Publisher wins innovation in theatre award

Andisiwe Mgibantaka and Robin Malan of Junkets Publisher received the Special Award for Innovation in Theatre when the 55th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards were announced last week.

Robin Malan, author, compiler, and publisher of Junkets Publisher, formerly of Observatory and now a Pinelands resident, has had a good couple of weeks.

First, Robin celebrated his 80th birthday on April 11. It was “Lockdown80” as he was all on his own in his apartment in Pinelands Grove retirement complex.

There were, however, lots of phone calls and emails, and, he says, “My passage-neighbour Eva made me a cake that I could share with my other passage-neighbours, even though masked and at arm’s length in their doorways!”

Then, on Monday May 18, it was announced online that Junkets Publisher, Robin and Andisiwe Mgibantaka, had received the Special Award for Innovation in Theatre at the 55th Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards.

In no time at all, his Facebook page had clocked up well over 100 well-wishing comments.

On that very same day, Robin took receipt of copies of his new book from the printer.

This is titled along the way to where, sub-titled 80 years. The book was intended to coincide with his 80th birthday. National lockdown skewed that a little bit, but, as soon as the printers got back to work, they worked hard to produce the book as quickly as possible.

Robin founded Junkets Publisher 15 years ago, in 2005, and a couple of years later started publishing low-cost playscripts of the work of mainly young and emerging playwrights working in non-mainstream venues.

Andisiwe joined Junkets in 2010, and in 2016, Robin relates, “When it looked as if I was going to pop off, we gifted Junkets to Andi so that he could continue publishing after my death.”

Two things came out of that, he says: “Andi became the sole proprietor of Junkets and so The Boss, and, two, I didn’t pop off, so I’m now the editorial manager. A very happy arrangement.”

Andi and Robin are thrilled at the recognition of their work which the Fleur du Cap Award gives them.

By the end of July 2020, they will have published 62 individual playscripts, 10 of which are the winners of the annual Zabalaza Theatre Festival run by the Baxter Theatre Centre.

There are also 10 anthologies of plays in The Collected Series, some specifically educational; and a strong showing of books of LGBTIQA+ interest.

“I am deeply honoured that Junkets Publisher has received the Innovation in Theatre Award,” said Andisiwe, from Philippi.

“Thank you to Distell and the panel of judges for recognising our existence and the work that we do. This gives us strength to do more. The cash prize has also come at a welcome time as we like many others have been affected by the lockdown.

“We thank you very much. God bless you at Distell.”

Robin’s book along the way to where is a collection of poems and prose that range over his life and times: sometimes serious reflections, sometimes more light-hearted moments and anecdotes.

If you are interested to buy a copy in this period of lockdown, send an email to info.junkets@iafrica.com