African Playwright Visits

Given the openness of our own society, it is easy to forget there are lands where being an artist is a dangerous calling. Nigeria is one, as is painfully clear from the recent execution of playwright Ken Sara-wiwa by the government. For years, South Africa was also a place in which artists were routinely imprisoned and tortured. Zakes Mofokeng is a playwright, director, songwriter, and actor who survived that oppression, and he's coming to Austin to bear witness to that struggle and the role protest theatre played in the era of apartheid. In an appearance sponsored by UT's African and African-American Studies Center and the Departments of Theatre and Dance and Speech Communication, Mofokeng will speak on the history of protest theatre in his homeland and perform his play Never Again, which relates his experiences as activist and exile. Both events will take place Friday, Dec 1, and are free. The lecture is at 2pm in the Winship Drama Building, Room 2.112; the performance is at 7pm in the Communication Center Auditorium.


Deborah Hay has received the 1996 McKnight National Fellowship. The Austin choreographer and dancer was selected for the Minnesota Dance Alliance award from 200 applicants nationwide. Criteria include: strength of choreographic accomplishments, skill as an instructor, ability to be a mentor for artists, and ability to interact meaningfully with the Minnesota community. Hay will conduct a residency in Minneapolis in 1996.


'Tis the season to look for performers. The folks at Playfest, the annual celebration of theatre for children, are in search of a host or hosts to greet and interact with kids before the shows, scheduled for February and June, 1996. Hosts are compensated. For info, call Mary Alice Carnes at 499-8388... The City of Austin Department of Aviation seeks singers, dancers, musicians, and theatre and choral groups to perform in the airport over the holidays. The airport's Sixth Holiday Festival runs Dec 8-22, 10am-7pm, in the main terminal. For more info, call Bill Clark, 495-7587, or Cybele Diamandopoulos, 495-7515.

Comedy Festival

Call him The Lad With the Golden Laugh. That's Chip the Wonder Boy, Austin comic whiz, after the Austin Comedy Festival, run by The Velveeta Room. The event lets local wits and half-wits compete for prizes in such categories as Skit, Stand-Up, and Video. Chip snared the Grand Prize (and a C-note) on November 11, also taking the Novelty and Musical prizes. Other winners: Matt Sadler (Stand-Up); Sadler & Scott Calonico (Skit); Joey Waldon (Video). Cheese Room major domo Austin Jernigan reports the next fest is set for spring, 1996. Ready, set, gags!

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