By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK An own version of a biblical tale on Mary and Joseph on Friday evening won the 23rd annual Youth Theatre Festival at the Multi-Purpose Center in the capital. Vickson Hangula’s Home-brewed Productions won the first prize of N$10 000 with 09 BC: Joseph’s Dilemma, followed by Committed Artists of Namibia’s The Bigamist in second place with N$5 000, while Richard B. Swartz Production’s of Rest in Peace won N$2 000 in prize money. Five selected plays fought it out on stage for top honors in the festival, which was judged by two South African literature and theatre experts – Professor Andries Oliphant of the University of South Africa in Pretoria and Peter-John Davids of a community theatre group in Malmes-burg, Uthanda for Theatre, who also judged the rural secondary school section. It was the first time that Homebrewed Productions formally entered for the Youth Theatre Festival. The school section was won by Grootfontein Secondary School, followed by Wenni du Plessis and Okahandja Secondary School respectively in second and third places. All participants received theatre books, certificates and the three winning schools won trophies of which a floating trophy went to the outright winners. It was the first time that the school section of the competition was brought back into the annual Youth Theatre Festival after 10 years. Next year the competition will be expanded to secondary schools in the south. On Thursday, the guests artists Uthanda for Theatre entertained the youth audience with a powerful and heartrending play on the last minutes of a condemned criminal, The Last Whistle. On Saturday morning the first democratically elected board of trustees of Assitej-Namibia, the organization of theatre for children and young people, was also elected and will function on national level for the next three years. School teachers and learners have been elected to represent their respective centers such as Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Otjiwarongo, Gobabis and Okahandja. The winning play is scheduled to start a run this Thursday at the annual Grahamstown Festival together with two other plays, The Porridge Queen and Living Hell, starting their respective runs at the B2 Arena venue in South Africa next Monday.
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