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Local writer’s play was honored in South Africa

WEYBRIDGE — A South African theatrical production of “The Revealers,” a middle-school novel by Weybridge author Doug Wilhelm, was recently nominated for a Naledi Award, South Africa’s top theatrical honor.
Wilhelm’s book has been the focus of reading-and-discussion projects by over 1,000 middle schools across the United States — and not long after it came out in 2003, he wrote a play version at the request of a Vermont school theater director. The play has been performed by schools in a number of U.S. states. Last year, it was taken on a tour of 20 middle schools in historically black South African townships by the National Children’s Theatre of Johannesburg. Later in 2014, the theater company performed the show again at its home venue.
“‘The Revealers’ is an empowering and compelling piece of work, brought to believable life with strong performance and wise and simple design,” wrote South African arts blogger Robyn Sassen in reviewing the play, which was performed by the multiracial cast of the company’s Traveling Troupe.
Now in their 11th year, “the Naledi Theatre Awards reflect the vibrant and diverse nature of the South African theatrical landscape that exists today,” said the South African website Artslink.co.za. “These are the premiere awards for theatre excellence in South Africa.”
“The Revealers” production was nominated in the category “Best Production for Young Audiences.” When the winners were announced on April 14 at the Lyric Theatre in Gold Reef City, South Africa, the award in that category went to a play version of George Orwell’s iconic novel “Animal Farm,” produced by South African actress Nobulali Dangazele.
“Well, it was a surprising honor just to be nominated — and not too sad to lose to a George Orwell story,” said Wilhelm, who just a few weeks ago published “Treasure Town,” his 15th book and his first for primary schoolers. “I’m not even sure how the National Theatre Company found the play, but they put up a stunningly creative and powerful production of it.”

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