corrective rape” – still prevalent in some South African communities today.
The narrative is about a woman, Katie (played by Hannie), who takes the audience back to her teenage years, when she first started to realise she was attracted to persons of the same sex. When she mentions this to her conservative family for the first time, there is outrage, and everything changes. As still often happens today, she is sent to confirmation classes to “fix” the problem.
Hannie was born in Mafikeng and moved to Cape Town with her family when she was 12 years old. She is a UCT-graduate, having attained her Bachelor of Social Science degree, majoring in psychology and drama, while developing her skill in script-writing.
She has performed in more than 10 productions, which include Beyond the Footlights and Tapestry; directed Echoes2 and co-wrote and directed her own play, Wo-MAN. In 2015, she wrote the play The Wedding Dress, which was also performed at the Baxter’s Zabalaza Theatre Festival and was nominated for Best Actress and Best Script.
“Lauren Hannie is a very exciting talent to watch in the future,” says Thami Mbongo, Zabalaza artistic director. “This is a beautifully written play, and since it has always been our mission to encourage women writers and directors all along, it was great news that this award was bestowed on our first female Best of Zabalaza winner. She has a lot to offer the arts and theatre industry and hers is a voice that needs to be heard.”
TIP-ex joins the list of previous Best of Zabalaza winners: Uhlazo by Loyiso Damoyi (2011), Worst of Both Worlds by Bulelani Mabutyana (2012), Skierlik by Phillip Dikotla (2013), The Champion by Khayalethu Anthony in 2014 and Paul Noko’s Fruit in 2015. These productions went on to be staged at various festivals and events in the Western Cape. Skierlik received two Fleur du Cap nominations and Khayalethu Anthony won the Fleur du Cap award for Best Performance in a review, cabaret or one-person show for The Champion.
The Zabalaza Theatre Festival recently received the 2016 Fleur du Cap award for Innovation in Theatre.
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