Zabalaza Theatre Festival takes over Baxter

Zabalaza Theatre Festival takes over Baxter

Over 30 productions, showcasing more than 200 artists in drama, physical theatre, poetry, hip hop, music theatre and opera, will fill the stages at the third annual Zabalaza Theatre Festival 2013, running until March 23 at the Baxter Theatre Centre.

The festival will platform work by local theatre-maker’s, artists, groups and companies in the Western Cape with additional contributions from Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria. Earlier this year two productions were selected at the Eden Drama Festival, which was held in Riversdale.

Widely regarded as one of the premier development platforms in the country, the Zabalaza Theatre Festival has received great acclaim since it was launched at the Baxter in 2011. Since its inception the festival has grown exponentially and each year the organisers pay special attention to innovate and expand the programme.
To this end this year promises a bumper line-up packed with not only theatre productions, but also incorporating hip hop, poetry, opera and musical theatre for the first time. Over the three weeks the Baxter’s Golden Arrow Studio, Masambe Theatre and Concert Hall will be abuzz with a wide variety of exciting choices for theatre-goers and audiences.

“We are very proud of the achievements of the Zabalaza team and the festival’s phenomenal growth in just three years,” says Baxter CEO and Artistic Director, Lara Foot.

“The festival is dedicated to the principles of development. We are committed to an integrated and holistic approach where mentoring, support, knowledge-sharing and active engagement with the communities are fundamental to its success. Our vision to grow the festival so that it becomes a big event where artists from all over can participate in – we have only just begun.”

This year there are 15 productions on the Main programme, which is running until March 16, Mondays to Fridays, in the Baxter  Golden Arrow Studio and Masambe Theatre at 10am, 11am, 12.15pm, 1.30pm, 7pm and 8pm. The programme is made up of work by emerging theatre makers, theatre companies and professional actors and actresses who want to venture into the field of writing and directing.

The Fringe programme is made up of 13 productions and will run all day on the Saturdays of March 9 and 16, and caters for those groups who have members who are still at  school and cannot make the week day performances.

The third week will be specifically-focused on poetry, hip hop, opera and music theatre. On Thursday March 21 the Naked Slam Poetry line-up by poetry movement Lingua Franca, featuring all local poets, will take place in the Concert Hall at 6.30pm. The Words and Beats hip hop performances, presented by The Creative Database, will feature a host of well-known and popular artists from around Cape Town and will take place on Friday March 22 at 6.30pm in the Concert Hall.

For the opera programme entitled ‘Popera’, Cape Town Opera has teamed up with Nyanga-based theatre group Siyaya to encourage the creation of new short music theatre works dealing with South African stories and heritage.

This initiative has assembled two teams of first-time music theatre creators, with guidance from programme mentors Lara Foot and Neo Muyanga. Their new works will premiere at Zabalaza as a double-bill of two thirty-minute pieces. ‘The Legend of Nomkhubulwane’, with music by Kaylee Esterhuizen, text by Mbali Vilakazi and directed by Ntombi Makhutshi; and ‘Nkosazana’, composed by Aphiwe Menziwe with a libretto by Thando Doni and directed by Bongani Magatyana, will show on March 20, 21 and 22 at 12pm and 4pm in the Golden Arrow Studio.

The festival will end on a celebratory note culminating in the awards ceremony on Saturday March 23, recognising the talents and hard work of the participants over the bumper three weeks. Honours will be given in various categories which include best actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, script, director and production amongst others.

* Tickets are reasonably-priced at R25 throughout. Book at Computicket.